tampabay.com

UCLA tops Pacific 10 in style

By wire services
Published March 12, 2006


LOS ANGELES - Three games of relentless defensive pressure culminated in UCLA's first Pac-10 tournament title since 1987.

Jordan Farmar led four players in double figures with 19 points and the 13th-ranked Bruins beat California 71-52 Saturday.

The Bruins (27-6), the regular-season champions for the first time since 1997, earned the conference's automatic NCAA bid.

"This is a great experience," said Farmar, who played in UCLA's first-round NCAA loss to Texas Tech last year.

Coach Ben Howland said he hoped the Bruins, on a seven-game winning streak, can just head down the interstate to San Diego for the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Bears (20-10) were led by Ayinda Ubaka with 18 points and Leon Powe with 17 in their first tournament final. They haven't won a conference title of any kind since 1960.

CONFERENCE USA: Memphis believes it earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now it's up to the selection committee to decide.

"We have done everything we could do," Tigers coach John Calipari said after the fifth-ranked Tigers beat No. 24 UAB 57-46 to win the final at home. "When we coach against another team, we're trying to make it as hard as we can on them to beat us. On this committee, we're trying to (make it) as hard as we can for them not to give us (the No. 1 seed)."

The Tigers (30-3) were also the league's regular-season champs, with only one conference loss - to UAB March 2 in Birmingham. Joey Dorsey had 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for Memphis and led a defense that shut down the Blazers (24-6) inside and held them to 27 percent shooting.

ATLANTIC 10: Justin Doellman made two free throws with 5.1 seconds left and Xavier blocked Dwayne Lee's last two shots, holding on for a 62-61 victory over Saint Joseph's for the league title in Cincinnati. The No. 10 seed Muskateers (21-10) became the first program to twice win four games in four days for a tournament title. They also did it in 2004.

AMERICA EAST: Jamar Wilson had 29 points and host Albany (N.Y.) beat three-time defending champion Vermont 80-67 to earn the school's first NCAA bid. The Great Danes (21-10), who moved up to Division I in 1999, stopped Vermont's 11-game winning streak in the league tournament, the longest in the nation.

MAC: Senior Kevin Warzynski scored 21 and made two baskets when Kent State was barely hanging on as the Golden Flashes won the Mid-American Conference tournament 71-66 over Toledo in Cleveland. Kent State (25-8) never trailed but had to withstand two comebacks by the Rockets (20-11), who closed within 69-66 with 20.5 seconds left.

MEAC: Jaz Cowan had 15 points and Jeff Granger added 14 as sixth-seeded Hampton won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title for the third time in six years, defeating Delaware State 60-56 in Raleigh, N.C.

SWAC: Peter Cipriano had 21 points and nine rebounds and Southern beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 57-44 in Birmingham, Ala., to win its first Southwestern Athletic Conference title in 13 years.

WAC: Nick Fazekas scored 23 and hit 10-of-10 free throws as No. 21 Nevada defeated Utah State 70-63 in overtime in the final at home in Reno.