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Missouri: Tigers Pressure Their Way Past Memphis

by - Published March 27, 2009 in Newswire

(3) Missouri 102, (2) Memphis 91

No. 3 Missouri appeared destined to rout No. 2 Memphis after leading by 24 points early in the second half. But Memphis pulled as close as six points and seemed on the cusp of pulling off a stunning comeback. However, the Tigers ran out of time, and Missouri advanced with a 102-91 win. 

Everything seemed to be falling right for Missouri for the first 25 minutes, including a 60-foot buzzer-beater before halftime from Marcus Denmon. However, after coach John Calipari, who drew a technical foul in the game, called a timeout when Memphis fell behind by 24, the Tigers showed signs of life and went on a 9-0 run in less than a minute. Freshman point guard Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 33 points, five rebounds and four assists. For Missouri, junior guard J.T. Tiller had his best game of the season with 23 points, four rebounds and three steals. Senior forward Leo Lyons had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Villanova: Cats’ Defense Dominates Blue Devils

by - Published March 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

(3) Villanova 77, (2) Duke 54

No. 3 Villanova looked more like the dominating program that is nearly accustomed to deep NCAA Tournament runs than No. 2 Duke did in a 77-54 beatdown in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats’ defense kept Duke off balance for the entire game and held explosive junior swingman Gerald Henderson to seven points on 1-of-14 shooting. Duke sharpshooter Jon Scheyer fared little better, making only 3-of-18 shots. As a team, the Blue Devils managed to shoot only 27 percent from the field. On offense, Villanova’s crisp passing opened opportunities for shooters like Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding and Villanova’s best post presence, Dante Cunningham. Reynolds led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Cunningham added 14, and Redding had 11.

Pittsburgh: Fields Leads Panthers Past Xavier

by - Published March 26, 2009 in Newswire

(1) Pittsburgh 60, (4) Xavier 55

Senior guard Levance Fields delivered a 60-55 victory to No. 1 Pittsburgh after No. 4 Xavier appeared to have the Panthers on the ropes. Trailing 54-52 with less than a minute to go and the shot clock winding down, Fields stutter-stepped and lifted above the defender to drain a go-ahead three-pointer. At the other end, Fields stole the ball from B.J. Raymond and sprinted in for a layup that gave Pittsburgh a three-point lead.

The Panthers’ defense helped Pittsburgh rally from a 37-29 halftime deficit and held the Musketeers to seven made field goals in the second half. Sophomore forward DeJuan Blair elevated his energy level after halftime, finishing with 10 points and 17 rebounds after having only four first-half rebounds. Senior forward Sam Young led Pittsburgh with 19 points.

Connecticut: Huskies Look Final Four-Worthy in Win Against Purdue

by - Published March 26, 2009 in Newswire

(1) Connecticut 72, (5) Purdue 60

No. 1 Connecticut’s size and power outmatched No. 5 Purdue, propelling the Huskies to a 72-60 win. Junior center Hasheem Thabeet had 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for the Huskies, and senior guard Craig Austrie led Connecticut with 17 points. Sophomore forward Robbie Hummel kept Purdue in the game during the first half by scoring 15 points while the rest of the Boilermakers struggled. However, the Huskies clamped down on Hummel in the second half, and Purdue didn’t get enough scoring from other options.

Missouri: Tigers Sneak Past Marquette

by - Published March 22, 2009 in Newswire

(3) Missouri 83, (6) Marquette 79

No. 3 Missouri had an answer for every big shot that No. 6 Marquette made, and the Tigers found a way to beat the Golden Eagles 83-79. Marquette erased a 16-point deficit to take the lead in the second half. Marquette’s stars fueled the comeback, as Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal and Lazar Hayward scored 40 of Marquette’s 44 second-half points. 

With the Golden Eagles up 78-74, Missouri turned to junior guard J.T. Tiller to attack the lane and draw a foul. After two free throws and a Marquette turnover, senior forward Leo Lyons hit a layup in traffic and drew the foul. He made the free throw to give the Tigers a 79-78 lead. 

