The Auburn Tigers know they were counted out even before the Southeastern Conference Tournament began. Winning only four games in league play does that to a team.
That’s what makes their incredible run that much sweeter.
KT H a r rel l s c o re d 15-straight points for Auburn, including a three in the final second of regulation to force overtime, and the 13th-seeded Tigers upset No. 4 seed LSU 73-70 Friday in the quarterfinals in Nashville. This was the Tigers’ third win in three days.
“We knew how good we are, even though our record didn’t show it,” said Harrell, who matched his career-high with 29 points.
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Auburn (15-19) will play top-ranked and No. 1 seed Kentucky in the semifinals Saturday.
LSU (22-10) now waits to learn its NCAA Tournament destination having lost two of its last three.
No. 9 Notre Dame 74, No. 2 Duke 64: Notre Dame wanted another shot at Duke. And it took advantage of it.
After the Irish were embarrassed in Durham during the teams' last meeting, Notre Dame took the rubber match for the season from the Blue Devils with a gutsy 74-64 victory over the Blue Devils in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. The Irish will face North Carolina in the championship game Saturday night.
The Irish led for almost the entire game and held off a Duke surge in the second half after the Blue Devils cut the Irish lead to four. Notre Dame had led by as many as 16.
Freshman Bonzie Colson contributed key minutes off the bench for Notre Dame in scoring 17 points while sophomore Demetrius Jackson added 15.
The Irish won despite allowing Jahlil Okafor to score 28 points for the Blue Devils.
No. 19 North Carolina 71, No. 3 Virginia 67: Marcus Paige hit two free throws with 3.9 seconds left to help North Carolina (24-10) top Virginia (29-3) in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals in Greensboro, N.C. Paige also hit a huge shot to beat the clock in the final minute, helping the fifth-seeded Tar Heels hold off the tournament’s top seed and reigning champion.
No. 22 Arkansas 80, Tennessee 72: Rashad Madden made four late free throws that helped Arkansas recover after blowing a big lead in a victory over Tennessee. The second-seeded Razorbacks (25-7) led 55-35 in the second half before missing 12 of their final 15 shots, a drought that allowed the Vols to rally to 69-65 with 3½ minutes left.
Western Kentucky 61, Old Dominion 59: Senior Alexis Govan scored a team-high 17 points, — including a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds left — to send WKU (29-4) to the Conference USA Tournament finals. The Lady Toppers can set a C-USA record for wins in a season by beating Southern Miss in the championship game Saturday night.
Jennie Simms had a game-high 25 points for Old Dominion (20-12).
Winner-take-all in Ivy
On Saturday night, the Ivy League — the only conference that doesn’t have a postseason tournament — gives us an old-fashioned, winner-moves-on, loser-is-crushed playoff game. Harvard and Yale meet to break the tie at the end of the season. The winner gets the conference’s NCAA berth, the loser might get a chance at the NIT.
Thurday’s late game
South Carolina 60, Mississippi 58: Tyrone Johnson’s three free throws with 0.7 seconds left gave South Carolina a wild victory on Thursday night in the SEC Tournament. Johnson drove past halfcourt and prepared to launch a desperation three-pointer that was contested by LaDarius White, who was called for the foul. That put Johnson on the line with a chance to win the game, and he calmly sank all three shots.