Friday, March 15, 2002

South Region roundup

UNC Wilmington stuns USC

The Associated Press

Southern Cal's David Bluthenthal reacts after fouling out of the game during overtime against North Carolina-Wilmington.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        SACRAMENTO, Calif. — “Dream big. Focus small” is North Carolina Wilmington's slogan this season.

        The 13th-seeded Seahawks did just that against Southern California, stunning the fourth-seeded Trojans 93-89 in overtime.

        “Everybody doubts us except ourselves,” said UNCW's Brent Blizzard, who scored 18 points. “We didn't come here with our cameras like we did two years ago. We came with the right attitude. We didn't just talk about it, we did it.”

        The Trojans rallied from a 19-point deficit to force overtime, getting a 3-pointer from freshman Errick Craven with 8 seconds remaining to tie it at 80.

        “When that ball went in to tie the game up, you have to ask yourself, "How bad do you want it?'” UNCW coach Jerry Wainwright said. “At a very deflating moment, they pulled together. They played great in overtime.”

        In the 5-minute extra session, the Seahawks steadied themselves and outscored the Trojans 13-9 to earn their first NCAA tournament victory. UNCW lost to Cincinnati two years ago in its only other appearance.

        “This goes back to how strong our will is,” Blizzard said. “Every team is going to make a run. You have to fight it off and come back with one of your own.”

        Duke 84, Winthrop 37

        GREENVILLE, S.C. — Duke hasn't had a scare as a No.1 seed the last four years in its NCAA opener. It wouldn't get one Thursday night in matching the fifth biggest blowout in tournament history.

        The Blue Devils, the top seed in the South, made 12 of their first 13 shots to blow past Winthropjust hours after the day's other No.1 seed — Kansas — struggled with Holy Cross.

        Carlos Boozer and Jason Williams scored 19 points each, and Mike Dunleavy added 18 as the defending national champions (30-3) won their seventh straight NCAA game by double digits and gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his seventh 30-win season.

        The Blue Devils advanced to play Notre Dame and former Krzyzewski assistant Mike Brey, whose club knocked off Charlotte 82-63.

        Greg Lewis led the Eagles with 15 points.

        Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall gave his wife a thumbs-up prior to tipoff and blew a kiss to his 3-year-old daughter Maggie in the stands, who blew one back.

        But that's the most fun Marshall would have all night with his club playing just 85 miles from campus.

        Kent State 69, Oklahoma State 61

        GREENVILLE, S.C. — Trevor Huffman doesn't consider Kent State's victory over Oklahoma State an upset — even if everyone else would.

        Demetric Shaw scored 21 points, and Huffman had 18 as the 10th-seeded Golden Flashes beat the No.7 Cowboys, registering the NCAA Tournament's first surprise in its very first game.

        “I don't think anyone actually believed we were going to do it except us,” Huffman said. “We're a special team.”

        Kent State (28-5) has won 19 straight games and meets No.2 seed Alabama.

        The closest Oklahoma State came down the stretch was 64-60, on Ivan McFarlin's layup with 1:02 left. The Cowboys had the chance to cut it further, but Kent State's Eric Thomas stole a pass from Cheyne Gadson with 45 seconds left.

        “They came at us, and we just had to fight them off,” said first-year Kent State coach Stan Heath. “We weren't perfect, but we showed the resiliency.”

        Oklahoma State hurt itself with poor shooting, finishing 21-of-53 (39.6 percent) from the field.

        Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said his team won't have any problems taking Kent seriously in the second round.

        “When you've won 19 straight, it doesn't matter what conference you're from, you've proven that you're a good team,” he said.

        Alabama 86, Fla. Atlantic 78

        GREENVILLE, S.C. — There's a quiet confidence about Alabama that the Crimson Tide insist shouldn't be mistaken for indifference, even after they barely survived a scare from Florida Atlantic.

        The Southeastern Conference regular-season champions scored 10 straight points to pull away from a 64-64 tie, then held on.

        Freshman guard Mo Williams scored a career-high 33 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had six assists to pace the Crimson Tide, who advanced to a second-round matchup against Kent State.

        Florida Atlantic, trying to become just the fifth No. 15 seed to knock off a No. 2, matched the heavily favored Crimson Tide basket for basket for nearly 33 minutes.

        But in the end, Alabama just had too much firepower when it counted.

        Earnest Crumbley led FAU (19-12) with 18 points, and Raheim Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

        Alabama (27-7) was left out of the NCAA field last season despite winning 25 games, the victim of a weak schedule. The Crimson Tide beefed up their non-conference slate and used what they still perceive as a slight as motivation to tear through the SEC this year.

        The No. 2 seeding equals the best ever for Alabama, which also was a No. 2 seed in 1987 when Gottfried was a senior on a team that won a school-record 28 games.

        The Crimson Tide can match that mark by beating Kent State (28-9), which extended its winning streak to 19 with its upset of Oklahoma State.

        FAU made the field of 65 for the first time by winning the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament, capping a dramatic turnaround from a 2-28 finish just two years ago — Sidney Green's first at the Boca Raton, Fla., college that hopes it has forever shed the moniker of F-A-Who?


Sports Stories
Buckeyes hold off tough Wildcats
Wildcats buck upset trend
NCAA Notebook
East Region roundup
Midwest Region roundup
- South Region roundup
West Region roundup
NIT roundup
NIT scores
Maple Leafs topple Bruins
Sprewell pops Kings for 43 points in win
Coming up this week

Huggins: Next win will be his 500th
DAUGHERTY: March Madness
Confident Bearcats thinking big
Twyman family nostalgic as UC-BU matchup nears
UC notebook
UC Women: For Pirtle, tourney was season-long
Ragtag Muskies prepare to dance
SULLIVAN: Future is now for West
Success starts with Chalmers
Larkin leaves game against Yankees
Reds have big plans for final games
Reds notebook
Yankees 2, Reds 1
Baseball notebook
Bengals notebook
NFL notebook
Zone saves Winton Woods
Despite success, Tracy needs to leave Clermont Northeastern
Eastern Brown advances
St. Ursula, Rocky River evenly matched
Switch of offense boosts Reading past Hartley
Division II girls
Division IV girls
North Hardin, Lex Cath advance to Sweet Sixteen quarterfinals
Tournament pairings and results
Gymnastics all-stars