NCAA Tournament roundup

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NEW ORLEANS - Florida's tournament experience paid off against plucky Purdue.

Kansas' Mario Chalmers (15) puts the ball up past Kentucky's Bobby Perry (13) during the second half of their West Regional NCAA second round basketball game in Chicago, Sunday, March 18, 2007.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Kansas' Mario Chalmers (15) puts the ball up past Kentucky's Bobby Perry (13) during the second half of their West Regional NCAA second round basketball game in Chicago, Sunday, March 18, 2007.

Al Horford and Corey Brewer each scored 17 points and the defending national champions withstood a game effort by the Boilermakers 74-67 on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Purdue played just about how it wanted against the Gators - slowing down the tempo, rebounding with a smaller lineup and keeping the game close much of the way.

But the top-seeded Gators never panicked and made several clutch shots down the stretch to advance to the round of 16.

Horford had three big buckets in the final minutes, and Brewer hit a spinning jumper and then made six consecutive free throws to seal Florida's 14th consecutive postseason win.

The Gators (31-5) advanced to play fifth-seeded Butler in the Midwest Regional semifinals Friday in St. Louis.

Carl Landry led Purdue (22-12) with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Oregon 75, Winthrop 61

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - So much for the little guys. The ones from Winthrop, at least.

Aaron Brooks scored 22 points and third-seeded Oregon smothered the frazzled Eagles to eliminate the last remaining double-digit seed from the NCAA tournament.

The 11th-seeded Eagles (29-5), who upset Notre Dame in the first round, lost for the first time in 20 games to end their most successful tournament in seven tries.

So where has the madness gone? This is the first time since 1995 that no double-digit seeds have advanced to at least the third round.

Instead, the Ducks (28-7) advanced to play UNLV in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional. They made it largely because of their 11-for-23 shooting from 3-point range - that was almost as hot as the fluorescent yellow uniforms they wore.

Tajuan Porter, the shortest man on the floor at 5-foot-6, scored 14 points. He hit his first four shots of the second half, all from long range, in the game's decisive spurt. The win sent Oregon into the round of 16 for the first time since 2002.

UNLV 74, Wisconsin 68

CHICAGO (AP) - Kevin Kruger made dad proud.

Kruger connected on three straight 3-pointers late in the second half and the Runnin' Rebels rallied to beat second-seeded Wisconsin.

The Badgers (30-6) became the highest-seeded team to lose in the tournament, so far.

Kruger was shooting just 1-of-15 in the NCAAs - including 1-of-7 Sunday - when he found the range. He tied it with a 3, then hit another to give the Runnin' Rebels the lead with just under six minutes left.

Seventh-seeded UNLV (30-6) led by 12 at the half, but Wisconsin rallied with 11 straight points. A 16-2 run gave the Badgers a five-point lead to the delight of their red-clad fans at the United Center.

But Kruger, who transferred from Arizona State to play his final season for his dad Lon, delivered. After his three 3-pointers, he was fouled on another long-range attempt and made all three free throws to make it 64-56 with a little more than three minutes left.

Wendell White, playing with sore ribs, led UNLV with 22 points. Kruger finished with 16 points and seven assists. Taylor paced the Badgers with 24.

West Regional

Kansas 88, Kentucky 76

CHICAGO (AP) - Let Kentucky have the past. Kansas owns the present.

And with a few more performances like this, the loaded Jayhawks might be making some more history of their own.

Chicago native Julian Wright scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, Brandon Rush added 19 and top-seeded Kansas romped.

Mario Chalmers added 16 for the Jayhawks, who shot a blistering 57 percent to win their 13th in a row. Kansas (32-4) will play fourth-seeded Southern Illinois on Thursday in the semifinals in San Jose, Calif.

The rout was a repeat of last year's meeting between the teams in Lawrence, Kan. Rush led the way in that one, a 73-46 blowout that was Kentucky's worst loss in Tubby Smith's 10 years as coach.

The eighth-seeded Wildcats didn't have Randolph Morris in that one, as he served out a 14-game suspension for entering the 2005 NBA draft. But his presence Sunday made little difference as Kentucky (22-12) lost for the seventh time in 11 games.

Morris finished with 22 points, including 14 from the line. Bobby Perry added 21.

Southern Illinois 63, Virginia Tech 48

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The team that no one wants to play is still playing - thanks to its suffocating defense.

Southern Illinois got three big 3-pointers from Jamaal Tatum and pulled away from Virginia Tech. Tatum, the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, scored 21 points. The fourth-seeded Salukis have won 15 of 16.

Tony Young added 17, Bryan Mullins 11 and Randall Falker 10 for Southern Illinois (29-6), which reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2001.

Jamon Gordon had 16 points and Deron Washington added 15 for fifth-seeded Virginia Tech (22-12), which hadn't been held to fewer than 54 points all year.

South Regional

Tennessee 77, Virginia 74

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Now the whole state of Tennessee can paint itself orange.

JaJuan Smith scored 16 points and led a second-half comeback, Chris Lofton scored 20 points and the Volunteers held off Virginia.

Fifth-seeded Tennessee (24-10) reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2000 under second-year coach Bruce Pearl, who painted himself orange before a Lady Vols' game last month to show his spirit.

Virginia point guard Sean Singletary missed a 3-pointer with 1 second left, then fell to the floor and rested his forehead on the court in dismay as Virginia (21-11) watched its top two scorers come up empty.

Tennessee will play No. 1 Ohio State in the South Regional on Thursday in San Antonio.

Virginia got another big game from its guard tandem of J.R. Reynolds (26 points) and Singletary (19 points), but it wasn't enough to get the Cavaliers into the round of 16 for the first time since 1995.

Memphis 78, Nevada 62

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - John Calipari's Memphis Tigers finally have a victory worth bragging about in their run of 24 straight.

Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 16 points before leaving with a sprained ankle and his high-flying, versatile teammates took over from there for a 78-62 victory over Nick Fazekas and Nevada.

Memphis will take the nation's longest winning streak to San Antonio for a showdown Thursday against third-seeded Texas A&M.

The second-seeded Tigers (32-3) hadn't played a team as good as the Wolf Pack (29-5) since their last loss to Arizona, back on Dec. 20. They showed they were up to the task by never trailing after going down 2-0, and shutting out the Wolf Pack the final 6:17.

Jeremy Hunt scored 16 and Antonio Anderson added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis.

Fazekas, the three-time Western Athletic Conference player of the year, missed his first six shots but finished 7-of-18 for 20 points with seven rebounds.

East Regional

USC 87, Texas 68

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - If Kevin Durant decides to leave college after one year, it will be without a championship - or even a trip into the second week of the tournament.

Southern California made sure of that, getting 22 points from its more seasoned star, junior Nick Young, in a runaway.

As he often has this season, Durant led everyone with 30 points and added nine rebounds for fourth-seeded Texas.

But he never came close to dominating this East Regional game. Many times when he got the ball, the offense ground to a halt for the Longhorns (25-10), who fell behind by 17 early in the second half and never made a serious run.

No. 5 seed USC (25-11) also got 20 points from Daniel Hackett and 17 points and 14 rebounds from Taj Gibson - a 6-foot-9 freshman like Durant.

Second-year coach Tim Floyd's Trojans will make their first trip to the regional semis since 2001 - and second since 1979 - where they'll play North Carolina at East Rutherford, N.J. With their 25th win, the Trojans set a program record.


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