Friday, March 26, 2010
Elite 8 In: Tennessee, Baylor, Duke, Michigan State
6 Tennessee 76
2 Ohio St. 73
The Tennessee Volunteers advanced past the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history off a spirited effort on both ends of the floor, knocking off the #2 seeded Buckeyes. Wayne Chism had one of the best all-around efforts of his exemplary collegiate career with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The action in this game was frenetic from start to finish, as the lead changed hands repeatedly and neither team was able to establish a comfortable lead at any point. Ohio State's Evan Turner finished with 32 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
9 Northern Iowa 52
5 Michigan St. 59
The Spartans finally wrested away a lead late in the second half from the very capable Panthers and held on for the win. Michigan State's Durrell Summers paced the scoring with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Summers' seven rebounds were also high for the game. Michigan State will play Tennessee in one of two Sunday contests.
3 Baylor 72
10 St. Mary's 49
St. Mary's was put away early by the quicker and more athletic Bears, who dominated the Gaels in every way. LaceDarius Dunn paced all scorers with 24 points, including a 4-for-6 effort from 3-point range. Baylor was so completely dominant, the score at half time was 46-17.
4 Purdue 57
1 Duke 70
With both teams contesting every pass, shot and rebound, the tight defensive postures produced a low-scoring first half that had Duke up by a 24-23 score. The game remained tight until just after midway through the second period, when Nolan Smith scored 7 straight points on a pair of runners in the lane and a 3-pointer, to expand Duke's advantage to 9, and Purdue never recovered.
Kyle Singer had 24 points for the Blue Devils, Jon Scheyer added 18 and Nolan smith finished with 15. The Blue Devils face Baylor in the regional final Sunday.
NCAA Conference Scoreboard (through games of March 26)
Big East (7-7)
Big Ten (8-4)
Big 12 (9-4)
Mountain West (2-4)
West Coast (3-2)
Western Athletic (0-2)
*Conferences with only one tournament team listed as "Other."
Saturday, March 20, 2010
So Long KU: Northern Iowa Shocks #1 Kansas
9 Northern Iowa 69
1 Kansas 67
Ali Farokhmanesh did it again. Just two days after his decisive three-pointed ended UNLV's dreams, the dead-eye senior guard knocked down a bomb that exploded the #1 overall seed Kansas. Wide open off the Kansas pressure, Farokhmanesh had a perfect look with 30 seconds left and a one-point lead burying his shot from the wing with less than 30 seconds left in the game. He finished with a game-high 16 points as the Panthers eliminated Kansas, widely believed to be the best team in the tournament and ranked #1 in the last polls.
Northern Iowa led nearly the entire game, but felt the pressure late, turning the ball over repeatedly on inbounds plays as Kansas turned up the heat. In the end, it was Kansas' inability to hit three-pointers, defend and rebound that cost them a chance at a second national championship in the last three years. The only time Kansas led in the game was at the start, when they opened with a 2-0 edge.
The Panthers improved to 30-4, advancing to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of the Michigan State-Maryland match-up.
11 Old Dominion 68
3 Baylor 76
LaceDarius Dunn scored a game-high 26 points to lead four Baylor players in double figures past Old Dominion. Dunn, a high-energy scorer, hit 9 of 16 shots, including 4 of 11 from beyond the arc. The Bears advance into the Sweet 16 and will face the region's #10 seed, St. Mary's, next Friday night in Houston.
11 Washington 82
3 New Mexico 64
It appears that offering just two invitations to PAC-10 teams might have been a huge mistake by the selection committee, as the Washington Huskies, the conference champs, easily dispatched the #3 seed in the East, New Mexico, after handling Marquette in the opening round. The huskies opened up a double-digit lead early and, after leading 44-32 at the half, coasted to the win, as Dairese Gary poured in a game-high 25 points.
