(3) Syracuse 78, (6) Arizona St. 67 - Syracuse, one of six Big East entrants still alive in the tourney, took control early and quickly expanded their lead over the Sun Devils to double digits, completely frustrating the PAC-10 player of the year, James Harden, who was held to just 10 points on 2 for 10 shooting. Syracuse, meanwhile, was firing at will, hitting 55% from the field and 81% from the foul line for the game, but got a little sloppy with about 7 minutes remaining, allowing the Sun Devils to close to within 4 points. Andy Rautins hit a three and Eric Devendorf nailed two straight 3-balls to quickly expand the lead back to 11 points under 4 minutes. Arizona State never got closer than 9 after that. Five different Orangemen scored in double figures, led by Devendorf who hit 5 of 11 three-pointers for 21 points.
Syracuse will face #2 seed Oklahoma Friday night in one of the South Regional semifinal games. The other is already set with #1 North Carolina facing #4 Gonzaga. Syracuse coach Jim Boehiem will be in search of his 800th career win in their tilt with the Sooners.
(4) Xavier 60, (12) Wisconsin 49 - In the defensive special of the day, Xavier playing man-to-man, Wisconsin zoning, points were hard-earned. At the first TV timeout, nearly 5 minutes in, Wisconsin led 5-2. At the half it was 27-25 Wisconsin. Neither team could shake loose, with 5 points the biggest leads.
The Badgers took a 32-26 lead to open the second half, but the Musketeers responded with a 9-0 run to wrest a 3-point lead. Later, B.J. Raymond hit a three-pointer to make it 49-41 at 4:24 and held off the Badgers the rest of the way and into the Sweet 16 to play Pitt in a regional semifinal. Xavier went 8 deep and all 8 players scored, led by B.J. Raymond's 15 points.
(3) Kansas 60, (11) Dayton 43 - Dayton scored the first basket of the game, but went 1-13 in the early going, allowing Kansas to open up an 11-2 lead. The Flyers improved on their shooting and cut the lead to two, and finished the half down just 6, 29-23. Cole Aldrich nearly had a first half double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds as he had little competition in the post.
Dayton's poor shooting continued in the second half. With less than 10 minutes left, the Flyers were shooting just 20% (11-55) and Kansas opened up a 42-30 lead, expanding it to as many as 22. Sherron Collins led the scoring with 25 points. Cole Aldrich scored 15 and dominated the glass with 20 rebounds. Kansas heads to the Midwest regional.
(12) Arizona 71, (13) Cleveland St. 57 - Cleveland State shot just 30% in the first half while the Wildcats established a 35-25 lead at the half, shooting 57%. The Vikings fought back to within 4 points in the second half, but could not catch the Wildcats. Nic Wise led the Wildcats with 21 points and 8 assists. The Wildcats face Kansas in the the Midwest regionals.
(1) Pittsburgh 84, (8) Oklahoma St. 76 - The Cowboys rode out to an early 8-point lead, hitting 6 of their first 8 3-pointers, but Pitt went on an 11-0 run to grab a 29-26 lead. That's about when the shoot-around commenced with both teams firing away - and hitting - from everywhere on the court. The two teams went into the break tied at 49. Pitt hit 8 of 16 threes, outdone by Oklahoma State's blazing 10-15 from outside the arc. DeJuan Blair, expected to dominate inside, never got enough touches, scoring just one point in the half on 0-2 shooting. Running mate Sam Young picked up the slack with a sensational 9 of 11 performance for 23 points at half time.
Both teams cooled off in the second half, but tied at 53, Pitt reeled off 11 straight points to briefly take control of the game at the midpoint, but the Cowboys would not ride off into the sunset, grabbing a 72-71 lead with 3:48 left. Sam Young's three at 3:12 made it 74-72, Pitt. The teams traded baskets, and Levance Fields' three with 1:29 left gave the Panthers a 79-74 lead. The Cowboys could only get as close as 3 down the stretch, sending Pitt to the East regionals to face Xavier Thursday night. Sam Young finished with 32 points. DeJuan Blair got involved late, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
(3) Missouri 83, (6) Marquette 79 - It wasn't the usual Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carrol show as Kim English scored 15 points right away for Missouri, hitting 3 of 4 3-pointers and 6 of 8 overall, staking the Tigers to a healthy lead, expanding it to 46-35 at the break. Dominic James started for Marquette and saw plenty of court time, but production from him and Maurice Acker at the point was minimal.
The Golden Eagles would not go away, though, inching back to within 2, at 58-56, nearing the 10 minute mark, finally taking the lead at 71-70, on wesley Matthews' three-point play. With the scored tied at 79, J.T. Tiller drove to the tin and was fouled and injured with 5 seconds left. English was called in to shoot the free throws and calmly made both. Lazar Hayward then stepped on the end line on the ensuing inbounds play, sealing the win and a trip to the Sweet 16 for Missouri.
Michigan St. 74, (10) USC 69 (2) - The Spartans weren't intimidated by USC's size advantage and took it right at the Trojans in a game that was tight through the first half, with Michigan State leading 40-37 at the half. Surprisingly, Michigan St. held a 17-9 rebounding edge as well at intermission.
The Trojans opened the second half on a 10-2 run, taking a 47-42 lead, but the spartans responded with a 10-0 run of their own, surging to a 52-47 advantage. USC quickly retied the game and the two squads traded baskets and free throws for most of the half. Taj Gibson fouled out at 5:28. Goran Suton's free throws at 1:18 gave Michigan State a 73-69 lead and the Trojans were unable to score again, sending Michigan State to a meeting with Kansas in the Midwest regional.
(1) Louisville 79, (9) Siena 72 - The Saints said their prayers and hung with the powerful Louisville Cardinals, trailing at the half by only 7, 42-35.
Things started slipping away in the second half, however, with Louisville stretching the lead to 12 points just 3 minutes in, though the Saints never had a single thought of quitting, grinding back to take the lead at 61-59 on Clarence Jackson's layup at 9:18. The Saints forged a 63-59 lead, but Louisville ran off 9 straight to reclaim the edge, 68-63 and Earl Clark dominated in the final minutes for the #1 seed in the tournament. Louisville held off the pesky Saints, hitting free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
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