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NCAA Tournament Daily Overview

Thursday, March 18

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SOUTHWEST REGION

Chicago, IL

(2) Notre Dame 69, (15) Akron 56

Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough scored 15 points to lead the Notre Dame to a victory over the pesky Akron Zips in a Southwest Region NCAA Tournament first round game. The Fighting Irish struggled in the first 20 minutes and drifted to a narrow 34-30 halftime lead, as the underdog Zips used aggressive defense and the length of 7-0 center Zeke Marshall to disrupt Notre Dame’s offense.  Marshall finished the game with four blocked shots while altering countless others.  

The Fighting Irish regrouped in the second half, opening the half with a 9-0 run to take a 43-30 lead.  Akron battled back, going on a 7-0 run of its own to make the score 43-37, but that was as close as the Zips would get; Notre Dame owned a ready answer on the day after St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago. The Subway Alumni were not ready to see a loss. Tim Abromaitis drilled a three-pointer and Carleton Scott converted a three-point play to stake the Fighting Irish to a 55-44 lead, which they did not relinquish. Abromaitis finished with 14 points, Scott Martin added 11 points, and Scott chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds.  The win improved Notre Dame’s record to 27-6.  The Fighting Irish will play Florida State, a 57-50 winner over Texas A&M, in the round of 32.

Quincy Diggs led the Zips with 11 points.  Akron finished the season with a 23-13 record.

 

(10) Florida State 57, (7) Texas A&M 50

Derwin Kitchen scored 15 points to lead the Florida State Seminoles over the Texas A&M Agggies in a NCAA Tournament Southwest Region first round contest.  The victory was the first by Florida State in an NCAA tournament game since 1998, when the Seminoles defeated Texas Christian University in the opening round of that year’s event.  The loss also marks the first time that Texas A&M has been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round since 1987; a span of five consecutive appearances beginning with the 2006 tournament.

The Seminoles were trailing 31-23 in the second half and in desperate need of a spark before going on a 13-0 spurt to take a 36-31 lead.  Senior forward Bernard James scored six points during the Seminoles’ run, part of a spectacular afternoon in which the unheralded performer became the MVP for coach Leonard Hamilton’s club. James finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots, a remarkable stat line for the game’s unexpected hero.  The score remained close until Kitchen converted a three-point play with 4:49 remaining to stake the Seminoles to a 48-40 lead, which they kept for good thanks to their rugged inside play and inspired efforts from unexpected sources. Texas A&M was led by Khris Middleton, who scored 15 points.  The Aggies closed out their season with a 24-9 record. Florida State improved to 22-10 with the win.  The Seminoles will face Notre Dame, a 69-56 winner over Akron, on Sunday.

 

(3) Purdue 65, (14) St. Peter’s 43

E’Twaun Moore scored 19 points and JaJuan Johnson added 16 points and 16 rebounds as the third-seeded Purdue Boilermakers defeated the St. Peter’s College Peacocks.  The Boilermakers jumped all over the 14th-seeded Peacocks, taking an early 15-4 lead, which they extended to 33-17 at the half.  Purdue scored the first seven points of the second half to increase its lead to 40-17.  The Boilermakers led by as much as 27 points in the second half, and witnessed a late window-dressing surge by the Peacocks (one that merely chopped the Boilers’ lead to 14 points) to coast to victory.

St. Peter’s was led by Jeron Belin, who scored 12 points.  The Peacocks finished the season with a 20-14 record. Purdue improved to 26-7 with the victory.  The Boilermakers will face 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth in the round of 32.

 

(11) Virginia Commonwealth 74, (6) Georgetown 56

From the play-in game to the round of 32, it’s been a fantastic week for one of the very last teams to get an at-large berth to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Brandon Rozzell made six three-point shots to pace a balanced attack with 26 points, as the eleventh-seeded Virginia Commonwealth Rams upset the sixth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas in an NCAA Tournament Southwest Region round of 64 contest.  Senior point guard Joey Rodriguez added 17 points and had seven assists while Bradford Burgess and Jamie Skeen each chipped in 12 points.  The Rams made 12-of-25 three-point shots, outscoring the Hoyas 36-15 from long distance in a shockingly easy romp.

The Rams were trailing 19-18 in the first half when Rozzell drilled a three-pointer to ignite a 9-0 run that put VCU in the lead for good.  VCU put the game away early in the second half, going on a 14-4 spurt to extend a 35-24 halftime lead to a commanding 21-point margin, 49-28.  
 
