Men's Basketball Tournament Seedings Announced

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - The seedings and pairings for next week's Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Men's Basketball Championship have been determined following the conclusion of the Conference's regular-season schedule this evening.  A tiebreaker was needed to determine the No. 5 and 6 seeds.

Winthrop and Charleston Southern tied for fifth-place in the Big South standings with 9-9 records.  With the teams splitting the regular-season series, the tiebreaking process moved to each team's record against the top of the standings on down.  The Eagles earned the No. 5 seed by virtue of its 1-1 record against second-place Liberty, compared to Charleston Southern going 0-2 against the Flames in the regular-season.  Both teams were swept by first-place Coastal Carolina.

Coastal Carolina (26-4, 16-2 Big South) is the No. 1 seed after winning its second consecutive outright regular-season championship earlier this week and will have home court advantage throughout the Tournament.  The Chanticleers will host No. 8 Gardner-Webb (11-20, 6-12) Tuesday night at 7:00pm at Kimbel Arena, and the game will be televised locally on HTC TV.  Liberty (19-12, 13-5) garners the No. 2 seed - its highest seeding since being No. 2 in 2005, and will host No. 7 seed High Point (11-18, 7-11) Tuesday evening at the Vines Center at 7:00pm.  That game will be televised on the Flames Sports Network and will be available on ESPN Full Court.

UNC Asheville clinched the No. 3 seed with its 11-7 Big South record (16-13 overall), marking the fourth consecutive year that the Bulldogs are a top four seed in the Conference Tournament.  Asheville will host No. 6 seed Charleston Southern (16-15, 9-9) at 7:00pm Tuesday in the Justice Center.  The two teams also met in the 2008 quarterfinal in Asheville.  No. 4 seed VMI (17-12, 10-8 Big South) is a home seed for the second time in three seasons, and hosts No. 5 seed Winthrop (13-16, 9-9) in a rematch of tonight's game - one that ended up being for the No. 4 seed following earlier results from this afternoon's games.  Tuesday's contest will tipoff at 7:00pm inside Cameron Hall.

All four quarterfinal games will be video streamed live on The Big South Network presented by State Farm.  The 2011 Advance Auto Parts Men's Basketball Championship will continue with the Semifinals on Thursday, March 3 at the site of the No. 1 seed -- Kimbel Arena on the campus of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.  Both games will air live on ESPNU, and the Championship game will be contested at the home site of the highest remaining seed on Saturday, March 5 live on ESPN2 at 4:00pm.  The Big South's Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  The Conference Championship schedule is as follows:

Quarterfinals - Tuesday, March 1 (at top four seeds) - all games available on Big South Network presented by State Farm
Game 1:  No. 2 Liberty hosts No. 7 High Point, 7:00pm ET (at Vines Center) | TV: Flames Sports Network, ESPN Full Court
Game 2:  No. 3 UNC Asheville hosts No. 6 Charleston Southern, 7:00pm ET (at Justice Center)
Game 3:  No. 1 Coastal Carolina hosts No. 8 Gardner-Webb, 7:00pm ET (at Kimbel Arena) | TV: HTC TV
Game 4:  No. 4 VMI hosts No. 5 Winthrop, 7:00pm ET (at Cameron Hall)

Semifinals - Thursday, March 3 (at Kimbel Arena, Conway, S.C.)
Game 5:  Semifinals - No. 2/No. 7 winner vs. No. 3/No. 6 winner, 6:00pm ET; TV: ESPNU
Game 6:  Semifinals - No. 1/No. 8 winner vs. No. 4/No. 5 winner, 8:00pm ET; TV: ESPNU

Championship - Saturday, March 5 (at highest remaining seed)
Game 7:  Championship - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 4:00pm ET; TV: ESPN2

Recaps from today's games appear below.

VMI 89, WINTHROP 85
Rodney Glasgow gave VMI the lead on a jumper with 1:19 to go, and Austin Kenon drained an outside shot with 27 seconds remaining to seal the victory as the VMI Keydets defeated the Winthrop Eagles 89-85 Saturday night in Rock Hill, S.C. to close out the regular season for both teams.

With the win, the Keydets earn the #4 seed in next week's Big South Championship tournament, and will host a quarterfinal contest for just the second time since joining the Conference.  VMI will face Winthrop, whose loss dropped them into the #5 slot for the tournament.  That game will begin Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Cameron Hall, and will be just the third postseason game played in Lexington since the 1977-78 season.