At the other end, McNeal made only 1-of-2 free throws, setting up an unusual play in which Tiller drove to the basket, drew a foul but couldn’t take the free throws because he was injured on the play. Tiller is a 76 percent free throw shooter on the season. Freshman guard Kim English, a 68 percent free throw shooter, stepped in and calmly drained both free throws, which proved to be the winning points for Missouri. English had 17 points off the bench for Missouri, and Lyons led the Tigers with 18. For Marquette, McNeal finished with 30, Matthews had 24, and Hayward added 13. The trio scored all but 12 of Marquette’s points.

Louisville: Cardinals Weather Siena’s Upset Attempt

by - Published March 22, 2009 in Newswire

(1) Louisville 79, (9) Siena 72

After watching an eight-point lead evaporate, No. 1 Louisville responded in the final minutes with a 15-4 run, fueled by senior swingman Terrence Williams, to help the Cardinals beat No. 9 Siena 79-72. Williams helped Louisville survive the Saints’ best shot by scoring 24 points, including seven during the decisive run with seven minutes remaining, and grabbing 15 rebounds. Junior swingman Earl Clark also registered a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Louisville’s advantage on the glass helped the Cardinals turn back a determined Saints team that forced 17 turnovers. Junior swingman Edwin Ubiles led Siena with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

Michigan State: Reprise of the Iliad: Spartans Outlast Trojans

by - Published March 22, 2009 in Newswire

(2) Michigan State 74, (10) USC 69

No. 2 Michigan State’s defense shut down No. 10 USC in the closing minutes to eek out a 74-69 win. The Trojans went scoreless in the final three minutes as the Spartans inched ahead at the free throw line. Senior guard Travis Walton hit two jumpers within a minute to keep Michigan State a step ahead of USC. Walton, an unlikely hero for the Spartans after averaging 4.9 points per game on the season, led Michigan State with 18 points. Freshman swingman DeMar DeRozan had 18 points and five rebounds for the Trojans, concluding a sensational run through the Pac-10 Conference Tournament and against No. 7 Boston College in the first round.

Arizona: Wildcats Push Forward to Sweet 16

by - Published March 22, 2009 in Newswire

(12) Arizona 71, (13) Cleveland State 57

No. 12 Arizona dodged potentially disastrous foul trouble to beat No. 13 Cleveland State 71-57. The Wildcats’ five starters scored all but two of the team’s points, led by junior point guard Nic Wise’s 21 points. Wise and junior forward Jordan Hill finished with four fouls, and the other three starters had three fouls. Not known for its suffocating defense, Arizona held the Vikings to 37 percent shooting from the field and 3-of-23 shooting from behind the arc. Without the long ball, Cleveland State couldn’t hang with the Wildcats.

Pittsburgh: Defense Tightens After Halftime to Give Pitt Win Against Cowboys

by - Published March 22, 2009 in Newswire

(1) Pittsburgh 84, (8) Oklahoma State 76

After a frenetic first half, No. 1 Pittsburgh clamped down on defense in the second half of an 84-76 win against No. 8 Oklahoma State. Senior swingman Sam Young had a sensational game for the Panthers with 32 points and seven rebounds. He made up for a difficult game for sophomore forward DeJuan Blair, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. However, Blair provided a critical putback layup with 40 seconds remaining that extended Pittsburgh’s lead to five.

Oklahoma State led much of the first half by shooting 62 percent from the field and hitting 10 three-pointers. Senior point guard Byron Eaton orchestrated the Cowboys’ efficient offense with seven assists in the first half. The Cowboys apparently would have preferred to skip halftime and just keep shooting. Pittsburgh’s defense limited Oklahoma State to two three-pointers in the second half and only 27 points. And most of the Cowboys’ missed shots went to Pitt, which out-rebounded Oklahoma State 39-21.

Kansas: Collins, Aldrich Continue to Dominate

by - Published March 22, 2009 in Newswire

(3) Kansas 60, (11) Dayton 43

No. 3 Kansas junior point guard Sherron Collins and sophomore forward Cole Aldrich took control of a second consecutive game to deliver a 60-43 win against No. 11 Dayton. Collins and Aldrich combined for 38 points, which was nearly enough to beat the cold-shooting Flyers. Dayton made only 22 percent of its shots from the field. In addition to their shooting struggles, the Flyers couldn’t contain Aldrich in the paint. He had 20 rebounds. Kansas’ 17 turnovers were the only reason that Dayton didn’t lose by at least 20 points.

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