Cornell lives up to its billing
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Cornell lived up to its billing, showing why it’s the best team to come out of the Ivy League in more than a decade.
Down to their last chance to experience success on college basketball’s biggest stage, seniors Ryan Wittman, Louis Dale and Jeff Foote led 12th-seeded Cornell to its first win in five NCAA tournament appearances Friday, a 78-65 victory over No. 5 seed Temple in the East Regional.
Dale scored 21 points, Wittman had 20 and Foote added 16 points and seven rebounds.
This win came in dominant fashion. The Big Red (28-4) took the lead early and never looked back, earning the Ivy League’s first NCAA tournament victory since fifth-seeded Princeton beat No. 12 seed UNLV in 1998.
Temple (29-6) lost in the first round for the third straight year under coach Fran Dunphy, whose former assistant, Steve Donahue, has led Cornell to three consecutive Ivy League titles and the winningest season in school history.
Juan Fernandez and Ryan Brooks each had 14 points for the Owls. Dunphy, who’s been at Temple since 2006, fell to 1-12 in the NCAA tournament and has lost 11 straight.
No. 4 Wisconsin 53, No. 13 Wofford 49
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Jon Leuer scored 20 points, including a jumper and two free throws in the final 17 seconds, and fourth-seeded Wisconsin eked out a win over No. 13 seed Wofford.
Trevon Hughes added 19 points for Wisconsin, including 12 of the team’s first 21. The Badgers advanced to the second round for the fourth consecutive year and will play Cornell on Sunday.
The Badgers (24-8) slowed it down early, playing their typical plodding style, then turned things up when the Terriers (26-9) opened the second half with a flurry of points.
Jamar Diggs scored 11 of his 13 points in the first five minutes after the break, helping Wofford overcome an eight-point deficit in its NCAA tournament debut. The Southern Conference champions, who made just seven of 25 shots in the first half, hit their first eight baskets to start the second and took a 38-37 lead.
No. 2 West Virginia 77, No. 15 Morgan State 50
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Kevin Jones scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half to lead second-seeded West Virginia over No. 15 seed Morgan State.
Despite the margin of victory, it wasn’t an easy start for the Big East tournament champs after West Virginia missed its first 11 shots and trailed 10-0 before the game was five minutes old.
With leading scorer Da’Sean Butler handcuffed by a double-teaming Bears defense, Jones proved to be the difference. The sophomore forward went 4 for 4 for nine points during a decisive 21-4 run over a 6-minute stretch in the first half. Devin Ebanks had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Mountaineers (28-6).
Reggie Holmes scored 12 for Morgan State (27-10), the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champ, which followed up its first tournament appearance last year with another bid this season.
No. 10 Missouri 86, No. 7 Clemson 78
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Kim English and Keith Ramsey each scored 20 points, and Missouri’s swarming defense lived up to its reputation against Clemson.
Missouri (23-10), the 10th seed in the East Regional, has won five straight opening-round games and will play West Virginia in the second round Sunday.
No. 7 seed Clemson (21-11) goes home for the third straight year after a first-round loss to a lower-seeded team. Tigers coach Oliver Purnell is winless in six trips to the NCAA tournament with three schools.
Missouri’s defense, small, swift and smart, played at a high level. It forced 20 turnovers, nabbed 15 steals and stifled Clemson star Trevor Booker for 35 minutes. Booker finished with 11 points, eight coming in a late 3-minute span, and pulled down 11 rebounds in the final game of his stellar career.
No. 6 Xavier 65, No. 11 Minnesota 54
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Jordan Crawford scored 17 of his 28 points in the second half and Xavier kept up its run of tournament success by beating Minnesota.
Xavier (25-8) advanced to the second round for the fourth straight year, this time under first-year coach Chris Mack.
Mack has a star in Crawford, the Indiana transfer playing in his first NCAA tournament game in two years. But it was far from a one-man show.
Dante Jackson smothered the Gophers’ best shooters on defense, Jamel McLean had 14 rebounds and Crawford provided the highlight plays for the sixth-seeded Musketeers.
Lawrence Westbrook scored 19 points for Minnesota (21-14), but coach Tubby Smith’s 11th-seeded Gophers went cold from 3-point range late.
No. 3 Pittsburgh 89, No. 14 Oakland 66
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown scored 17 points apiece and Pittsburgh avoided becoming the latest Big East powerhouse to get knocked off in the first round, overcoming a slow start to rout Oakland.
Brown’s strong performance off the bench was a boost for the third-seeded Panthers (25-8), who are making their ninth straight NCAA appearance and have advanced to the round of 16 in five of the previous eight. They’ll try to continue that streak Sunday against Xavier.
Big center Keith Benson scored 28 points for the 14th-seeded Golden Grizzlies (26-9), who played much of the first half without starting forward Derick Nelson after an elbow from Panthers center Gary McGhee opened a cut over his left eye.
No. 8 Gonzaga 67, No. 9 Florida State 60
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Matt Bouldin and eighth-seeded Gonzaga showed Florida State it still has a way to go in its quest to be considered a basketball power.
Bouldin scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half in helping the Bulldogs close out a victory over the ninth-seeded Seminoles. Steven Gray scored 15 points while Robert Sacre added 13 points and nine rebounds for the ‘Zags (27-6), who nearly squandered an 18-point lead.
Deividas Dulkys scored 14 points and Solomon Alabi had 13 for the Seminoles (22-10), who didn’t have enough offense to dig themselves out of their big hole.
No. 1 Syracuse 79, No. 16 Vermont 56
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Wes Johnson had 18 points to lead five Syracuse players in double figures, and the top-seeded Orange beat No. 16 Vermont.
Syracuse (29-4), playing without injured center Arinze Onuaku, avenged a stunning overtime loss to Vermont (25-10) in the 2005 tournament. The Orange will play Gonzaga in the second round on Sunday.
Scoop Jardine had 14 points, Rick Jackson added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Andy Rautins finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Orange.
Marqus Blakely led Vermont with 17 points.
Onuaku injured his knee in the Big East tournament and the status of the man in the middle of the back of the 2-3 zone is up in the air for the second round.
Syracuse used an overwhelming start that had Vermont trailing by as many as 25 late in the first half.
No. 4 Purdue 72, No. 13 Siena 64
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Keaton Grant ignited a decisive 20-3 run with 11 points to begin the second half, and Purdue rallied past giant-killer Siena despite playing without do-it-all forward Robbie Hummel.
Grant, the senior who became a starter after Hummel injured his knee three weeks ago, opened up the inside for teammate JuJuan Johnson’s 23 points. Johnson, the tallest player on either team at 6-foot-10, tied his career high with 15 rebounds.
E’Twaun Moore added 12 points for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers (28-5). They were steamed that even President Barack Obama had joined a national chorus predicting the 13th-seeded Saints (27-7) would pull a first-round upset in the third consecutive NCAA tournament.
Take that, Mr. President!
No. 5 Texas A&M 69, No. 12 Utah State 53
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – First-round victories in the NCAA tournament are becoming routine for Texas A&M, although this time it took freshman Khris Middleton to make it happen.
Middleton scored a career-high 19 points and fifth-seeded Texas A&M (24-9) beat No. 12 Utah State.
to advance to the second round for the fifth consecutive year. The Aggies will face Purdue on Sunday.
David Loubeau added 12 points for Texas A&M, which disrupted Utah State into one of its worst shooting performances of the season and dominated the rebounding.
Utah State (27-8) lost its fifth consecutive first-round game. Its last win came in 2001 over Ohio State. The Aggies shot 38 percent, well below their season average of 49 percent, and scored 20 points below their season average.
No. 1 Duke 73, No. 16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 44
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Kyle Singler had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jon Scheyer scored 13 and No. 1 seed Duke rolled past Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Lance Thomas added 12 points and Nolan Smith 10 as the Blue Devils began their quest for a fourth national championship in dominating fashion.
