The Metro Conference tournament could have been dubbed the Keith Lee Show. In Memphis State's three wins, including a 78-65 rout of upstart Virginia Tech in the title game, Lee had a tournament-record 71 points and 34 rebounds and blocked 11 shots. Against Tech, he set single-game records for points (35) and field goals (15) and had six rejections. "When he's playing like that, the best thing the rest of us can do is give him the ball and just watch him," said Tiger guard Phillip (Doom) Haynes.
After Houston held on to nip Arkansas 57-56 in the final of the Southwest Conference Classic, Cougar coach Guy Lewis turned to Eddie Sutton, his Arkansas counterpart, and said, "As bad as I would hate to play you again, I hope we both get to Seattle [site of this year's Final Four]." Houston, which lost Akeem Abdul Olajuwon to personal fouls with 7:28 remaining, was led by Michael Young, who got 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.
Louisiana Tech's 68-65 victory over Lamar not only gave the Bulldogs the Southland Conference championship, but also snapped the Cardinals' 80-game homecourt winning streak. Tulsa won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in overtime with a 70-68 defeat of surprising Creighton. The Bluejays had upset regular-season co-champ Illinois State 69-59 in the semifinals. Oral Roberts earned its first NCAA bid in 10 years with a 68-66 win over defending champ Xavier in the Midwestern City Conference game.
Fresno State, which finished a disappointing third in the PCAA regular-season standings, upset top-seeded UNLV 51-49 in the conference tournament final in Los Angeles. "It'll be a great bus ride back to Fresno," said coach Boyd Grant, whose 25-7 Bulldogs held the Rebels to fewer than 50 points for the second time this season. "We'll turn up the music real loud and have ourselves a fun run." Fresno's Bernard Thompson clinched the victory by hitting two free throws with 13 seconds to play.
After beating Big Sky regular-season titlist Weber State 85-68 in the conference semifinals, Nevada-Reno defeated Montana 71-69 in the championship game. "Nobody in the world, including myself, thought we would be in the NCAAs," said Wolfpack coach Sonny Allen. Reno guard Dannie Jones provided the decisive points when he picked off a pass by the Grizzlies' Rob Hurley and streaked the length of the court for a layup with :04 to go. San Diego beat St. Mary's 68-59 to win the WCAC title and an NCAA berth.
For the first time since 1966, a UCLA team eligible for the NCAA tournament failed to make the field. The 17-11 Bruins ended their worst season since 1960 with a 70-65 loss to Oregon State. The victory gave the Beavers a piece of the Pac-10 championship for the fourth time in five years. They shared the title with Washington, which defeated Washington State 67-51. UTEP came from behind to beat New Mexico 44-38 in the WAC tournament final. The Lobos had reached the championship round with a 64-55 upset of Brigham Young in the semis.
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