Hollis Thompson scored 26 points to lead Georgetown.  Senior point guard Chris Wright struggled in his return to the lineup following an injury, scoring just six points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field and turning the ball over four times.  The Hoyas finished the season with a 21-11 record.  This was the second straight tournament in which the Hoyas were upset in the round of 64. GU got bumped from last year’s Dance by Ohio in the first round.

VCU improved to 25-11 with the victory.  The Golden Eagles will face third-seeded Purdue, a 65-43 victor over St. Peter’s, in a round of 32 confrontation on Sunday.

 

TULSA, OK

(1) Kansas 72, (16) Boston University 53

Twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 31 points and 17 rebounds, as the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the pesky Boston Terriers in a NCAA Tournament first round contest.  The Jayhawks were leading by just four points at the half, 33-29, but opened the second half with a 10-3 run to take a 43-32 lead.  Boston University battled back, cutting the Kansas lead to 47-41, but that proved to be the last surge the Terriers mounted, as heavily-hyped KU freshman Josh Selby got hot from the perimeter. The touted guard sparked an 11-2 spurt that pushed the Jayhawks’ lead to 58-43 midway through the second half.  The Terriers were unable to get any closer the remainder of the game; the spell had been broken, and Kansas was finally able to relax after 30 very uneasy minutes.

Boston University was led by John Holland, who scored 19 points.  The Terriers finished the season with a 21-14 record. Kansas improved to 33-2 with the victory.  The Jayhawks will face ninth-seeded Illinois in the second round.

 

(9) Illinois 73, (8) UNLV 62

Mike Davis scored 22 points, and Demetri McCamey added 19 points and 7 assists, as the ninth-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini defeated the eighth-seeded UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in an NCAA Tournament contest.  The Illini jumped all over the Rebels, scoring the first 15 points of the game and rolling to a 46-24 halftime lead.   The Fighting Illini led by as much as 25 points in the second half before the Runnin’ Rebels rallied late, making the final margin appear much closer than the game actually was. Illinois destroyed UNLV in transition, running the floor and scoring often in the open floor. The Rebels’ defense never really worked as hard as it needed to, taking coach Lon Kruger’s crew out of the Big Dance with startling abruptness.

UNLV was led by Oscar Bellfield, who scored 14 points.  The Runnin’ Rebels finished the season with a 24-9 record. Illinois improved to 20-13 with the victory.  The Fighting Illini will face the Southwest Region’s top seed, Kansas, in a round of 32 showdown on Sunday.  Kansas is coached by former Illinois head coach Bill Self. Interestingly enough, Kruger – the UNLV coach – used to guide the Illinois team that beat him on Friday night.

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EAST REGION

Cleveland, OH

(8) George Mason 61, (9) Villanova 57

George Mason trailed by 10 points in the first half and did not lead until Mike Morrison dunked home a deuce with 55 seconds remaining, but the eighth-seeded Patriots defeated the ninth-seeded Villanova Wildcats in the first game at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday.

The lead was exchanged several times in the first five minutes of the game, but the Wildcats took the lead, seemingly for most of the duration, with 15:10 remaining in the first half. Villanova led 35-29 at the break. The Patriots chipped away at the lead in the second half, pulling within a point with 12 minutes to go, but did not regain the lead until Morrison’s last-minute dunk. Following that throwdown, which gave GMU a 56-54 lead, the Patriots’ Isaiah Tate then fouled Nova’s Corey Fisher beyond the 3-point arc, and the Wildcats’ veteran guard hit all three free throws to give the Wildcats a one-point lead, 57-56. George Mason’s Luke Hancock dropped a 3-pointer on the next trip down to give George Mason the lead back at 59-57, and when GMU’s Ryan Pearson rebounded a missed Corey Stokes jumper, the regular-season champion of the Colonial Athletic Association could smell the finish line. Pearson passed the ball out of a rugby scrum to Morrison for a second dunk to place an exclamation point on the Patriots’ victory.

Villanova finished its season on a seven-game losing streak. The Wildcats were led by Fisher with 20 points and Stokes with 14. Center Mouphtau Uarou had 14 rebounds and six points for the Wildcats. George Mason, 17-1 in its last 18 games, will face No. 1 Ohio State in the next round on Sunday at approximately 5:15 p.m. Eastern time. Hancock posted 18 points for the Patriots, followed by Morrison with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

  

(1) Ohio State 75, (16) Texas-San Antonio 46

Top-seeded Ohio State had little trouble dispatching the 16th-seeded Roadrunners from Texas-San Antonio on Friday afternoon. Thad Motta’s Buckeyes led by 19 points in the first half and won by 29 points in the late-afternoon installment of the day session at Quicken Loans Arena.

