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Marquette doggedly made it 69-55, and Tar Heels guard Dexter Strickland was about to turn over the ball falling out of bounds. Vander Blue got a little too close and was called for a foul instead, and Strickland knocked down two more free throws to restore order for the Tar Heels faithful.

All those blue-clad fans were on their feet a couple minutes later, cheering as coach Roy Williams cleared his bench _ something that sure doesn’t happen often in a regional semifinal.

“Marquette, you have to credit them, because they kept digging in and competing and trying to do better themselves,” Williams said, before conceding: “I never felt like the game was in threat or anything.”