Conference final roundup: Kennesaw State earns first NCAA bid

Terrell Burden’s free throw with 0.7 seconds on the clock allowed Kennesaw State to take down Liberty 67-66, win the ASUN championship game and clinch the school’s first trip to the Division I NCAA Tournament on Sunday in Kennesaw, Ga.

The school in suburban Atlanta won a Division II national championship in 2004 before moving up to Division I starting in the 2009-10 season. The Owls (26-8) were the top seed in the conference and prevented the second-seeded Flames (26-8) from making their sixth NCAA appearance.

Neither team led by more than eight, and Kennesaw State had a seven-point advantage with 3:05 to play dissipate when Liberty’s Colin Porter made a game-tying 3-pointer with 24 seconds. When Burden went to the foul line, he purposely missed his second shot off the back iron to ensure Liberty had no time for a last-second heave.

Burden finished with a team-high 19 points, Chris Youngblood scored 16 points, Brandon Stroud had 12 points and Demond Robinson paired 10 points with 11 rebounds for Kennesaw State. Kyle Rode scored a game-high 23 points for Liberty and star Darius McGhee was held to 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting, including an 0-for-11 mark from 3-point land.

UNC Asheville 77, Campbell 73

Drew Pember scored 29 points and the top-seeded Bulldogs rallied to defeat the Fighting Camels in the Big South tournament final in Charlotte, N.C.

UNC Asheville (27-7) overcame a 14-point deficit to win their ninth straight game and earn a trip to their fifth NCAA Tournament, their first since 2016.

Tajion Jones added 24 points for UNCA, who trailed 38-35 at halftime and were down 66-52 with 7:37 left against seventh-seeded Campbell (16-18). Jones’ 3-pointer with 59 seconds put the Bulldogs ahead 75-73 — their first lead since it was 13-11.

Jay Pal led Campbell with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Ricky Clemons added 17 points and Anthony Dell’Orso had 12 for the Camels, who were outscored 18-7 in the final five minutes.

Drake 77, Bradley 51

Tucker DeVries scored 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting and grabbed six rebounds as the second-seeded Bulldogs dominated the top-seeded Braves to win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final in St. Louis, Mo.

Drake (27-7) led by 20 points at halftime and shot 28-for-50 (56 percent) to clinch its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance and its second in three years. The Bulldogs also received 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds from Darnell Brodie, 12 points from Garrett Sturtz and nine points and six assists from Roman Penn.

Ja’Shon Henry was the only player to score in double figures for Bradley (25-9), posting 10 points off the bench.

–Field Level Media