OSU hit 12 of its 24 3-point attempts and shot 56.9 percent for the game. The Buckeyes out-rebounded UTSA 33 to 24 and dished out 24 assists to the Roadrunners’ six. William Buford led Ohio State with 18 points, followed by Jon Diebler with 14 (3-for-8 from 3-point range), Deshaun Thomas with 13, and Jared Sullinger with 11 points.

UTSA finished its season 20-14 and 9-7 as the Southland Conference champion. Devin Gibson finished the game with 24 points and four steals to lead the team.

 

 (11) Marquette 66, (6) Xavier 55

This was the big shocker of the night session on first-round Friday at the NCAA Tournament. One of the teams that had carved out a reputation for getting the job done in March was instead done in by a horrible performance from its superstar player.

Darius Johnson-Odom scored 22 points, and Jimmy Butler filled the stat sheet with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, as the eleventh-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles upset the sixth-seeded Xavier Musketeers in an NCAA Tournament round of 64 contest.  The Golden Eagles were the better team in a sluggish first half, taking a 33-20 halftime lead as the Musketeers’ main man dropped off the planet. Tu Holloway, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year who has always been Xavier’s meal ticket this season, was held scoreless in the first half.   

Things didn’t get much better for Holloway and the Musketeers in the second half.  Marquette outscored Xavier 16-9 to start the second half, extending its lead to 47-29.  Holloway hit only one shot in the second half, a three-pointer at the 12:09 mark that provided a glimmer of hope to the Musketeers and their fans.  Such hope proved to be fleeting, however, as Holloway failed to make another shot and Marquette never relinquished its comfortable multi-possession edge. The A-10 champions never got closer than eight points over the last several minutes of regulation time. Holloway finished the game with five points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field.  

Andrew Taylor scored 16 points to lead Xavier.  The Musketeers finished their disappointing season with a 24-8 record.  The loss means Xavier’s streak of reaching the Sweet 16 will come to an end after three consecutive tournaments. Xavier and Michigan State had entered this tournament as the only two schools to make three straight Sweet 16s. Those streaks are both over now.

Marquette improved to 21-14 with the victory.  The Golden Eagles will face third-seeded Syracuse, a 77-60 victor over Indiana State, in a round of 32 battle on Sunday.

 

(3) Syracuse 77, (14) Indiana State 60

Rick Jackson scored 23 points to pace a balanced attack, as the third-seeded Syracuse Orange beat the 14th-seeded Indiana State Sycamores in an NCAA Tournament round of 64 contest.  Freshman forward C.J. Fair added 14 points while junior forward Kris Joseph chipped in 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Syracuse.

The Orangemen led 38-30 at the half, and fended off an early second-half charge by the Sycamores to claim the victory.  Indiana State got as close as 42-38 at the 15-minute mark of the second half, but Jackson scored six straight points during a 9-0 Syracuse run, which extended the lead to 51-38.  The Sycamores were unable to get any closer than 10 points over the remainder of the game.
 
Indiana State was led by senior guard Jake Kelly, who scored 12 points.  Freshman point guard Jake Odun finished with 7 points and 6 assists for the Sycamores.  Indianan State finished the season with a 20-14 record.  Syracuse improved to 27-7 with the victory.  The Orangemen face Big East foe Marquette, which upset sixth-seeded Xavier, in a round of 32 game on Sunday.  The Golden Eagles beat the Orangemen 76-70 in the only meeting between the two teams this season.

 

Charlotte, NC

(2) North Carolina 102, (15) Long Island 87

North Carolina, the second seed in the East Region, defeated No. 15 seed Long Island in the early evening tip at Time Warner Arena on Friday night. The Tar Heels’ front line of John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and Harrison Barnes combined for 84 of UNC’s 102 points in the victory. Carolina coach Roy Williams took advantage of his team’s size advantage over the Backbirds to push the ball inside all night. Beyond Henson’s 28 points and 11 rebounds, Zeller’s 32 points and nine rebounds, and Barnes’s 24 points and 16 rebounds, the Tar Heels were mostly ballhandlers in this early-round game.

LIU, winner of the Northeast Conference Tournament with a record of 16-2 in the conference and 27-6 overall, was led by Julian Boyd with 18 points and 12 rebounds, C.J. Garner with 16 points, and Jamal Olasewere with 15 points.

