- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

From combined dispatches

No. 5 PURDUE 76, No. 4 WASHINGTON 74: JaJuan Johnson and Purdue just rejected Washington’s desperate attempt to stay in the NCAA tournament. Now comes top-seeded Connecticut.

Johnson scored 22 points and had two huge blocks in the final minute as the Boilermakers (27-9) held off a frantic charge to beat the Huskies (26-9) on Saturday in Portland, Ore., to advance to their first regional semifinals since 2000.

E’Twaun Moore scored 14 points and made the clinching free throws with 5.5 seconds remaining. Purdue, the Big Ten tournament champion, led the entire game but nearly blew a 14-point lead to the desperate, determined Huskies.

Isaiah Thomas scored 24 points, Quincy Pondexter had 20 with 10 rebounds and Jon Brockman added 20 points with 18 rebounds - the 60th and final double-double of his career - for Washington, the regular-season champion of the Pac-10.

Brockman made a thudding free throw and then a third-chance putback with 3:07 remaining to cut Purdue’s lead to 69-67.

Brockman’s seventh consecutive point came on a reverse layin underneath, keeping Washington within 73-71 with 1:36 remaining.

Johnson then made consecutive blocks, first of Thomas’ drive, then of Pondexter’s jumper in the lane with 57.8 seconds left. After Moore missed a layup, so did the 5-foot-8 Thomas on yet another daring drive through the lane, with 18.8 seconds to go.

Moore, a 76 percent foul shooter, made two free throws to make it 75-71.

Brockman hit one of two free throws with 6.8 seconds left. After a quick foul by Washington in the backcourt, Moore missed the first free throw with 5.5 seconds remaining but made the second to send the Boilermakers to Glendale, Ariz., for a date Thursday with Connecticut, the top seed in the West Region.

Pondexter made an inconsequential shot at the buzzer. Brockman doubled over on the court as the Boilermakers jumped around before a stunned sea of purple-clad and broken-heartened fans from up the freeway in Seattle.

No. 1 UCONN 92, No. 9 TEXAS A&M; 66: Jim Calhoun returned to his seat on the bench and led Connecticut to a familiar spot in the round of 16.

A.J. Price scored 27 points, Jeff Adrien had 23 and the Huskies (29-4) dominated the Aggies (24-10) from the opening tip in a victory in Philadelphia, putting Connecticut in the Sweet 16 for the 12th time under their Hall of Fame coach.

After getting treatment for dehydration and missing Connecticut’s first-round game, Calhoun came back and never had to worry. The Huskies scored the first 10 points and kept pulling away. Stanley Robinson had 12 points for Connecticut.

Bryan Davis and Donald Sloan led overmatched Texas A&M; with 12 points. The Aggies were knocked out by the top seed in the second round for the second straight tournament.

Calhoun appeared a bit more subdued as he sat on the bench. He barked at the refs a couple of times but otherwise stuffed his hands in his pockets and strolled the bench area like he was talking a walk in the park.

The Aggies had no answer for Adrien and Price, who shot a combined 19-for-32 from the floor. Adrien didn’t come out until two minutes were left and Price followed at the 1:30 mark and the Huskies up 26.

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