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College basketball: 12 wins enough for Oakland

College basketball: 12 wins enough for Oakland

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. - Pierre Dukes became an unlikely hero for an improbable NCAA tournament team.

Dukes' only shot of the second half was a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left and Oakland upset top-seeded Oral Roberts 61-60 Tuesday night to win the Mid-Continent Conference tournament and make the NCAAs with a 12-18 record.

The seventh-seeded Golden Grizzlies are in the tournament for the first time since becoming a Division I program eight seasons ago. It's the fourth straight season a team with a losing record has made the NCAA tournament.

Oakland (Mich.) took possession after Jonathan Bluitt hit one of two free throws to make it 60-58. Rawle Marshall passed it to Dukes on the left side, and his shot splashed through the net.

"When I got it, I looked at the clock and there wasn't enough time to get it back to him, so I figured I'd let it fly," said Dukes, a 35 percent shooter from 3-point range who almost didn't even make the team.

Ken Tutt's desperation shot after a deflected inbounds pass banked high off the rim, and Oral Roberts' players hung their heads and clutched their knees while the Golden Grizzlies huddled and celebrated near midcourt.

"I'm just numb," Oral Roberts guard Luke Spencer-Gardner said. "I'm not really feeling all that much. I'm just shocked. This isn't the way it was meant to be."

Cortney Scott scored 19 points and Marshall scored 18 for Oakland, which had lost to Oral Roberts twice during the regular season.

The Golden Grizzlies started the season 0-7 against a murderous schedule that included Illinois, Xavier and Missouri. But they finished the season with five straight wins, three in the conference tournament.

"We had to play the perfect game and we did," Kampe said.

It also took a surprising star.

"I can't tell you how happy I am for Pierre Dukes," Kampe said. "He wasn't going to play for us. On Sept. 1, he was not going to be on our team. Then we had some problems and I talked to him and said, 'Why don't you come out?"'

Caleb Green scored 13 points and Tutt added 12 for the Golden Eagles (25-7), who were seeking their first NCAA tournament appearance in 21 years.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee 59, Detroit 58

MILWAUKEE - Adrian Tigert sank a free throw with 4.2 seconds left, giving Wisconsin-Milwaukee a 59-58 win over Detroit in the Horizon League championship Tuesday night and the second NCAA tournament berth in the school's history.

The Panthers (24-5) trailed most of the night and missed 11-of-24 free throws, including Tigert's first free throw at 4.2 seconds.

After Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl called a timeout and instructed the rest of the starters to set up on defense, Tigert stepped up to the line with nothing but red shirts around him and calmly sank his second shot.

Freshman Brandon Cotton, who led all scorers with 21 points, brought the ball upcourt and was off-target on a contested jumper that would have sent the Titans to the NCAA tournament at 15-15.

Ed McCants' 18 points led the Panthers, who held Detroit scoreless over the final 21/2 minutes to avoid losing the tournament title game at home for the second straight season.

Joah Tucker added 15 points and Boo Davis 12 for Milwaukee, which also won the regular-season conference crown.

The Panthers went 13-1 at home this season.

Louisiana-Lafayette 88, Denver 69

DENTON, Texas - Tiras Wade scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half and Chris Cameron hit three timely 3-pointers, carrying Louisiana-Lafayette past Denver 88-69 Tuesday night in the finals of the Sun Belt tournament and putting the Ragin' Cajuns into the NCAA tournament for a second straight year.

The 6-foot-11 Cameron broke a halftime tie with a 3-pointer and Louisiana-Lafayette (20-10) controlled the game the rest of the way. Wade had stretches where he took over and hit several jumpers that preserved a 10-point lead.

Denver (20-10) made a last push for its first-ever berth into the NCAA Division I tournament, getting within 70-63 with 5:28 left. But the Ragin' Cajuns closed with a 18-6 run, with Wade hitting six foul shots down the stretch.

Wade, a junior who sat out last season after transferring from East Tennessee State, scored a tournament-record 82 points and was named the most outstanding player. Cameron and another teammate, Dwayne Mitchell, were chosen to the all-tournament team. Mitchell had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Cameron's only points came on the long balls.

Orien Greene added 14 points, 11 rebounds and six steals for Louisiana-Lafayette, and Brian Hamilton had 12 points.

The Ragin' Cajuns last made the NCAAs in consecutive years in 1982-83, when the school was known as University of Southwestern Louisiana. Cameron and Hamilton are the only returning starters from last year's squad; even the coach is different as Robert Lee was promoted to replace Jessie Evans, who went to San Francisco.

Denver - a Division I school from 1904-79, then again since 1999 after stints in NAIA and Division II - had beaten Louisiana-Lafayette twice this season and ended the Cajuns' streak of three straight division titles.

Rodney Billups led Denver with 16 points but had just three assists, half his season average. Yemi Nicholson had 14 points and nine rebounds and Erik Benzel scored 15.

Louisiana-Lafayette trailed by seven in the opening minutes, then Cameron tied it at 23 on a 3-pointer. Wade followed with another 3, but soon after picked up his third foul and went to the bench for the final 4 minutes of the half.

The Ragin' Cajuns sealed their fourth straight 20-win season, fifth Sun Belt tournament title and fourth straight postseason bid (including NIT selections in 2002 and '03).

Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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