Oakland Region – First Round: No. 2 UCLA started slow against No. 15 Belmont, making only five shots while the other Bruins jumped out to an 18-12 lead. But the more celebrated Bruins outscored their counterparts by 40 the rest of the game to cruise to a 78-44 victory. Freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had his best game of his young career with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Bruins move on to play No. 10 Alabama in the second round.
No. 7 Marquette never figured out how to stop No. 10 Alabama’s Jean Felix, who was in the zone from beyond the arc. Felix finished with 31 points, including 24 on eight three-pointers, to lead the Crimson Tide to a 90-85 win. He only missed three long shots the entire game. Alabama hit 12 three-pointers as a team to pull off the first-round upset in San Diego. The tip-off was delayed about an hour and a half because a bomb scare forced officials to evacuate everyone from the stadium.
No. 14 Xavier gave No. 3 Gonzaga all it could handle, but it was Adam Morrison who took over in the final minutes as he scored seven points to cap a late run in leading the Bulldogs to a 79-75 win over the Musketeers. Xavier flirted with double-digit leads more than once, but the Bulldogs were able to rally each time and stay within striking distance. Morrison finished with 35 points and J.P. Batista had 18 and eight rebounds for Gonzaga, which shot 52 percent from the field. Stanley Burrell had 22 points and five assists to lead five Musketeers in double figures.
In the nightcap in Salt Lake City, Steve Fisher’s San Diego State Aztecs came close to defeating Indiana, but two errant last second shots ended any chance of an 11-6 upset, as the Hoosiers won 87-83. Indiana’s Robert Vaden hit a go-ahead trey with three seconds left, and then the Aztecs’ inbounds pass went out of bounds. After fouling, Roderick Wilmont made two free throws at the end to seal the deal for the Hoosiers. Indiana won despite hot shooting and hustle from San Diego State, as the Aztecs shot 77 percent from 3-point range, 56 percent from the field, and out-rebounded Indiana 36-31. Vaden, Marco Killingsworth, and Earl Calloway all notched 18 for Indiana, while San Diego State was led by Mohamed Abukar’s 24 points, while Marcus Slaughter had 13 points and 10 rebounds.[3/16/06]