With Cal beating Louisville on Friday, the PAC-10 is now 3-0 in the tourney. Washington, winners of nine straight, advances to the regional semi-final to face the winner of Sunday's West Virginia-Missouri game.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Advancing: K-State, Murray St., St. Mary's, Baylor, Butler
Kansas State easily cruised past North Texas, the #15 seed in the West region. The Wildcats, the #2 regional seed, took command of the game early and were never threatened. Denis Clemente led the way to the 82-62 victory, with 17 points. Three other players scored in double figures for the Wildcats, who face BYU in the second round.
The upset of the day thus far belongs to the Murray State Racers, a #13 seed, taking out #4 Vanderbilt on a buzzer-beater by Danero Thomas, 66-65. The Racers clawed all day long to maintain short leads, but eventually found themselves down by a point with 4.8 seconds remaining. Thomas' 15-footer caught nothing but nylon as a celebration ensued with the ball going cleanly through the hoop. Murray State's next opponent is the winner of the Butler-UTEP game, the last of the Thursday day games. It was the second one-point win of the day.
The St. Mary's Gaels, winners of six straight, including the final of the West Coast Tournament over Gonzaga, took over after the break, and outgunned Richmond, the #7 seed from the Atlantic-10, 80-71. The big problem for the Spiders was 6'11" Omar Samhan, who scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both game highs. Samhan dominated the interior, while his teammates lined up open outside shots. The Gaels earned their first tournament win since 1959, shooting 49%. They face Villanova in the second round on Saturday in Providence.
Baylor unknotted a tight game with a late spurt to put down pesky Sam Houston, 69-58, in the South region. Ekpe Udoh registered a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Bears advance to the second round game against upset winner Old Dominion on Sunday.
Trailing by 6 at the half, the Bulter Bulldogs advanced into the second round in the West region with a 77-59 win over UTEP, the region's #12 seed and will face upset winner, Murray State on Sunday. The Bulldogs roared out of half time, going on a 22-4 run. Shelvin Mack, on fire from outside, canned 7 of 9 3-pointers for a game high 25 points.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wright, Hoyas Hand Pitt 1st Big East Defeat
There are just too many good teams in the Big East to think that any one of them will go through the conference schedule without tasting defeat, and probably more than once.
Such was the case on Wednesday night, when the Georgetown Hoyas stormed into Pittsburgh's Petersen Events Center and stopped the Panthers' 31-game home win streak and 5-0 Big East start with an important 74-66 road win. Led, as they often are, by point guard Chris Wright's game-high 27 points, Georgetown broke a second-half 56-all tie with a 7-0 run and never allowed the Panthers closer than 6 after that.
Wright went 11-for-17 from the field, including hitting all 3 of his 3-point attempts and going 2-for-2 from the foul line. He also added 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal while outplaying his counterpart, Pitt's Ashton Gibbs, who was just 3-for-16 and 2 of 8 from beyond the arc for 8 points.
Pitt's loss left Villanova alone atop the Big East, at 6-0, followed by 5-1 Syracuse and Pitt. Georgetown improved to 5-2, good for sole possession of 4th place in the conference standings.
Notable: #3 Kansas staved off a determined effort by Baylor for an 81-75 win. Sherron Collins all but sealed the deal when he hit his 5th 3-pointer of the game with 1:13 left, giving KU a 5-point lead. Collins finished with a game-high 28 points, closely followed by Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn, who scored 27 and also canned 5 3-pointers. Dunn, who leads Baylor at 19.5 points per game, grabbed 9 boards to go with 2 assists and 4 steals.
Duke and North Carolina both lost on the same night, the first time that's happened since 2003, though it appears it could happen again sooner rather than later, especially with a slew of injuries plaguing the Tar Heels. Carolina was mangled, 82-69, by visiting Wake Forest (13-4, 3-2), probably the best unranked team in the country. Duke had its own problems at NC State, as the Blue Devils were spanked by the Wildcats, 88-74. North Carolina is 1-3 in ACC play; Duke's conference record is 3-2.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Dunn's 25 Leads Baylor Over Oklahoma St.