On this night, Kenon led VMI with 29 points, while freshman center D.J. Covington added 17 points and 13 rebounds, his second career double-double.  The Keydets finish the regular season at 17-12, the second-most wins the squad has posted since 1995-96, when VMI won 18 games, and also the second-most wins the team has had since joining the Big South (24 in 2008-09).

The Keydets held a slim lead for much of the second half, but Winthrop retook the advantage on a basket by Matt Morgan with 8:23 left, 73-72.  That was part of a 6-0 run that allowed the home team to go up by five, 77-72, with 7:22 to go.  VMI tried to fire back, but the Eagles would finally stretch it to six after a pair of free throws by Andre Jones with 3:09 remaining, 84-78.

Winthrop scored just one point the rest of the way, as VMI closed the game on an 11-1 run from that point on.  Kenon got it started with a pair of free throws with 2:56 left, and then drilled a game-tying three-pointer exactly a minute later.  Morgan hit a free throw to give WU the lead once again, setting the stage for Glasgow's floater in the lane, the shot that gave VMI the lead for good.  The opening moments of Saturday's contest saw back-and-forth play, with neither team gaining a decided edge until Winthrop marched to a 16-9 lead, thanks to a 7-0 run that was capped at the 14:40 mark.  The lead grew to nine three minutes later, thanks to a Gideon Gamble three-pointer, and hit double digits when Gamble hit another trey, giving his team a 30-18 cushion with 10:17 left in the opening half.

WU would grab its biggest lead of the night with 5:55 left until halftime, when Reggie Middleton scored after a missed dunk by Covington.  That basket gave the home team a 40-27 lead, and that advantage was matched 2:22 later after two Justin Burton free throws, 45-32.  The Keydets proceeded to close the half on a 14-4 run, started by a Keith Gabriel jumper and seven straight points from Kenon.  Michael Sparks hit a trey as time expired on the opening period, capping the run and sending VMI to the locker room down only three, 49-46.

VMI was led in the first half by Kenon, who had 15 points, while Stan Okoye and Covington chipped in 10 markers apiece.  The Keydets shot 45.5% from the floor, and were helped by going 10 of 11 from the foul line.  The visitors started the second half on a 9-2 run, capped by another Sparks triple that gave VMI its first lead since the opening moments, 55-54, with 15:42 to play.  From there, the teams traded the lead four times in the next 2:26, until Covington gave the Keydets the edge once again, 60-59.

The freshman's hoop came with 13:16 left, although they never led by more than three points, VMI would not trail again until Morgan's hoop with 8:23 to go, setting the stage for the closing moments. 

In addition to Covington and Kenon, Okoye and Gabriel added 15 and 12 points respectively, while Sparks helped the Keydet cause with six rebounds and his two crucial three-pointers.  The visitors shot 51.9% in the second half, and won despite hitting just nine three-pointers, marking just the ninth game this year in which VMI has hit less than 10 treys.  In the previous eight contests, VMI had been just 2-6.

Winthrop had six players in double figures, paced by Jones' first career double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds.  Joining Jones in double figures were Morgan with 15 and Gamble with 13, while Charles Corbin had 12 in his final home game and Middleton added 11.  Both teams shot well from the floor with Winthrop finished at 49.3 percent (33-67) while VMI made 48.3 percent (29-60).  The Keydets connected on 9 of 22 from 3-point land compared to 6 of 21 for Winthrop, and VMI went 22 of 31 from the line while Winthrop was just 13 of 22. 

Saturday's win marked only the second this season during which VMI trailed at the half.  It was also the first win this season for the Keydets when they trailed with five minutes remaining.

UNC ASHEVILLE 81, RADFORD 58
Seniors John Williams and Eric Stubbs combined for 28 points to lead UNC Asheville to a dominating 81-58 Big South Conference victory over Radford Saturday afternoon in the final regular-season game at Justice Center Saturday afternoon.

The victory allowed the Bulldogs (16-13, 11-7 Big South) to finish in third place in the Big South Conference standings.  Williams was 7-of-9 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line to finish with 16 points.  He had three thunderous dunks early in the game to set the tone for Asheville.  Stubbs, a reserve forward, made his first start of the season a successful as he scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor.

The Bulldogs also got 10 points from Chris Stephenson.  The junior forward went 5-fo-5 from the field.  Matt Dickey added nine points, while J.P. Primm had eight points and eight assists.  Primm had seven assists in the opening half as Asheville rolled to a 41-22 halftime lead.  The Highlanders ended their season with a 5-24 record and 2-16 record in the Conference.  Playing in his final collegiate contest, Jeremy Robinson led Radford with a career-high 15 points, while Lukas Winegarner added a season-high 14 to go along with 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Asheville controlled play from the 15-minute mark of the opening half.  The Bulldogs shot 63 percent (17-of-27) from the field in the opening half as Asheville steadily built on the lead throughout.  Williams was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field in the first half, while Stubbs added 10 points.  The lead ballooned to 34 points in the second half to 66-32 before Radford made a late run in the final eight minutes.  The Highlanders could get no closer than final margin.

Asheville shot 59 percent (34-of-58) from the field and limited the Highlanders to just 30 percent (19-of-64) shooting.  The Bulldogs had 25 assists in the game and 10 steals.  Asheville dominated inside as it out-scored RU 54-26 in the paint.

Following the game, former Bulldog great Bamford Jones scored the symbolic last basket at Justice Center, taking a pass from former teammate George Gilbert.

COASTAL CAROLINA 81, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 77
Anthony Raffa
scored a career-high 24 points and Coastal Carolina set a school and League record with its 16th Big South Conference win on its way to a 81-77 victory over Charleston Southern Saturday afternoon from the CSU Field House.  Coastal Carolina (26-4, 16-2) improved to a perfect 9-0 on the road in conference this season and became just the second team in Big South history to accomplish that feat. 

Chad Gray finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, and Dexter Moore added 13 points and hit four 3-pointers.  Sam McLaurin chipped in with eight points and 11 rebounds to help the Chants hold a 38-33 edge on the glass.  Jamarco Warren scored a game-high 30 points to lead a trio of Buccaneers in double figures.  Kelvin Martin added 16 points and five rebounds, while Jeremy Sexton finished with 11 points and four assists.  Johathan Brooks led the rebounding effort with 10 boards, but missed the double double by one with nine points.

Coastal Carolina led 66-52 with 6:45 left on a layup from Raffa, but Charleston Southern responded with an 16-6 run to pull within four points with 1:16 left on a pair of free throws from Warren.  The Chanticleers, however, went 9-for-10 from the free throw line over the final 1:14 and Coastal finished the game 19-for-22 from the stripe and handed the Buccaneers just their second home loss in conference play this season. 

Martin gave Charleston Southern its first lead of the opening half with back-to-back layups to push the Buccaneers ahead 8-7 at the 13:57 mark.  The Chants answered with a 16-0 run over the next 3:53, which included nine points from Raffa, to open up a 23-8 lead midway through the half.  Back-to-back three-pointers from Warren pulled Charleston Southern to within nine points at 23-14, but Coastal Carolina used a 13-5 run thereafter to build its biggest lead of the half at 17 points.  Warren scored four points in the final minute to leave the Buccaneers trailing by 12 at halftime. 

GARDNER-WEBB 64, HIGH POINT 40
Gardner-Webb sprinted to a 24-0 lead and led 37-10 at halftime, sparking a 64-40 win over High Point in both teams' regular season finale.  Laron Buggs scored 17 points and Jon Moore added 12 for Gardner-Webb (11-20, 6-12 Big South), which won three of its final four league games and will face top-seed Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C., on Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Tournament (7:00 pm tip).

The blitz to start the game was Gardner-Webb's best since jumping out to a 14-0 lead at No. 20 Kentucky on Nov. 7, 2007 on national television. High Point (11-18, 7-11 Big South) did not score until 9:52 remained in the first half, when Earnest Bridges sank a pair of free throws.  The Runnin' Bulldogs responded with a three-pointer from Brian McNair to push its lead to 27-2, when the Panthers made their first field goal with 6:49 to play in the half.

High Point made just 3-of-22 shots in the first half (13.6 percent) and coughed up 13 of its 21 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, allowing Gardner-Webb to race out for several easy buckets.  Buggs had 11 of his markers in the first half, as GWU shot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) in the opening 20 minutes.  High Point went on a 12-0 run to start the second half, but never mounted a serious threat after Gardner-Webb called a timeout to stem the tide.

