Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elite Eight: Butler Serves Notice; Huskies Mush Toward Houston

Half of the Final Four was determined on Saturday as Butler and Connecticut advanced through to the gathering in Houston.

Butler 74 Florida 71, OT - Rallying from a nine-point deficit late in the game, the Bulldogs tied the Gators in regulation and completed their upset win in overtime, advancing to the Final Four out of the Southeast region.
Butler, the Cinderella of the 2010 tournament, lost in the final to Duke, and is repeating the historic run a year later. The Bulldogs, seeded eighth in their region, has won three games in nail-biting fashion, beating Old Dominion, 60-58 in the opening round, then knocking off #1 seed Pitt, 71-70, before topping Wisconsin, 61-54. The win on Saturday was their 13th straight, currently the longest winning streak in the country.

Shelvin Mack came p big for Butler, scoring 27 points to lead all scorers. The Bulldogs will face the winner of Sunday's VCU-Kansas match-up on Saturday in Houston.

Connecticut 65 Arizona 63 - Once again, the superlative Kemba Walker nailed a jumper that proved to be the winning score, lifting the Huskies in a hard-fought battle over Arizona.

Walker knocked down a 12-foot jump shot to give Connecticut a two point lead with 20 seconds left. The Wildcats had two chances at the win, opting for three-point shots, but missed both and ran out of time.

Walker finished with 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Freshman Jeremy Lamb contributed with a productive game, scoring 19 points, with four rebounds. Lamb also had a key steal late in the game that put UConn up by five points momentarily, late in the action.

This marks the third time Connecticut has reached the Final Four as a representative of the West region. The two previous times, they won the national championship.

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