 

(7) Washington 68, (10) Georgia 65

The No. 7 seed Washington Huskies struggled to defeat Georgia in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the Charlotte nightcap on Friday. In a low scoring first half, the tenth-seeded Bulldogs led by as many as seven points, but only three of their players had scored at the break with the score tied at 28. Washington found energy in the second half though, and garnered its first-ever victory in North Carolina in its ninth attempt, hitting its foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.

Washington will face second-seed North Carolina on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. Eastern time for a seat in the Sweet 16 in Newark, N.J., next weekend. The Huskies were led by Isaiah Thomas with 19 points and seven assists, and Scott Suggs with 10 points. Eight of Washington’s nine players had more than five points in the game. Georgia was led by Trey Thompkins with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Gerald Robinson and Travis Leslie had 12 points, Jeremy Price had 11, and Dustin Ware rounded out the only Bulldogs on the scoreboard with four points, Georgia’s bench was scoreless in the game.

 

WEST REGION

Tulsa, OK

(4) Texas 85, (13) Oakland 81

The Texas Longhorns almost blew a 17-point second-half lead, but hung on to defeat the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Friday afternoon. The Longhorns’ lead was 15 with five minutes left, but the offense-minded Grizzlies went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to five with 1:20 left. Texas responded by hitting its free throws down the stretch, ending the Grizzlies hope of an upset. Texas, which had been making only 65 percent of its foul shots this season, hit 21 of 26 free throws (over 80 percent) to stave off an upset bid from the Summit Conference champion. The Longhorns shot 47.6 percent from the field, led by J'Covan Brown's 21 points, Jordan Hamilton's 19 points, and Tristan Thompson's 17 points (Thompson added 10 boards and 7 blocked shots). The Grizzlies, who averaged 85 points per game, were held to 44-percent shooting, including an unfortunate 7-of-29 afternoon from long range. Reggie Hamilton led the way with 25 points for Oakland, while star pivot man Keith Benson was limited to 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Each team had four players score in double figures in the game.

 

(5) Arizona 77, (12) Memphis 75

Derrick Williams blocked a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds, helping the Arizona Wildcats fend off the Memphis Tigers. The game found the Tigers' Joe Jackson at the line with five seconds left and the Wildcats up three points at 77-74. After hitting the first free throw, Jackson intentionally missed the second one to give the Tigers a shot to tie the game up. Wesley Witherspoon grabbed the offensive rebound just as the Tigers had planned and went up with a shot, but Williams was there to block the attempt and all but end the game. Arizona was fouled with 0.4 seconds left, and even though Jamelle Horne missed both foul shots, Memphis couldn’t manage a shot attempt off the rebound. Williams led the Wildcats with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Lamont Jones added 18 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:35 left and two crucial free throws with 7.4 seconds left, to give the U of A its late three-point cushion. Antonio Barton had 17 points to lead the Tigers, and his brother Will Barton added 12 points. The Wildcats advanced to play Texas in the round of 32.

 

Charlotte, NC

(8) Michigan 75, (9) Tennessee 45

The Michigan Wolverines outscored the Tennessee Volunteers 42-16 in the second half, becoming the first team to win a NCAA game without hitting a free throw (0-for-1 on the afternoon). Part of the damage was done on defense, where Tobias Harris (6-of-6 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line for 19 first half points) was held scoreless in the second half. No other Volunteer had more than 6 points in the embarrassing loss. The Vols, who plainly quit in the face of the raging controversies surrounding their coach, Bruce Pearl, were held to 35 percent shooting from the field and just 17 percent from long range. The Wolverines, on the other hand, shot 52 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point territory. Zack Novak led the way for the Wolverines with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Four other players also hit double figures in points for Michigan, which advanced to face Duke in the round of 32.

 

(1) Duke 87, (16) Hampton 45

In a result that shocked no one, the Duke Blue Devils, the No.1 seed in the West, raced to an early lead and routed the Hampton Pirates to begin their defense of the national championship. The Blue Devils gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 899th career victory in the process. The game was never in doubt - the Blue Devils started on a 16-4 run and were ahead by a large margin before the Pirates could even snag their first rebound. By the 15-minute mark of the second half, the Blue Devils had expanded their lead to 30 and coasted to victory. Kyrie Irving, in his first game back after missing most of the season with a foot injury, led the team with 14 points while three other players also scored at least 10 points for the Blue Devils. The Pirates, in shooting just 34.5 percent from the floor, had no player break double figures in the scoring column. The Blue Devils won the battle of the boards, 36 to 25, and had 17 assists to just 4 for the Pirates. The Pirates also coughed up 17 turnovers. Duke advanced to play Michigan on Sunday.

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer
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