Sunday, March 23, 2003

South: UConn turns to top guns



The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. - Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun challenged his two best players at halftime to be more aggressive. Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor answered the call and sent the Huskies to the round of 16.

Gordon scored 18 of his 29 points in the second half, and Okafor dominated the offensive glass to lead No. 5 UConn to an 85-74 victory over No. 4 Stanford Saturday.

"We told Emeka, 'They're not taking the ball to you, so you need to do something else, like rebound and score,' " Calhoun said. "I told Ben that he needed to take over offensively. I challenged him to get the ball in his hands and take over."

Gordon, held to 14 points in a poor-shooting opening win over BYU, shot 8-for-14 and made all nine of his free throw attempts. Okafor had 18 points and 15 rebounds, including six offensive boards in the second half.

Calhoun yelled at Gordon for his passive defense in the first half, sending him to the bench with a light shove.

"Sometimes I get caught up trying to make my teammates better," Gordon said. "Sometimes I need to be more selfish and take the shot."

Julius Barnes scored 23 points, and Justin Davis bounced back from a scoreless opener to score 21 for Stanford (24-9).

The Huskies (23-9) advance to San Antonio, where they will play the Texas-Purdue winner.

Calhoun has urged Gordon to be more selfish offensively, and he followed the advice at just the right moment, penetrating to the basket and hitting four of five 3-pointers.

Trailing 54-51, UConn went on a 14-4 run highlighted by Tony Robertson's alley-oop dunk off a nice feed from Gordon. Okafor converted four offensive rebounds into baskets in the opening eight minutes of the second half.

The Cardinal relied on their outside shooting, and the strategy worked in the first half when they made seven 3-pointers. But they shot only 1-for-7 from long range in the second half.

"If we had continued to shoot the ball well, we could have stayed in there," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said.

CONNECTICUT (23-9)-Armstrong 0-0 0-0 0, D.Brown 2-9 1-2 5, Okafor 9-14 0-0 18, Gordon 8-14 9-9 29, T.Brown 3-8 0-0 6, J.Brown 0-0 0-0 0, White 1-5 2-2 4, Hayes 1-3 0-2 2, Anderson 4-6 1-1 10, Robertson 3-9 4-5 11. Totals 31-68 17-21 85.

STANFORD (24-9)-Childress 2-10 0-0 5, Davis 8-12 3-4 19, Little 4-7 4-7 12, Barnes 7-14 4-5 23, Lottich 3-11 0-0 8, Kirchofer 0-1 1-1 1, Besecker 1-1 0-0 2, Grunfeld 0-2 0-0 0, Robinson 1-3 0-0 2, Haas 0-0 0-0 0, Haryasz 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-62 12-17 74.

Halftime-Stanford 44-. 3-Point Goals-Connecticut 6-10 (Gordon 4-5, Anderson 1-2, Robertson 1-3), Stanford 8-23 (Barnes 5-10, Lottich 2-8, Childress 1-4, Grunfeld 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Connecticut 43 (Okafor 15), Stanford 33 (Davis 10).




NCAA TOURNAMENT
Full coverage at Cincinnati.com

MEN'S TOURNAMENT
Maryland 77, Xavier 64
Underdog Xavier has upset in mind
Daugherty: Bookends on XU's roster
Coaches experts on Terps
Majerus has the big blues
UK, Utah still have ties to '98
Apology ahead for UC's Machock
Gators-Spartans: Things could get rough
Cowboys will test Orangemen
Butler now faces Louisville's press
IU ready to mount a charge
After spurning Spartans' offer, Gators' Roberson must face them

MEN'S TOURNAMENT - SATURDAY'S GAMES
East: OU's Bookout covers for ailing Price
Midwest: Little-known Novak burns Mizzou
South: UConn turns to top guns
West: Hot-shooting Irish burn Illini
NCAA Tournament at a glance
NCAA Tourney notebook
NCAAs: The Skinny
NIT: Providence tops College of Charleston

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
New coach rebuilds XU from guards up
UC faces an uphill battle at home
Living legend roams Texas sidelines
Wright happy to be home
Women's tournament at a glance
Lady Vols have no problems at home

REDS / BASEBALL
Reds fans get first look
Graves lets go of bothersome pitch
Blue Jays 4, Reds 1
Harnisch is pleased with performance
Reds Q&A
It's the same old Angels, champs or not
Devil Rays release Vaughn

BENGALS / NFL
Bengals look to turn weakness into strength
Bengals Q&A
Rams bolster line with trade for Saints' Turley

PREP SPORTS
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D-III state title: Reading 50, Sugarcreek Garaway 44
LeBron leads Ohio team to third state title
Ky: No. 1 Mason Co. 86, Lou. Ballard 65
Princeton's Davis joins elite crowd

GOLF
Tiger tames field, leads by five shots
Sorenstam closes in on 1st win of season

HOCKEY
Rangers keep slim hopes alive
Mighty Ducks beat Norfolk in overtime

NBA
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Hill won't give up despite surgeries

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PLAN YOUR DAY
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