Gardner-Webb finished by shooting 48.1 percent for the game (26-of-54), outscored High Point 28-6 in the paint and converted the Panthers' 21 turnovers into 34 points (12-0 scoring on the fastbreak).  Nick Barbour led High Point with 17 points and Shay Shine added 10.  Xavier Martin was the next highest scorer for the Panthers with five points.

In addition to Buggs and Moore, Gardner-Webb got nine points and six rebounds from Stefon Johnson - and saw freshmen Luke Davis and Santoine Butler each contribute eight points.

PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE 73, LIBERTY 66
All five starters scored in double-figures, including 18 from Walt Allen and 16 from Jake Troyli, as the Presbyterian College men's basketball team avenged an early season loss to Liberty with a 73-66 win in action tonight in front of 702 fans at the Templeton Center in Clinton, S.C.  The Blue Hose end the season 13-18 overall and 7-11 in the Big South for their best mark since making the move to NCAA Division I.

The Blue Hose honored Allen in pre-game ceremonies as part of senior night and he responded with 18 points, just one shy of his career-high of 19 which he set in Thursday's 80-74 loss to VMI.

Presbyterian College jumped out to an early lead thanks to five straight points by Josh Johnson.  The Flames cut it to one off baskets by David Minaya and Evan Gordon.  On the other end, Khalid Mutakabbir connected on a jumper to give the Blue Hose a 7-4 advantage at 16:39.  The two squads traded baskets over the next 5:03.  With the Flames down by one, Pierre Miller gave the Blue Hose a four-point cushion at 11:36 with a three-pointer.  Jeremy Anderson countered the shot 1:28 later, sinking a trey of his own to put the Flames back within one.  John Brown followed up the bucket with a layup to put Liberty on top at 9:07, 15-14.

Liberty continued to pile on the points courtesy of a Sommy Ogukwe layup, another Anderson three-pointer and a Minaya free throw.  The charity stripe tally capped off an 11-0 run for the Flames.  Johnson halted Liberty's hot streak, nailing a three-pointer at 8:08 to put PC within four, 21-17.  Following two made free throws by Brown, the Blue Hose reeled off eight straight points to take the lead. Mutakabbir and Allen highlight the scoring streak with back-to-back three-pointers.  Antwan Burrus broke up the burst with a free throw. Brown then put the Flames back on top with a thunderous dunk.

Trailing by one, the Blue Hose closed out the first half with a three-pointer by Ryan Hargrave to take a 28-26 lead at halftime.  Brown led all scorers at the end of the period with 10 points, while Mutakabbir trailed closely with nine tallies.  The Flames finished the opening 20 minutes shooting 47.4 percent (9-of-19), while the Blue Hose shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26), including a 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) effort from three-point range.  Liberty found room underneath the hoop during the period, outscoring PC in the paint, 12-4.

In the second half, the Blue Hose added five straight points to extend their lead to seven.  Burrus cut the margin to five with a layup in the paint, but Allen responded with a three-pointer to give the Blue Hose an eight-point edge.  After a Sanders jumper, PC tacked on four more points to take a 10-point lead, 40-30, with 15:44 remaining in the contest.  The Blue Hose continued to distance themselves from the Flames.  A three-pointer by Allen at 12:10 gave the home team a 48-32 advantage.  Liberty responded by scoring eight unanswered points off baskets by Anderson and Minaya to cut the deficit in half.  A three-pointer by Mutakabbir ended the streak, giving PC a 51-40 lead with 8:56 remaining on the clock.

Liberty chipped away at the margin with four straight points. Allen put PC back up by 10 with a three-pointer.  Minaya then helped the Flames divide the double-digit margin in half with five straight points.  Following two Miller free throws, Brown connected on a layup in the paint to close the gap back to five.  Jake Troyli responded on the other end with a jumper to make it 58-51 with 4:54 remaining.  With PC holding a 12-point lead at 2:51, the Flames clawed back, cutting the margin to five with 1:13 left on the clock.  However, the surge was not enough, as the Blue Hose held on for the 73-66 final. 

Minaya netted 15 second-half points to finish the contest with 18.  Following Allen's 18 points and Troyli's 16 was Mutakabbir with 13 and Miller and Johnson with 11.  Troyli had five rebounds to lead the team as well.

The Flames shot 47.8 percent (22-of-46) from the field in the contest, while PC hit 23-of-48 shots to finish with 47.9 percent.  The Blue Hose also knocked down 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) from three-point range.