Sunday, March 18, 2007

Making the Grade: Saturday Produces Half of Sweet 16

Ohio State 78 Xavier 71 (OT) - The Musketeers nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament, but Justin Cage, who was a perfect 8-8 from the field, missed the second of two free throws, allowing Ohio State to tie the game at the buzzer on Ron Lewis' dramatic 3-pointer. The Buckeyes played the overtime without center Greg Oden, who had fouled out in regulation, but freshman Mike Conley Jr. took over, scoring 11 of his 21 points in the extra session. Lewis was the game's high scorer with 27 points and 4-5 shooting from 3-point range. Oden finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Butler 62 Maryland 59 - Butler managed to control the pace of the game, forced Maryland into 17 turnovers and hit 12 of 26 3-pointers to advance in the Widwest region. The Bulldogs will likely face Florida in the next round, as the Gators play Purdue on Sunday.

Sports Training ProductsTexas A&M 72 Louisville 69 - These two heavyweights slugged it out until the final buzzer. Louisville's Edgar Sosa briefly became the highest single-game scorer in the tournament with 31 points, but it was not quite enough, as Acie Law's 26 points got the Aggies into the Sweet 16 in the South region, where they will play the winner of Sunday's Memphis-Nevada tilt.

Vanderbilt 78 Washington State 74 (2OT) - It took two overtimes, but the Commodores became the highest seed (6) to advance thus far. Led by Derrick Byars' game-high 27 points, Vandy rallied from an 8-point halftime deficit to take out the #3 seed in the East.

Pittsburgh 84 Virginia Commonwealth 79 - After knocking off Duke in the opening round, VCU nearly upset the #3 seed in the West, Pitt. The Panthers led by as many as 19 points in the game, but the Rams would not let their dreams die, as they continued to pressure Pitt into mistakes which they turned into baskets. Pitt just barely escaped in overtime, despite shooting 54%. Pitt committed 15 turnovers and were only 16-27 from the foul line (59%). Sam Young led 5 Pittsburgh players in double figures with 15 points.

Georgetown 62 Boston College 55 - BC's Tyrese Rice played great again, leading all scorers with 22 points, but Georgetown's interior domination eventually wore down the Eagles. Jeff Green had 11 points and 12 rebounds to go with center Roy Hibbert's 17 and 12. The Hoyas also showed proficiency at the foul line, hitting 14 of 19 free throws. The Hoyas move on to play Vanderbilt in the East regionals.

UCLA 54 Indiana 49 - In a game that could only be described as ugly, UCLA escaped a late run of three-pointers by Indiana that tied the game with under 2 minutes remaining. The Bruins shot 36% to the Hoosiers' 33%, but his 18-24 free throws to more than provide the margin of victory. This game featured plenty of defense, but mostly just plain bad shooting. The Bruins hit just 2-9 from 3-point range and Darren Collison led all scorers with 15 points. The good news for UCLA is that they next face another suspect squad, Pittsburgh, in the West regional.

North Carolina 81 Michigan State 67 - Drew Neitzel did all he could to keep the Spartans in the game, scoring 26 points while directing the Michigan State offense. North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, though, was too much to handle inside, as he became the tournament's single-game high scorer with 33 points, hitting 10-17 shots from the field and 13-17 free throws. Hansbrough also reeled in 9 rebounds in 38 minutes of play, the most by any Tar Heel. Point guard Ty Lawson was also a standout performer, dropping in 20 of his own while dishing out 8 assists. Lawson was credited with only one turnover for the entire game.

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