CHICAGO — Ohio State is the champion of the Big Ten tournament — again.
DeShaun Thomas scored 17 points and the 10th-ranked Buckeyes used their stout defense to beat No. 22 Wisconsin 50-43 for their conference-best fifth tournament title on Sunday.
Thomas was 6 for 19 from the field, but made some big free throws down the stretch as Ohio State won the championship for the third time in the last four years. Aaron Craft had nine points and six rebounds, and LaQuinton Ross delivered a couple of huge plays for the Buckeyes (26-7).
Travon Jackson scored 10 points for the Badgers (23-11), who shot 38.3 percent from the field. None of his teammates reached double figures, with Sam Dekker next up at eight points.
Wisconsin and Ohio State were close for most of the second half, but the Buckeyes seized on a cold spell by the Badgers to move in front down the stretch.
After Dekker scored on a reverse layup with 7:01 remaining, Wisconsin went scoreless for the next 4½ minutes while Ross stepped up for Ohio State. He had a strong offensive rebound and putback, then converted a layup to make it 47-41 with 2:39 to go.
Jackson made two free throws to stop the scoring drought for the Badgers, who forced a shot clock violation on the other end. But Ben Brust missed a long 3-pointer and Thomas went 3 for 4 at the line in the final minute.
Dekker’s basket was Wisconsin’s last field goal of the game.
Thomas had seven rebounds as the Buckeyes enjoyed a 50-43 advantage on the glass.
No. 9 Miami 87,
North Carolina 77
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Shane Larkin scored a career-high 28 points, eight in the final 2½ minutes, and No. 9 Miami beat North Carolina for the program’s first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship to go with its first regular-season title.
Trey McKinney Jones added a career-high 20 points for the top-seeded Hurricanes (27-6), including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 6:27 left that started Miami’s final push.
P.J. Hairston scored 28 points and had six of the Tar Heels’ 13 3-pointers. The loss by the third-seeded Tar Heels (24-10) left coach Roy Williams at 699 career wins.
Miami shot 51 percent and made 12 of 22 3-pointers, six from McKinney Jones and four from Larkin.
No. 13 Florida 63
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Murphy Holloway scored 23 points and Marshall Henderson had 21 as Mississippi Rebels gave coach Andy Kennedy his first NCAA tournament berth with the upset in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship.
The Rebels (26-8) have won seven of eight and earned their first tournament title since 1981 and second ever. Reginald Buckner added 13 points for Ole Miss.
Mike Rosario had 18 points and Kenny Boynton added 13 for the Gators (26-7), who haven’t won this tournament since wrapping up a three-peat in 2007. They go into the NCAA tournament 0-6 in games decided by six points or less.
The Gators had a final chance to force overtime. Scottie Wilbekin missed both free throws with 4.2 seconds left, and Boynton’s last gasp 3 glanced off the rim after he took a step back to make sure he was over the line.
No. 16 Saint Louis 62,
No. 25 VCU 56
NEW YORK — Kwamain Mitchell scored 19 points, including a huge 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, and tournament MVP Dwayne Evans added 16 for Saint Louis, which won its first Atlantic 10 tourney title.
Top-seeded Saint Louis (27-6) led 45-32 with less than 12 minutes left, but the second-seeded Rams were within a point 3 minutes later.
Cody Ellis hit a 3-pointer on the Billikens’ next possession, then made another clutch 3 for a 57-51 lead with more than 2 minutes left.
Treveon Graham led VCU (26-8) with 20 points.