HOUSTON (AP) -- Cedric Smith scored 16 points and Kevin Menifee added 13 for top-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which beat McNeese State 87-66 Friday night to advance to the Southland Conference championship game.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (25-6), the regular-season league champion in its first season in the conference, will play No. 3 seed Northwestern State in Sunday's final. Northwestern State defeated Lamar 78-65 in the first semifinal Friday.League Player of the Year Chris Daniels, a 7-0 center, added 12 points for the Islanders, who have won 19 of their last 21 games.The Islanders were 37-of-44 from the free throw line.McNeese made 13-of-20 free throws.McNeese (15-17) was led by Jarvis Bradley's 25 points. He was 11-of-15 from the floor.John Ford scored 13, and Troy Aaron added 11 for the Cowboys, who were trying to advance to the tournament final for the first time since 2002, when they won it and moved on to the NCAA Tournament.McNeese scored 42 points in the paint, but was 1-of-14 on 3-pointers.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will attempt to make its first NCAA appearance with a win Sunday.