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Wild finish sends FGCU to NCAAs

PERFECT FINISH: Nick Zeisloft, left, and Yogi Ferrell hold aloft the Big Ten championship trophy after leading Indiana to its 17th straight win at home with a victory over Maryland.

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PERFECT FINISH: Nick Zeisloft, left, and Yogi Ferrell hold aloft the Big Ten championship trophy after leading Indiana to its 17th straight win at home with a victory over Maryland.

FORT MYERS — Zach Johnson sat out last season at Florida Gulf Coast for medical reasons, with doctors so concerned about his health that some wondered if he would ever play college basketball.

He's better than ever, and he and the Eagles are headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Antravious Simmons had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Johnson capped his 19-point effort by blocking a potential tying shot at the rim with four seconds left and FGCU won the Atlantic Sun's automatic NCAA Tournament berth by beating upset-minded Stetson 80-78 in overtime Sunday night.

"I'm just excited I can get the seniors a chance to go," Johnson said. "A lot of them haven't been. And me, I'm a freshman, I haven't had a chance to go."

Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 16 and Christian Terrell 15, including a spinning layup with 56.4 seconds left in overtime for FGCU (20-13), which is headed to the NCAAs for the first time since the team's "Dunk City" crew made a stunning run to the Sweet 16 in 2013.

Derick Newton scored 22 for Stetson (12-22), which knew its season would end win or lose because the school is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament this season. If the Hatters had won, the A-Sun would have given regular-season champion North Florida the automatic berth.

Grant Lozoya and Divine Miles each scored 11 for the Hatters, but Miles' layup was the one Johnson blocked in the final moments.

HOOSIERS PERFECT AT HOME: Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell had 17 points to lead No. 12 Indiana past No. 14 Maryland 80-62. Indiana (25-6, 15-3 Big Ten) finished 17-0 at home, its first perfect home mark since 2006-07. The Hoosiers seized control by scoring the last nine of the first half to make it 41-28 and never allowed the Terrapins (24-7, 12-6) get closer than nine in the second half.

NO. 15 PURDUE 91, WIS. 80: Freshman Caleb Swanigan scored a career-high 27 and sophomore P.J. Thompson also set a career best with 22, leading the host Boilermakers (24-7, 12-6 Big Ten).

CINCINNATI 61, NO. 24 SMU 54: Troy Caupain scored 14 despite missing all six of his 3-pointers, and the host Bearcats (22-9, 12-6 AAC) bolstered their NCAA Tournament chances while ending the Mustangs' season. SMU (25-5, 13-5) is banned from postseason play because of NCAA rules violations.

UCONN 67, UCF 46: Daniel Hamilton scored all of his 12 in the second half for the host Huskies (21-10, 11-7 AAC), who handed the Knights (12-17, 6-12) their eighth loss in nine games.

SSC: E.J. Moody had 19 points and Kevin Walsh hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:25 left as Eckerd (25-6) beat Barry 87-84 in Daytona Beach to win the Sunshine State Conference tournament title and earn an automatic berth into the Division II tournament.

BIG SOUTH: Dwayne Sutton had 25 points and 18 rebounds to help UNC Asheville (22-11) beat Winthrop 77-68 in the championship game of the conference tournament in Buies Creek, N.C., earning the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2012.

MVC: Wes Washpun's jumper from the top of the key bounced high off the back of the rim and fell in at the buzzer, and Northern Iowa (22-12) survived after squandering a 17-point lead, beating Evansville 56-54 in the Missouri Valley Conference title game in St. Louis.

NCAA Tournament

Automatic berths

Austin Peay OVC

Fla. Gulf Coast A-Sun

NC Asheville Big South

Northern Iowa MVC

Yale Ivy

Wild finish sends FGCU to NCAAs 03/06/16 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2016 10:32pm]
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