Kentucky comes back to defeat Mississippi State in conference championship

Wildcats complete 23-game win streak

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2003

NEW ORLEANS No. 23 and No. 24 will add up to No. 1 for Kentucky going into the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats extended their winning streak to 23 straight games, holding off Mississippi State 64-57 on Sunday to win their 24th Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

Kentucky came to New Orleans ranked second in the country, but the Wildcats will undoubtedly move up to the top spot after a weekend of upsets claimed most of the highly ranked teams.

No. 1 Arizona, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Kansas were among the losers in their conference tournaments.

Kentucky (29-3) hasn't slipped up since Dec. 28, when an 18-point loss to rival Louisville and former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino caused plenty of grumbling in Big Blue Country.

No one had any complaints Sunday, judging from the chants of Tubby! Tubby! Tubby!'' that filled the Superdome in tribute to often-maligned coach Tubby Smith.

Keith Bogans, the tournament MVP, scored 22 points as the Wildcats became the first team in 51 years to go undefeated in SEC play during the regular season and then win the conference tournament.

The last? Kentucky, of course, which has won more league tourneys than the rest of the conference combined.

This one wasn't easy.

The Wildcats trailed at the half for the first time in more than two months and then clung to victory in the final two minutes.

No. 6 Oklahoma 49, Missouri 47

DALLAS Oklahoma led by 22 points with 15:05 left and failed to score another field goal, but still managed to win their third straight Big 12 tournament.

The Sooners (24-6) led 46-24 on Price's 3-pointer made it 46-24 then missed 14 straight shots and turned the ball over seven times

Travon Bryant, whose short jumper at the buzzer knocked off No. 23 Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals, hit a 3-pointer with 1:25 left that got Missouri within 48-47.

No. 12 Duke 84, N.C. State 77

GREENSBORO, N.C. Freshman J.J. Redick scored 23 of his 30 points over the final 10:05 as the Blue Devils rallied from a 15-point deficit to win their fifth straight ACC title.

The victory was Duke's 15th straight in the ACC postseason and gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his eighth title in 12 tries with the Blue Devils (24-6).

Josh Powell had 26 points for the Wolfpack.

No. 13 Illinois 72, Ohio St. 59

CHICAGO Roger Powell scored 16 points and conference player of the year Brian Cook added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Illini, who their first Big Ten tournament title.

The Illini (24-6) have won eight of their last nine games, with that one loss by one point at Wisconsin.

Brent Darby had 27 points and six assists for Ohio State (17-14), which was playing its fourth game in as many days.

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