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Big East exit agreement reached

NEW YORK— The Big East reached an exit agreement Friday with seven schools whose top sports program is men's basketball, clearing the way for them to start a new league and take the conference name next season.

The deal with St. John's, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence College, Seton Hall and Villanova will allow the so-called Catholic 7 to retain the Big East name and continue to play their league championship tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The schools' exit takes effect on June 30 and they'll begin their new conference on July 1. USF and the nine other schools that remain in the Big East must come up with a new league name by July 1. The leading candidate reportedly is the America 12.

"It's been an arduous four months. but we got to the right place," commissioner Mike Aresco said.

Eckerd wins; tampa falls: Eckerd and Saint Leo advanced to the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference tournament in Kissimmee. Walade Wade scored 24 as Eckerd, the No. 3 seed, beat No. 6 Nova Southeastern 62-48. The Tritons (20-6) play Florida Southern at 7:30 tonight. Top-seeded Saint Leo overcame 12 3-pointers by No. 9 Tampa for a 68-55 victory. The Lions (21-6) face Rollins at 5 today. Jerrel Harris scored 21 and Marcus Ruh, named SSC player of the year Friday, scored 20 for Saint Leo. Da'Markco Foster scored a game-high 24 for Tampa (17-14). Other SSC awards: Harris made the first team and was newcomer of the year, and teammate Shaun Adams was defensive player of the year; Eckerd's Darrien Mack made the first team and teammate Jerrick Stevenson was freshman of the year.

Women: FSU advances in ACC tournament

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Alexa Deluzio scored 11 of her 19 in the final six minutes to lead No. 23 Florida State past Miami 70-58 in an ACC tournament quarterfinal.

The fourth-seeded Seminoles (22-8) got their first ACC tournament win since 2009. Shawnice Wilson had 18 points and 18 rebounds for No. 5 Miami (21-10).

In other action, Alyssa Thomas had 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, the first triple double in the tournament's history, and No. 2 seed Maryland beat No. 10 Wake Forest 92-81 in overtime.

SEC: Gators fall

DULUTH, Ga. — Florida fell behind 17-4 and several late rally efforts came up short as the Gators lost to top-seeded Tennessee 82-73 in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament.

Freshman Sydney Moss scored a game- and career-high 22 for Florida (18-14), the ninth seed.

"We have too many people that play a great second half or lead us in the first half and then are nowhere to be found the second half," coach Amanda Butler said.

Tennessee (24-6) faces Texas A&M, the fourth seed, in a semifinal today.

Women's top 25

No. 5 Cal 78, USC 59: The Golden Bears (28-2) won a Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal.

No. 8 Penn St. 76, Ohio St. 66: Alex Bentley scored 20 and the Lions (25-4) won a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal.

No. 21 Nebraska 76, Iowa 61: Jordan Hooper scored 24 as the Huskers (23-7) won a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal.

USF PLAYS TODAY: The No. 8 seed Bulls open play in the Big East tournament against No. 9 Rutgers at 2 (1010-AM) in Hartford, Conn. Meanwhile, Notre Dame swept the conference's three major awards: Guard Skylar Diggins, player of the year for the second consecutive season; Muffet McGraw (top coach); and Jewell Loyd (top freshman).

Big East exit agreement reached 03/08/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 9, 2013 12:03am]
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