- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

From combined dispatches

No. 8 OKLAHOMA ST. 77, No. 9 TENNESSEE 75: After 40 minutes of give-no-ground basketball, everything opened up for Byron Eaton.

Oklahoma State’s barrel-chested point guard found a clear path to the basket for a three-point play with 7.2 seconds left Friday, sending the Cowboys (23-11) to a scintillating victory over the Volunteers (21-13) in the first round in Dayton, Ohio.

Oklahoma State will play Pittsburgh, the region’s top seed, in the second round. The Panthers sprawled across the first three rows of seats behind the Oklahoma State basket for the start of the second half, doing a little firsthand scouting.

They were gone long before Eaton — a five-sport star in high school who also played a little football — gave the game its final nudge.

He drove the lane untouched, leaned into Tyler Smith and drew the foul as his layup fell through the net and Eaton tumbled to the floor.

Smith had a chance to win it for Tennessee (21-13), but his jumper from behind the arc hit the side of the rim and bounced up to the top of the backboard as the buzzer sounded. Smith led all scorers with 21 points.

No. 1 PITTSBURGH 72, No. 16 E. TENNESSEE ST. 62: Pitt’s massive center DeJuan Blair bullied his way inside for 27 points and 16 rebounds as the Panthers (29-4), playing their first game as an NCAA top seed, survived a frightful 40 minutes from the Buccaneers (23-11) in Dayton, Ohio.

Pittsburgh had better improve if it wants go much further. The Panthers made 18 turnovers, struggled with ETSU’s end-to-end press and hardly looked like potential national champions.

Kevin Tiggs scored 21 for East Tennessee, which shot just 31 percent but still had a chance to become the first No. 16 to down a No. 1 until the final two minutes.

No. 4 XAVIER 77, No. 13 PORTLAND ST. 59: C.J. Anderson scored 14 points, and the Musketeers (26-7) shot 54 percent from the field, beating the Vikings (23-10) in Boise, Idaho, to reach the second round for the third straight year.

Xavier stifled Portland State’s usual barrage of 3-pointers and showed it could shoot from the outside, too, making eight of 19 tries and going 29-for-54 overall.

Derrick Brown, B.J. Raymond and Dante Jackson added 13 points as Xavier overwhelmed the Big Sky champion Vikings, who were in the tournament for just the second time.

Jamie Jones led Portland State with 14 points.

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