Friday, March 21, 2003

South: Okafor, UConn bounce BYU


Huskies to face the Cardinal, who down San Diego 77-69

The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. - BYU was rallying when Emeka Okafor swatted away Rafael Araujo's shot.

Okafor made sure the Cougars won't bust up anyone's brackets - they're going home early instead.

Okafor controlled both ends of the court, scoring 20 points and blocking seven shots to lead fifth-seeded Connecticut to a 58-53 victory Thursday over No. 12 seed BYU in the first round of the South Regional.

"He was magnificent," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "He's the best defensive player in the country. He alters games. He alters everything."

The loss by BYU (23-9) avoids a potentially embarrassing situation for the NCAA, which mistakenly put the Cougars in the South, where the Mormon-owned school would have had to play the fourth round on a Sunday.

Because BYU does not play on Sundays, the NCAA would have reshuffled the brackets if the Cougars won their first two games, sending them to the Midwest.

UConn (22-9) made it moot and now will play Stanford in Saturday's second round.

After being bottled up most of the first half, the Huskies went on a 12-2 run to open the second, using their speed advantage to score on the break.

Ben Gordon hit a 3-pointer to make it 46-32 with 11:33 left, and UConn appeared to be on its way to an easy win.

But BYU scored nine straight points. Kevin Woodberry then made a 3-pointer to cut it to 50-48, but Taliek Brown made two free throws for the Huskies.

Okafor then blocked Araujo's shot with 1:43 left and Brown saved the ball from going out of bounds.

Gordon hit a jumper on the other end - the Huskies' first basket in more than 10 minutes - and UConn won it from the foul line.

BYU (23-9)-Bigelow 4-15 3-4 12, Shoff 3-4 0-0 6, Araujo 2-11 2-2 6, Hansen 8-21 5-5 21, Woodberry 2-7 0-0 5, Lemes 0-1 0-0 0, Nashif 0-1 0-0 0, Bower 0-1 1-2 1, Howard 0-0 0-0 0, Jensen 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 20-64 11-13 53.

CONNECTICUT (22-9)-Armstrong 0-0 0-0 0, D.Brown 3-6 0-0 7, Okafor 8-13 4-5 20, Gordon 4-12 4-5 14, T.Brown 0-7 6-10 6, J.Brown 0-0 0-0 0, White 1-3 6-7 8, Hayes 0-1 0-0 0, Tooles 0-1 0-0 0, Anderson 1-5 0-0 3, Robertson 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 17-52 20-27 58.

Halftime-Tied 26-26. 3-Point Goals-BYU 2-17 (Woodberry 1-4, Bigelow 1-7, Araujo 0-1, Bower 0-1, Nashif 0-1, Hansen 0-3), Connecticut 4-14 (Gordon 2-5, Anderson 1-3, D.Brown 1-4, Robertson 0-2). Fouled out-Shoff. Rebounds-BYU 35 (Araujo 8), Connecticut 38 (White 9). Assists-BYU 11 (Woodberry 4), Connecticut 8 (T.Brown 3). Total fouls-BYU 22, Connecticut 16. A-NA.

Stanford 77, San Diego 69

SPOKANE, Wash. - Matt Lottich helped Stanford to a quick start, then saved the Cardinal with his late scoring.

Lottich scored 17 points and hit a big 3-pointer with 49.7 seconds remaining, lifting fourth-seeded Stanford past No. 13 seed San Diego.

The Cardinal (24-8), making their ninth straight NCAA appearance, came within a whisker of a first-round exit for the first time since 1992. But Stanford survived to play Saturday against Connecticut (22-9).

Josh Childress scored 22 points and Julius Barnes had 18 for Stanford, which blew a 19-point first-half lead but rallied after San Diego (18-12) went ahead 66-63 on a bank shot by Roy Morris with 3:42 to go.

Barnes hit two free throws and Rob Little scored underneath to put the Cardinal up 69-66 with 1:34 remaining. After a San Diego timeout, Jason Blair missed a 3-pointer and Lottich made a 3 at the other end with 49.7 seconds to play.

Blair scored 27 points for San Diego but missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it at 69 near the 1-minute mark. Jason Keep, the 6-foot-10, 275-pound center who played on two NCAA Tournament teams at Oklahoma State, scored 12 but struggled with foul trouble throughout the second half.

The Toreros were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 seasons, the first trip in nine seasons under Brad Holland.

SAN DIEGO (18-12)-Belser 0-2 1-2 1, Blair 9-20 6-7 27, Keep 4-14 4-5 12, Morris 4-9 1-2 9, Delzell 2-8 2-2 7, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Stockalper 0-0 0-0 0, McGrain 1-1 3-4 5, Lewis 0-6 8-10 8. Totals 20-61 25-32 69.

STANFORD (24-8)-Childress 9-17 2-3 22, Davis 0-3 0-0 0, Little 6-8 0-2 12, Barnes 5-15 5-6 18, Lottich 6-15 2-2 17, Kirchofer 1-2 0-0 2, Grunfeld 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson 2-3 2-2 6, Haas 0-0 0-0 0, Haryasz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-64 11-15 77.

Halftime-Stanford 35-32. 3-Point Goals-San Diego 4-18 (Blair 3-8, Delzell 1-6, Morris 0-1, Smith 0-1, Lewis 0-2), Stanford 8-24 (Barnes 3-9, Lottich 3-9, Childress 2-5, Grunfeld 0-1). Fouled out-Morris, Davis. Rebounds-San Diego 42 (Keep 9), Stanford 41 (Childress 11). Assists-San Diego 7 (McGrain 4), Stanford 16 (Childress 5). Total fouls-San Diego 18, Stanford 24. A-11,284




UC BEARCATS
Gonzaga 74, UC 69
Referee to Machock: 'You're out'
Bobbitt wastes last shot
UC football staff set for 2003

XAVIER
Muskies planning to seize moment
Near upsets get XU's attention
Coach's intensity bringing out best in rookie Boothe

OTHER NCAA TOURNAMENT
Wildcats trying to keep their focus on IUPUI
Harper visits IUPUI
Daugherty: Crenshaw torn about playing during war
Satellite viewers at CBS' mercy
Three upsets and four that were close
East: Midgley shoots, California advances
Midwest: Tulsa upends Dayton; Wisconsin moves on
South: Okafor, UConn bounce BYU
West: Superior 'Zona handles exhausted Catamounts
NCAA Tournament at a glance

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