Oklahoma State has a pretty good basketball team. At 13-4, they've established themselves as a contender in the Big 12. The problem for the Cowboys, however, is that there are a lot of good teams in the conference, such as Baylor, the team they visited on Saturday. After a closely-contested first half, from which the Cowboys emerged ahead, 40-39, Baylor took control in the latter stages, thanks to a 25-point effort from the Bears' leading scorer, LaceDarius Dunn, propelling Baylor to a harder-than-it-looked, 83-70 win.
Dunn, who is averaging 19.1 points per game this season, hit 9 of 17 shots overall, including 4 of his 9 three-point attempts. He also grabbed 9 rebounds, as the #22 Bears improved to 14-2, and 2-1 in the conference, along with Kansas State, Oklahoma and Missouri. That foursome trails Kansas (2-0) and Texas (3-0) in one of the nation's most loaded conferences. With anywhere from 6 to 8 teams likely to head to the Big Dance, wins over other contenders - give Baylor one here - will be an important determinant weighing on the final selections. Baylor appears to be headed that way.
NOTABLE: There was no lack of Top 25 action on Saturday, including a huge 72-67 overtime victory for #1 Texas, who hosted the Aggies from Texas A&M. Forward Damion James scored 26 points, including seven in overtime to keep the Longhorns unbeaten at 17-0.
Now that Ohio State has a healthy Evan Turner back playing full time, they've managed to even their conference record at 3-3 and should be a force - barring injuries -for the rest of the Big Ten season. After dispatching Purdue on Tuesday, the Buckeyes hosted #13 Wisconsin, defeating the Badgers by a 60-51 score. The 14-5 Buckeyes are making plenty of noise in the crowded Big Ten, where Purdue, which had been undefeated heading into conference action, has now lost three straight, their latest a 72-64 beat-down at Northwestern.
#12 North Carolina is in danger of dropping out of the Top 25 after dropping two straight, including Saturday's 73-71 loss to Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels are 12-6, and 1-2 in the ACC.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Madness: Kansas, Oklahoma Out of Big 12 Tourney
James Anderson calmly sank two free throws with 2.3 seconds left in the game as the Cowboys shocked the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 tournament. Anderson finished with 11 points, joining four other Cowboys in double figures in one of the team's best outings of the season. Byron Eaton scored 16 and Keiton Page had 15. The Sooners' Blake Griffith led all scorers with 17 points.
With the Sooners out of the way, the Cowboys have a path to the Big 12 tournament title and the automatic NCAA bid, especially since Baylor stunned Kansas later in the day.
Baylor 71, Kansas 64
Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn hit 6 of 11 three-pointers and was 9-16 overall for a game-high 24 points as the Bears made their shots and free throws down the stretch to upset the Big 12 regular season champions. Kansas led only one in the first half, at 1-0, as the Bears opened a lead of a many as 17 points. In the second half, Kansas actually took back the lead midway through, at 58-52, but could not hold off determined Baylor.
Baylor led 65-64 with just under 2 minutes to play, but held the Jayhawks scoreless the rest of the way while scoring the final six points of the game.
In the other quarterfinals, Texas held off Kansas State, 71-68; Missouri plays Texas Tech in the final game of the night.
Big 12: Red Raiders Roll Past Aggies
Tech's Mike Singletary scored 43 points, a Big 12 tournament record, hitting 14-20 from the field, including 3-4 3-pointers and 12-14 free throws. Singletary was a one-man show, scoring 29 straight points for the Red Raiders during their comeback.
A&M took a 19-point lead into the half, 48-29, and led by 21 briefly in the second half, but the Red Raiders scored 59 second half points to surge to the win. It was the biggest comeback in Bg 12 tournament history.
At 23-9, the Aggies still have a legitimate shot at making it to the NCAA tournament. The Red Raiders, with a 14-18 record, can only hope to make the grade by winning the Big 12 tournament and gaining an automatic bid.
While the Texas Tech triumph was the big upset of the day, the rest of the Big 12 tourney games were in line with expectations. Baylor downed Nebraska, 65-49; the Texas Longhorns bullied Colorado, 67-56; and Oklahoma State cruised past Iowa St., 81-67.