- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

From combined dispatches

W. VIRGINIA 74, No. 2 PITTSBURGH 60: Freshman Devin Ebanks scored a career-high 20 points to lead the scrappy Mountaineers (23-10) to an upset of the Panthers (27-4) on Thursday night in New York, knocking out the defending Big East tournament champions and advancing to the semifinals for the second straight season.

Alex Ruoff added 18 points and Da’Sean Butler had 16 for West Virginia, which might be the hottest team in the nation’s deepest conference. The Mountaineers have won four of five, with their lone loss coming Saturday to No. 5 Louisville.

The tournament’s seventh seed got a big assist from Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair, the league’s co-player of the year who spent most of the game on the bench. The big man managed only 14 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 1:17 left.

Sam Young scored 15 points to lead the Panthers, whose chances of securing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament took a hit in what had been a friendly venue. Pittsburgh had advanced to seven of the past eight tournament finals, winning four games in four days last year to capture the title. The Panthers had been 23-8 at Madison Square Garden since 2001.

The Mountaineers shot 44.2 percent against one of the league’s best defenses and improved to 17-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points. They advanced to face either No. 3 Connecticut or No. 18 Syracuse on Friday night.

Blair got in trouble early, committing his second foul 4:01 into the game and taking a seat beside coach Jamie Dixon. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound forward didn’t return for the rest of the half, allowing the Mountaineers to build their lead.

Ebanks’ highlight slam over the outstretched arm of Jermaine Dixon made it 45-37 about three minutes into the second half. A few minutes later, Blair picked up a technical foul for shoving Ruoff after a missed shot beneath the Pittsburgh hoop.

No. 10 VILLANOVA 76, No. 21 MARQUETTE 75: Dwayne Anderson’s last-second layup fell in as the buzzer sounded, giving the Wildcats (26-6) a victory against the Golden Eagles (24-9).

Fourth-seeded Villanova led by 17 points in the first half, but Marquette took its first lead since the opening minutes on a 3-pointer by Lazar Hayward that made it 75-74 with 1:40 to play. Each team had two empty possessions after that, with Jerel McNeal of the Golden Eagles missing on a drive with 14 seconds left.

Villanova’s Reggie Redding dribbled near the top of the key and finally began a move toward the basket with just a few seconds left. He found Anderson on the left side of the lane, and his layup seemed to sit on the rim for a while before falling through for his only field goal of the night.

No. 5 LOUISVILLE 73, PROVIDENCE 55: The Friars might have had a chance against the fifth-ranked Cardinals if Providence ever got a shot off.

Earl Clark had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Cardinals (26-5) nearly forced the Friars (19-13) into setting a tournament record for turnovers in a sloppy quarterfinal victory.

Freshman center Samardo Samuels added 22 points for the No. 1 seed and regular-season conference champions, who have won eight straight and are trying to show the NCAA selection committee they’re deserving of a No. 1 seed.

Weyinmi Efejuku scored 17 to lead Providence, which turned the ball over a staggering 26 times - one shy of the tournament record - in what likely was a must-win game for its NCAA hopes.

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