Friday, March 21, 2008

College Basketball 3/21

Duke 71, Belmont 70
By far the best game of the day. #15 seed Belmont, with the urging of the Washington DC crowd, came up just short in their upset of #2 seed Duke. After being down 42-35 at halftime and as much as 10 points in the second half, Belmont, not relying on three's as much as they had during the season, used backdoor cuts and fast breaks to come back and eventually took a 70-69 lead on two Justin Hare free throws with just over two minutes left. Belmont got two stops against Duke, but with 20 seconds left, Gerald Henderson took a rebound coast-to-coast and finished with a finger roll to take the lead. Belmont earned a inbounds from under their own basket with 4 seconds left after a jump ball, but threw the pass away and was forced to foul DeMarcus Nelson. He missed a front end, but Belmont's half court heave at the buzzer bounced off the rim. Alex Refroe led Belmont with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, all team highs.

This was a unique near-upset in that Belmont didn't hit a ton of three's (they were 8-23, not that many for a team that shoots 29 per game) and Duke didn't hand the game to them - the Devils actually played a pretty solid game. Belmont just played better. The Bruins outplayed Duke - burning them for back door lay-ups all game, and when those weren't there they would hit three's, and when they missed they attacked to offensive glass. Belmont was just the better team, and if they had made some better decisions in transition down the stretch, they could be playing West Virginia on Saturday.

Joe Crawford/Ramel Bradley, Kentucky
An overmatched Kentucky team lost to Marquette 74-66, but Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley did everything they could to prevent that. Crawford scored 35 points on 13-22 shooting, including 5-8 from deep, and Bradley had 19 points and 4 assists, accounting for all but 12 of the Wildcat points (Perry Stevenson had 10 of those 12). This was the last game for these two seniors, and they went out with a bang.

Josh Carter, Texas A&M
Carter had 26 points and 5 rebounds and shot 6-10 from deep as the Aggies held off a scrappy BYU team 67-62 in Anaheim. Carter hit three 3's in the first five minutes, helping A&M to an 11-0 lead. BYU made a couple runs, going back and forth with A&M for a while in the second half, but in the end Carter and the Aggies were too much. They go on to face UCLA on Saturday.

Honorable Mention
Josh Akognon, Cal St. Fullerton (31 pts, 8 rebs, 3 stls), Michael Beasley, Kansas State (23 pts, 11 rebs), Levance Fields, Pitt (23 pts, 4 rebs, 7 asts), Gerald Henderson, Duke (21 pts, 7 rebs, 5 stls), Curtis Jerrells, Baylor (27pts, 8 asts), Will Thomas, George Mason (25 pts, 7 rebs, 3 asts, 3 stls)

In a game where many people thought Kent State was going to win, UNLV came out and gave a record setting performance on the defensive end. They held the Golden Flashes to 10 first half points, tying the mark for fewest in any half in NCAA tourney play. The Runnin' Rebels forced 15 first half turnovers (20 overall), and shot 50.9% for the game, wrapping up a date with Kansas in the second round.

Washington State
Wazzu looked like they were going to be given a game by Winthrop heading into halftime tied at 29-29. But then the Cougars defense woke up, and they held the Eagles to just 11 points in the second half, out scoring them by 31 en route to the blow out victory.

No comments: