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Conference tournament recap: Wofford and Iona go dancing, Gonzaga rolls

Catch up on Monday’s action that featured two bids being handed out.

Mitchell Northam, Mid-Major Madness

With six days until Selection Sunday, two tickets were punched to the Big Dance, each by the conference’s No. 1 seeds.

No. 20 Wofford needed a come from behind victory to defeat potential bid stealer, in UNC Greensboro. The Terriers finish with a perfect 21-0 record against the SoCon, and will be back in the tournament for the fifth time in program history. The SoCon must wait to see if the league gets two teams in the dance. Both UNCG and Furman are on the bubble, being either in Last Four in or First Four Out depending on the bracketologist.

In the MAAC, Iona is heading back to the tournament after defeating Monmouth by 21 points in Albany. This marks four straight years for the Gaels winning the conference tournament, further supplanting themselves as the MAAC’s premier program.

Meanwhile out in Vegas, the WCC Semifinals are showcasing the nation’s No. 1 team as they continue to roll through the conference. The Zags dropped 100 on Pepperdine including nine points from the returning Killian Tillie who should put them over the top. They will face Saint Mary’s in the Championship Game tonight after the Gaels’ seven point victory over San Diego.

The rest of Monday’s action:

CAA Semifinals

Hofstra 78, Delaware 74 OT
Northeastern 70, Charleston 67

Hofstra nearly let this game slip away after almost blowing a 13 point halftime lead, needing overtime to prevail. Justin Wright-Foreman nearly had a point per minute played, dropping 42 points in 44 minutes while shooting 15-30 from the field. Delaware was led by freshman Ithiel Horton with 21 points and five rebounds. Northeastern took down Charleston because of the dominance on the glass. The Huskies out-rebounded the Cougars by a margin of 35-24. The two finalists split their meetings during the regular season with both teams winning at home.

Summit League Semifinals

Omaha 61, Purdue Fort Wayne 60
North Dakota St. 76, Western Illinois 73

The Summit League produced two nail-biters in the semis with both games be separated by a single possession. The Bison narrowly edged WIU after taking an 11 point lead early in the second half. The Leathernecks had a chance to send the game into overtime, but missed two threes with less than ten seconds remaining. In an odd turn of events, Omaha and Fort Wayne did not score in the final 3:13 of the game. Mitchell Hahn made a three to go up by a single point with over three minutes left and neither team connected after.

Horizon League Semifinals

Wright St. 66, Green Bay 54
Northern Kentucky 64, Oakland 63

NKU needed a last second three by Drew McDonald to escape the semifinals with a win. McDonald tallied 18 points, 11 boards and five assists in the contest while Jaevin Cumberland dropped 27 for the Grizzlies. Wright State took care of business and easily defeated Green Bay taking the lead with 8:48 left in the first half and not looking back. The rubber match between the top two projects to be a good one where both teams won by four points in previous meetings.

MEAC 1st Round

Delaware St. 71, Savannah St. 67

Delaware St. picks up their sixth win on the season behind a 19 point performance by Kevin Larkin. The 11th seeded Hornets picked up the upset with 37.5 percent shooting behind the arc while allowing only 22.9 percent shooting from long range. They also forced the Tigers to commit 15 turnovers. They advance to take on NC Central on Thursday night.

MAC 1st Round

NIU 80, Ohio 61
Akron 80, Miami (OH) 51
Ball St. 61, Eastern Michigan 43
Central Michigan 81, Western Michigan 67

The lone upset in the first round was from 11 seed Ball St. after only allowing EMU to score 14 points in the second half. The Cardinals now get third seeded Bowling Green in the Quarterfinals. Akron, meanwhile, dominated Miami behind Loren Cristian Jackson’s 25 point performance as well as 20 points added by Daniel Utomi. They’ll take on top seeded Buffalo in the quarters. Larry Austin Jr. led Central Michigan over Western Michigan with a double-double behind 24 points and 13 rebounds, while NIU easily defeated Ohio taking the lead 23 seconds in and never relinquishing it.