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March 11, 2008

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky earns NCAA bid

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MOBILE, Ala. Jeremy Evans had 20 points and 14 rebounds as Western Kentucky defeated Middle Tennessee State 67-57 to win the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship and an NCAA bid on Tuesday night.

Tyrone Brazelton and Courtney Lee added 13 points apiece for Western Kentucky (27-6), which won the Sun Belt for the sixth time.

Desmond Yates had 16 points for Middle Tennessee (17-15), Demetrus Green scored 12 points and Theryn Hudson added 10 for the Blue Raiders.

WKU started the second half with an 8-1 run to go up by 10 and built the lead to as many as 14. Middle Tennessee would get no closer than eight as it was forced to foul in the last two minutes and the Hilltoppers connected on 12 straight free throws.

Middle Tennessee went up 28-21 with about six minutes left in the first half, but the Hilltoppers went on a 6-0 run over the next three minutes to trim the lead to one.

Hudson's dunk temporarily ended the run, but WKU eventually tied it 31-all on a pair of free throws by Evans with 1:10 left.

Orlando Mendez-Valdez 's 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave the Hilltoppers a 34-31 halftime lead.

Evans was selected tournament MVP.



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