HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - A.J. Slaughter scored 18 points, and Western Kentucky beat South Alabama 64-56 Tuesday night to win the Sun Belt tournament.
The Hilltoppers (24-8) wasted a 15-point first-half lead and trailed 43-39 in the second. Slaughter put Western Kentucky back ahead 44-43 with a 3-pointer, part of a decisive 14-3 run that assured the Hilltoppers their 21st NCAA tournament berth.
Western Kentucky reached the round of 16 last year and provided 1 of the tournament's most spectacular plays when Ty Rogers sank a desperation 3-pointer over three defenders to beat Drake in the first round.
South Alabama (20-13) trailed 27-12 early on and 35-25 at halftime before a big run to start the second half. DeAndre' Coleman led the Jaguars with 27 points.