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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coach K wins 900th; Duke tops Michigan

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Duke is no stranger to this situation: Facing an underdog with uncanny touch from 3-point range, one that's racing downcourt in the closing seconds, scrambling for one last shot at some NCAA tournament magic.

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Cinderella: Jimmy Butler helped Marquette upset Syracuse in the third round on Sunday in Cleveland. AP PHOTO

This time, it was Michigan's turn to miss.

Nolan Smith scored 24 points and the top-seeded Blue Devils held their breath as the Wolverines' last shot clanged off the iron, sealing a 73-71 win Sunday that marked the 900th victory of coach Mike Krzyzewski's Hall of Fame career.

"The 900, it means that we're advancing," Krzyzewski said. "That's the main thing."

Kyle Singler added 13 points for the Blue Devils (32-4), who shot 51 percent, never trailed in the second half and advanced to the round of 16 for the 12th time in 14 years. Next stop: Anaheim, Calif., for the West regional semifinals against fifth-seeded Arizona on Thursday night.

Parts of this game felt awfully familiar for Duke, which capped its run to the national championship last year with a dramatic two-point victory over Butler that wasn't settled until Gordon Hayward's halfcourt heave ricocheted off the glass and the iron at the buzzer.

"We told our kids it would be like playing Butler in the national championship — a very similar, tough-minded, really, really good basketball team," Krzyzewski said. "I'm proud of our effort and obviously ecstatic that we're moving on."

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Second generation: Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. goes up for a shot against Duke's Nolan Smith on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. Duke won 73-71 to advance to the Sweet 16. AP PHOTO

One key difference: The eighth-seeded Wolverines (21-14) gave themselves a much cleaner look on their final shot.

Michigan, which trailed by 15 with 10:51 to play, clawed within one point twice in the final 90 seconds before Smith missed a free throw with 8.7 seconds left to give the Wolverines one last chance.

Darius Morris zipped downcourt and put up a runner in the lane with 2 seconds left, but the shot bounced off the back iron and the rebound went to Smith at the buzzer.

Morris finished with 16 points to lead Michigan, which made seven 3-pointers — the most allowed by Duke in a month.

Kyrie Irving and Ryan Kelly scored 11 points apiece for the Blue Devils, who won their eighth straight game in the NCAA tournament.

"I don't want to take this Duke jersey off. As simple as that," Smith said. "Every game could be my last."

Krzyzewski improved to 900-283 in his 36th season and can catch his mentor and college coach for first on the career list next weekend. He would match Bob Knight with a victory in the regional final, and would pass him with one win in Houston that also would put the reigning national champions back in the title game.

"There will be a lot of guys who will win 900 games eventually, but to be the first two and for it to be a coach and his player to do it, it's something very unique," Krzyzewski said.

Arizona 70, Texas 69

In Tulsa, Okla., Derrick Williams' three-point play with 9.6 seconds remaining lifted Arizona to a win over Texas. The fifth-seeded Wildcats (29-7) led by as many as 13 in the first half and were up for most of the game.

SOUTHWEST REGIONAL

VCU 94, Purdue 76

In Chicago, Bradford Burgess scored 23 points and 11th-seeded VCU made it three victories in five days by routing third-seeded Purdue to earn a trip to the Southwest regional semifinals.

Speedy floor leader Joey Rodriguez scored 12 points and had 11 assists, controlling the tempo. VCU shot 57 percent and had 26 assists to just four turnovers.

Florida St. 71, Notre Dame 57

In Chicago, Bernard James scored 14 points, Michael Snaer added 13 and Florida State showed there's more to its game than defense with a dominant upset of second-seeded Notre Dame that put the Seminoles in the round of 16 for the first time since 1993.

It was an impressive effort by the 10th-seeded Seminoles, who had four players in double figures and went 9 of 19 from 3-point range.

Kansas 73, Illinois 59

In Tulsa, Okla., twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 41 points and 24 rebounds, powering Kansas past Illinois to ensure the Jayhawks wouldn't make an opening-weekend exit from the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. No. 11 seed VCU and 12th-seeded Richmond will join them in the Southwest regional semifinals in San Antonio. Kansas plays Richmond on Friday.

EAST REGIONAL

Ohio St. 98, George Mason 66

In Cleveland, once Ohio State's Jared Sullinger declared it was over, it was over.

David Lighty made all seven of his 3-pointers and scored 25 points, Sullinger added 18 after informing one of George Mason's players "it's over" and top-seeded Ohio State made 16 3s to advance in the NCAA tournament.

North Carolina 86, Wash. 83

In Charlotte, N.C., Tyler Zeller scored 23 points, Harrison Barnes added 22 and North Carolina survived a closing minute that included numerous questionable calls to beat Washington in the East regional. The Tar Heels are into the second weekend for a record 24th time.

Marquette 66, Syracuse 62

In Cleveland, Darius Johnson-Odom's 3-pointer with 27 seconds left snapped a tie and gave Marquette a win over Syracuse that put the Golden Eagles into the round of 16 for the first time in eight years.

The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles (22-14) had the winning basket set up by one of Syracuse's 18 turnovers. Marquette will play North Carolina in the regional semifinals.



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