Repeat at Duke is not in cards
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2011 7:42 am
By: By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — In barely more than four minutes, the damage was done and so was Duke. Arizona hit the defending national champions with an offensive barrage so swift and surprising that the Blue Devils had no answer.
Derrick Williams scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the first half, then his teammates carried the Wildcats the rest of the way to a 93-77 victory in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday night.
Showing no fear of the top-seeded Blue Devils or their pedigreed history, the Wildcats shot 58 percent in the second half. They put on a 4-minute, 13-second dunking and driving display that led to the decisive 19-2 run.
“Nobody really believed in us and that put a chip on our shoulder, like nobody in the world thought we could win this game,” Kevin Parrom said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Arizona (30-7) will play Connecticut (29-9) on Saturday in the West Regional final, the Wildcats’ first such appearance since 2005. The third-seeded Huskies defeated No. 2 San Diego State 74-67 in the other semifinal.
“The Elite Eight is great, but we’re not looking to stop right there,” Williams said. “One of our team goals this season was not only to get in the tournament, but to make a run in the tournament, and so far we’re doing that.”
Down by six points early in the second half, the Wildcats unleashed a scoring rampage that left the Blue Devils wondering what happened.
Williams scored just two points during the 19-2 run that seemingly came out of nowhere, while five of his teammates did the rest in putting the Wildcats ahead for good, 66-53.
The Blue Devils were 1-of-7 from the field and committed two turnovers at the same time Arizona had its fans high-fiving and exploding in cheers.
The top-seeded Blue Devils (32-5) were sent packing from a regional semifinal for the second time in three years. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, with 900 wins, will have to wait until next season to resume his pursuit of Bob Knight’s record as the winningest men’s coach in Division I history.
“The tournament is cruel,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s an abrupt end for everybody when you don’t win.”
Solomon Hill added 13 points for the Wildcats.
Butler 61, Wisconsin 54
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Wisconsin’s normally suffocating defense could not slow Matt Howard and Butler’s run toward a second straight Final Four appearance.
If anything, the Bulldogs are gaining momentum.
After narrowly surviving its first two NCAA Tournament games by margins of two points or less, Butler led by 20 points before holding on for a victory on Thursday.
Howard had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Shelvin Mack scored 13 points and Shawn Vanzant 10 for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (26-9), who upset top-seeded Pittsburgh by one point in the second round.
Florida 83, BYU 74
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Alex Tyus scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to help Florida chase Jimmer Fredette and the Cougars (32-5) out.
Kenny Boynton added 17 points while Erving Walker and Chandler Parsons both scored 16. Boynton and Parsons each hit 3-pointers in overtime as Florida (29-7) outscored BYU 15-6.
UConn 74, S.D St. 67
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 22 of his 36 points in another dynamic second-half performance, and UConn moved to the brink a trip to the Final Four.
Freshman Jeremy Lamb added 24 points and hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1:43 left for the third-seeded Huskies (29-9).
D.J. Gay scored 16 points for the second-seeded Aztecs (34-3), who couldn’t quite catch up to Walker during a scintillating second-half stretch run.
Walker scored 12 consecutive points for UConn in that late duel with Gay, whose 3-pointer cut the Huskies’ lead to 65-64 with 2:53 left.
Lamb replied with his 3 before an emphatic last-minute dunk.