Conference tournament finals: NKU, Charleston, ORU earn NCAA bids

Marques Warrick scored 18 points and Sam Vinson added 16 as Northern Kentucky edged Cleveland State 63-61 to win the Horizon League championship game on Tuesday in Indianapolis.

The Norse (22-12) are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in seven years. They also won the Horizon title in 2020, but the NCAA tourney was canceled that year due to the pandemic.

Northern Kentucky went up by seven with 16 seconds left when Warrick sank two foul shots. Cleveland State’s Deshon Parker sank a layup, and the Vikings got the ball back and got a 3-pointer from Drew Lowder in the last second, but it wasn’t enough.

Tristan Enaruna paced Cleveland State (21-13) with 17 points, and Parker scored 14 points.

Charleston 63, UNC Wilmington 58

A late 12-0 run carried the Cougars to a victory over the Seahawks in the Colonial Athletic Association final in Washington.

Down 53-45 with just over six minutes left, Charleston (31-3) got six points from Ryan Larson in the game-changing surge. Larson finished with 23 points, and teammate Ante Brzovic added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Cougars, who are NCAA Tournament-bound for the first time since 2018.

Trazarien White and Amari Kelly each had 16 points for UNC Wilmington (24-10).

Merrimack 67, Fairleigh Dickinson 66

Jordan McKoy sank a tiebreaking free throw with eight seconds to go and the Warriors defeated the Knights in the Northeast Conference final in North Andover, Mass.

Despite the result, Fairleigh Dickinson (19-15) earned the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid because Merrimack (18-16) is ineligible while still transitioning from Division II to Division I. The Knights are headed to March Madness for the first time in four years.

Ziggy Reid paced the Warriors with 23 points while Jordan Minor added 19. The Knights got 15 points and six assists from Demetre Roberts plus 13 points and nine rebounds from Cameron Tweedy.

Oral Roberts 92, North Dakota State 58

Max Abmas scored 26 points and dished out 11 assists as the Golden Eagles routed the Bison in the Summit League tournament final in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Patrick Mwamba put up 20 points and Connor Vanover contributed 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks as Oral Roberts (30-4) captured an NCAA Tournament berth for the second time in three years. The Golden Eagles led 51-20 at halftime and pushed the advantage to as many as 38 points.

North Dakota State (16-17) got 18 points from Boden Skunberg, 13 from Andrew Morgan and 10 from Damari Wheeler-Thomas.

–Field Level Media