- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Jim Boeheim shook his head in disbelief, just like everybody else inside Madison Square Garden had a few minutes earlier, when Syracuse and West Virginia were tied at the end of regulation.

“Sorry we didn’t give you a longer game tonight,” he said. “We tried. You know, what can I say?”

One night after the 18th-ranked Orange’s epic six-overtime defeat of No. 3 Connecticut, the second-longest Division I game ever played, Syracuse needed only five extra minutes to beat the Mountaineers 74-69 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

The Orange (26-8) advanced to face No. 5 Louisville on Saturday night, trying for the school’s sixth tournament title while the Cardinals (27-5) go for their first.

What a memorable one it would be.

“When you play six overtimes, that’s unbelievable,” Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf said. “It’s mentally draining and for us to come out tonight against a great West Virginia team and go to another overtime and come out on the winning side is just cool for our team.”

Devendorf had 23 points, one more than he had in 61 minutes in the classic win over UConn, while Jonny Flynn, who had 34 points and 11 assists in 67 minutes Thursday night, had 15 points and nine assists playing all 45 minutes against the Mountaineers.

Freshman Devin Ebanks, who sent the game into overtime with two free throws with 4.8 seconds left in regulation, had 22 points and Da’Sean Butler added 21 for the West Virginia (23-11).

“We’ll bounce back,” coach Bob Huggins promised. “We’ve bounced back all year.”

Louisville had little trouble bouncing No. 10 Villanova (26-7) in the other semifinal, forcing 23 turnovers with their brutally efficient full-court press and putting together two big second-half runs in a 69-55 victory earlier in the night.

Earl Clark had 17 points and Jerry Smith added 16 for the regular-season conference champs, who snapped from a funk beyond the arc by hitting 13 3-pointers in winning their ninth straight.

“We knew this was going to be tough when you’re playing the Big East champions,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “I love how they play.”

The Cardinals wound up shooting 51.5 percent from the field in the second half, when a 17-2 run turned the momentum in their favor and a 10-0 spurt sealed the win. They hit eight of 13 3s over the final 20 minutes, after going 3-for-19 against Providence in the quarterfinals.

Besides capturing the title, one more win would almost certainly seal a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament _ if Louisville hasn’t done so already.

“I think we have a very good chance,” coach Rick Pitino said. “When you win the regular season championship and you win the final game, you’ve got a great shot.”

No. 1 North Carolina 79, Virginia Tech 76

At Atlanta, Tyler Hansbrough scored 28 points and made a disputed defensive stop in the final seconds as North Carolina avoided an upset at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

The Tar Heels, playing without injured ACC player of the year Ty Lawson, got all they could handle from the Hokies.

But Hansbrough scored the go-ahead basket with 36.1 seconds left _ the 12th lead change of the second half _ and then he tied up J.T. Thompson in the lane for a jump ball that gave North Carolina (28-3) possession with 5.2 seconds to go. Coach Seth Greenberg of Virginia Tech (18-14) threw his jacket in disgust, believing Thompson was fouled.

Hansbrough was fouled on the inbounds, made two free throws and A.D. Vassallo, who scored 26 points to lead Virginia Tech, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.

No. 4 Memphis 74, Houston 49

At Memphis, Tenn., Robert Dozier scored 16 points and Memphis became the first NCAA Division I program to win 30 games in four consecutive seasons by beating Houston in the Conference USA tournament semifinals.

The Tigers (30-3) had been tied with Duke for wins in a four-year span coming in and now have 134 wins over the past four seasons. Memphis has won 60 straight league games, second to Kentucky’s 64 straight Southeastern Conference wins between 1945 and 1950.

Houston (21-11) was playing its third game in three days, and had its worst scoring game of the season.

No. 5 Louisville 69, No. 10 Villanova 55

At New York, Earl Clark scored 17 points, and Louisville turned up the pressure in the second half with two big runs to beat Villanova and reach the Big East tournament championship game for the first time.

Jerry Smith added 16 points for the Cardinals (27-5), who won their ninth straight.

Louisville advances to play No. 18 Syracuse and try for its first conference tournament title since 2005, when the school was still a member of Conference USA.

No. 7 Michigan State 64, Minnesota 56

At Indianapolis, Chris Allen led three Spartans in double figures with 17 points, and Michigan State kept its hopes for a No. 1 seed alive with a victory over scrappy Minnesota in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.