Duke (30-5) jumped out to an early lead, never trailed and reached 30 wins for the 11th time under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The 16th-seeded Golden Lions (18-16), who beat Winthrop 61-44 in the opening round Tuesday to earn a date with Duke, turned in a respectable defensive performance. But they struggled to score against Duke’s bigger, more physical frontcourt.
Tavaris Washington led Pine Bluff with nine points.
No. 8 California 77, No. 9 Louisville 62
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson scored 21 points apiece and eighth-seeded California squandered most of a seemingly comfortable lead before pulling away from No. 9 Louisville.
The Golden Bears (24-10), who played without suspended starting forward Omondi Amoke, advanced to the second round Sunday against Duke.
Cal led by as many as 18 in the first half. Louisville trimmed the deficit to 62-58 with just over 7 minutes to go, but Robertson’s 3-pointer steadied the Golden Bears and the Pac-10 regular-season champions went 7 for 7 at the free throw line over the final 6 minutes.
Cal closed the game on a 15-4 run and reached the second round for the first time since 2003.
Rakeem Buckles led coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals (20-13) with 20 points.
No. 10 Georgia Tech 64, No. 7 Oklahoma State 59
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Gani Lawal scored 14 points, Derrick Favors came within a rebound of a double-double and the free throw-challenged Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets scored their last 13 points at the line to hold off Oklahoma State.
It was a disappointing finish for James Anderson and the seventh-seeded Cowboys (22-11), who never seemed to find their rhythm. Anderson, the nation’s third-leading scorer, was just 3 of 12 for 11 points, half his average. Obi Muonelo was held to 10 points and the Cowboys, one of the nation’s best from beyond the arc, were just 6 of 22 from 3-point range.
No. 10 seed Georgia Tech moved to 5-0 in NCAA tournament games at the Bradley Center.
The Yellow Jackets (23-12) had struggled at the foul line all year, coming in shooting less than 65 percent. But they made them when it counted. Held without a field goal the last 8 minutes of the game, Georgia Tech finished 24 of 25 from the line.
No. 2 Ohio State 68, No. 15 UC Santa Barbara 51
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Evan Turner took a back seat to slick shooter Jon Diebler and big forward Dallas Lauderdale, and Ohio State outlasted persistent UC Santa Barbara.
Diebler scored 23 points and Lauderdale blocked a career-high eight shots and grabbed 12 rebounds for the second-seeded Buckeyes (28-7), who won without much offense from the Big Ten player of the year. Turner was held to nine points while going 2 of 13 from the field – one of the worst shooting performances of his career.
Turner did have 10 rebounds and William Buford added 16 points for the Buckeyes, who advanced to play Sunday against Georgia Tech.
Orlando Johnson scored 20 points for No. 15 seed UC Santa Barbara (20-10).
No. 5 Michigan State 70, No. 12 New Mexico State 67
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Kalin Lucas scored a career-high 25 points and Raymar Morgan emerged from a quiet night by hitting key shots down the stretch as fifth-seeded Michigan State edged No. 12 New Mexico State.
Morgan broke a late tie with four straight points, then made two free throws with 18.6 seconds remaining with the aid of a lane-violation call.
Still, it was an uneven game for the Spartans (25-8), a microcosm of their at-times dazzling, other times dumbfounding season following a loss to North Carolina in last year’s national championship game.
Troy Gillenwater scored 17 points, including a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left that got New Mexico State (22-12) within 68-67. Jonathan Gibson added 16.
No. 4 Maryland 89, No. 13 Houston 77
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – On a night when ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez was having trouble scoring, Maryland turned to freshman forward Jordan Williams.
Setting career highs with 21 points and 17 rebounds, Williams powered the fourth-seeded Terrapins (24-8) past Houston and into the second round Sunday against Michigan State.
Aubrey Coleman, the nation’s leading scorer, had 26 points for 13th-seeded Houston (19-16), which earned a surprise automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning the Conference USA tournament. It was the Cougars’ first trip since 1992.
Kelvin Lewis added 24 points for Houston, including 17 in the second half.
Maryland overpowered the Cougars 50-29 on the boards and held them to 41 percent shooting.