Sunday, March 23, 2003

NCAAs: The Skinny

Close calls and clutch shots from the NCAA tournament

By The Associated Press


Arizona got to see what makes Gonzaga such a scary team to play in the NCAA tournament. The top-seeded Wildcats survived a double-overtime thriller, 96-95, to advance to the West Regional semifinals. Salim Stoudamire hit a floater in the lane with 2:03 left in the second overtime for the game's final points, but ninth-seeded Gonzaga had several chances to win it. Tony Skinner missed an open 3 with 4 seconds to play, and Blake Stepp missed a 5-foot follow-up bank shot just before the buzzer sounded. The Zags went to the round of 16 three of the last four years, and to the regional finals in 1999.


Perennial powers Duke and Kansas were both convincing in second-round wins. Duke gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 60th NCAA tournament victory, second only to Dean Smith's 65, with an 86-60 win over Central Michigan. The Blue Devils advanced to the regional semifinals for the sixth year in a row and the 20th time in their 28 NCAA appearances. Meanwhile, Kansas dominated Arizona State right from the opening tipoff and won 108-76 to advance to the round of 16 for the third straight year. The Jayhawks are in the round of 16 for the ninth time in coach Roy Williams' 15 seasons.



No one really knew whether Wisconsin's Freddie Owens would play against Tulsa on Saturday because of a sprained right ankle. Good thing for the Badgers that he did. Owens hit a 3-pointer with 1 second to play, capping a late rally and lifting fifth-seeded Wisconsin to a 61-60 victory over No. 13 Tulsa. The Badgers advanced to the round of 16. Owens was injured in Wisconsin's opening-round win over Weber State and his status was unclear until tipoff. Until hitting the game-winning shot, Owens was 4-of-16.


Steve Novak and Marquette were perfect when they had to be - in overtime. The freshman made three 3-pointers and the Golden Eagles hit all of their shots in the extra period to pull away from Missouri 101-92. Third-seeded Marquette advanced to the Midwest Regional semifinals in Minneapolis - its first trip to the round of 16 since 1994 and second since Al McGuire coached the 1977 team to the national title. The Golden Eagles made six straight baskets and all six free throws in overtime.


Big East teams are 6-0 through the first three days of the NCAA tournament - the best record of any conference. Ben Gordon scored 29 points, and Emeka Okafor had 18 points and 15 rebounds to lead fifth-seeded Connecticut to an 85-74 victory over No. 4 Stanford and into the South Regional semifinals Saturday. Notre Dame also advanced to the round of 16 with a 68-60 win over Illinois. The Big Ten is right behind at 6-1, with Wisconsin having already advanced to the regional semifinals.


Dan Miller matched a career high with 23 points as Notre Dame moved into the round of 16 for the first time since 1987 with a 68-60 win over Illinois in the West Regional. The Fighting Irish shot 13-for-24 from 3-point range, including 11-of-16 in the first half. Miller sank his first five 3s and finished 5-for-7. Chris Thomas and Matt Carroll each hit three from beyond the arc.


A couple of freshman helped make sure Oklahoma senior Hollis Price gets to keep playing in the NCAA tournament. Kevin Bookout scored a career-high 22 points and De'Angelo Alexander had 15 as the top-seeded Sooners reached the East Regional semifinals with a 74-65 victory over eighth-seeded California. Price, the Big 12 player of the year, is bothered by a left groin injury that limits his quickness. After playing 11 minutes in the first round against South Carolina State, he logged 30 minutes against Cal but scored just five points.



Two rematches of recent national championship games. Top-seeded Kentucky takes on No. 9 seed Utah on Sunday in the second round of the Midwest Regional, a rematch of the 1998 final won by the Wildcats. Second-seeded Florida faces No. 7 Michigan State in the South Regional. The Spartans beat the Gators for the 2000 title.


No. 10 seed Auburn over second-seeded Wake Forest in the East Regional. The Demon Deacons, regular-season champions of the ACC, barely got by No. 15 East Tennessee State in the first round. They struggled to slow down 5-foot-9 freshman Tim Smith and could have even more trouble with Auburn forward Marquis Daniels, who scored 25 points in an overtime victory against Saint Joseph's. The Tigers seem determined to make a run in the tournament after critics said they didn't belong.


Senior guard Drew Nicholas saved Maryland's season with a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat North Carolina-Wilmington in the first round of the South Regional. Next, he and the rest of the defending national champions try to contain Xavier's David West, the three-time Atlantic 10 player of the year.


"Of all the teams I've had at Gonzaga, I've never been more proud." - Bulldogs coach Mark Few after his team was knocked out by top-seeded Arizona in double overtime Saturday, 96-95.

Full coverage at

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

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

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UC faces an uphill battle at home
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Reds Q&A
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