It was the sixth straight win for Michigan State (26-5), and its ninth in its past 10 games.

Damian Johnson had 19 for Minnesota (22-10).

No. 9 Duke 66, Boston College 65

At Atlanta, Gerald Henderson scored the go-ahead basket with 34.8 seconds remaining. Rakim Sanders missed a last-second 3-pointer for Boston College after missing a jumper with 17.8 seconds left.

Kyle Singler matched his career high with 26 points, Henderson had 16 and Jon Scheyer had 14 for Duke (26-6), which will face Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals on Saturday.

The Eagles (22-11) called a timeout with 5.5 seconds left to set up a final play, but Sanders’ 3-point attempt bounced off the rim.

Maryland 75, No. 8 Wake Forest 64

At Atlanta, Greivis Vasquez scored 22 points and Maryland advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with an upset of Wake Forest, which was doomed by its worst shooting performance of the season.

Maryland (20-12) pulled away from a 36-31 halftime lead as the Demon Deacons (24-6) missed time and time again, finishing at 29.7 percent from the field.

James Johnson led Wake Forest with 20 points.

No. 23 Arizona State 75, 13 Washington 65

At Los Angeles, James Harden scored 24 points, and Arizona State reached the final of the Pac-10 tournament after blowing a 21-point lead.

Harden, the Pac-10 player of the year, shot 7-of-13, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and had nine rebounds and four assists for the fourth-seeded Sun Devils (24-8), who beat the Huskies for just the second time in the past 15 games between the schools.

Freshman Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points for the top-seeded Huskies (25-8).

No. 14 Missouri 67, Oklahoma State 59

At Oklahoma City, Zaire Taylor scored a season-high 19 points and Leo Lyons added 12 of his 15 points in the second half.

Kim English scored four points in an 8-0 burst that put Missouri ahead midway through the second half, and the Tigers (27-6) pushed the lead to 54-47 when Matt Lawrence connected on a rare 3-pointer from the right corner with 5:21 to play.

Southern California 65, No. 15 UCLA 55

At Los Angeles, freshman DeMar DeRozan had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Southern California forced UCLA into its worst shooting performance of the season, upsetting the Bruins in the Pac-10 tournament semifinals.

Dwight Lewis added 14 points and Taj Gibson had 13 points and 11 rebounds to send the Trojans (20-12) into Saturday’s championship game against No. 23 Arizona State (24-8).

Josh Shipp scored 19 points for the Bruins (25-8).

Temple 55, No. 19 Xavier 53

At Atlantic City, N.J., Dionte Christmas scored 20 points and defending champion Temple held Xavier to season lows in points and field-goal percentage in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.

Lavoy Allen added 10 points and 11 rebounds as the fourth-seeded Owls (21-11) moved within a game of becoming the first team to win consecutive conference tournament titles since they did it in 2000-01.

Derrick Brown had 19 points and B.J. Raymond added 18 for the Musketeers (25-7).

No. 20 LSU 67, Kentucky 58

At Tampa, Fla., Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and LSU (26-6) beat Kentucky to advance to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament and most likely end the Wildcats’ streak of NCAA appearances at 17.

Kentucky (20-13) last missed the NCAA tournament in 1991 and hasn’t played in the NIT since 1979.

No. 22 Florida State 64, Georgia Tech 62

At Atlanta, Derwin Kitchen scored the go-ahead layup with 7.7 seconds left as Florida State beat Georgia Tech to deny the Yellow Jackets a second straight ACC tournament upset.

Florida State (24-8) ended a streak of 11 straight losses in the quarterfinals while advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 1992.

Lewis Clinch scored 25 points for Georgia Tech (12-19).

No. 24 Purdue 79, Penn State 65

At Indianapolis, Robbie Hummel scored 20 points and Purdue beat Penn State in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

Keaton Grant made his first five 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and E’Twaun Moore added 15 points and six assists for Purdue (23-9), which played with all-conference center JaJuan Johnson in foul trouble for most of the game.

Jamelle Cornley scored 20 points for Penn State (22-11).

San Diego State 64, No. 25 BYU 62

At Las Vegas, Lorrenzo Wade scored 16 of his 24 points after halftime and hit two key free throws with 7.6 seconds left, carrying San Diego State (23-8) into the Mountain West Conference tournament final.

Kyle Spain added 13 points for the Aztecs, who all but assured themselves of a trip to the NCAA tournament with a stirring second-half effort against the Cougars (25-7).

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide