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Saturday, March 26, 2011

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Catalyst: Arizona's Derrick Williams drives the lane against Duke's Mason Plumlee (left) and Ryan Kelly in the first half of their NCAA tournament round of 16 game on Friday in Anaheim, Calif. Arizona won 93-77. AP PHOTO

Williams, Arizona oust Duke

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Derrick Williams carried Arizona in the first half, keeping the Wildcats in the game against Duke. His teammates returned the favor in the final 20 minutes with an offensive barrage that stunned the defending national champions.

Williams scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the first half of Arizona's 93-77 victory Thursday night, helping the Wildcats reach the final eight for the first time since 2005.

"As a team, we came together and willed ourselves to win," said Lamont Jones, who added 16 points. "Derrick is a great player, but we all contribute."

The top-seeded Blue Devils (32-5) were sent packing from a regional semifinal for the second time in three years. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, with 900 wins, will have to wait until next season to resume his pursuit of Bob Knight's record as the winningest men's coach in Division I history.

"The tournament is cruel," Krzyzewski said. "It's an abrupt end for everybody when you don't win."

Solomon Hill added 13 points for the Wildcats, who shot 54 percent and made 9 of 15 3-pointers, including five by Williams.

Williams had 13 rebounds to help his team dominate the boards, 40-27, while playing 15 minutes from his hometown of La Mirada.

"It makes me feel great," he said. "If we win this game on Saturday, we'll be known as one of the greatest Arizona teams to play."

Fifth-seeded Arizona (30-7) will play Connecticut (29-9) on Saturday in the West Regional final.

Duke's Kryie Irving scored 28 points in his most minutes since returning at the start of the NCAA tournament after missing 26 games with a toe injury.

"After we lost the lead, I think everyone got a little rattled," he said. "We tried to settle down, but by then it was too late."

Kyle Singler added 18 as one of three Blue Devils in second-half foul trouble. Nolan Smith was held to eight points — well under the senior's 21-point average.

"The way they played in the second half, they should win it all," Smith said. "Williams is a monster. They hit us full force, and kept hitting. They did everything right, and we did a ton of things wrong."

Down by six points early in the second half, the Wildcats unleashed a scoring rampage that left the Blue Devils wondering what happened.

UConn 74, SDSU 67

In Anaheim, Kemba Walker scored 22 of his 36 points in another dynamic second-half performance, and Connecticut moved to the brink of its fourth trip to the Final Four.

Freshman Jeremy Lamb added 24 points and hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1:43 left for the third-seeded Huskies (29-9), who needed five wins in five days to capture the Big East tournament before advancing to an NCAA regional final for the 10th time.

D.J. Gay scored 16 points for the second-seeded Aztecs (34-3), who couldn't quite catch up to Walker during a scintillating second-half stretch run.

SOUTHEAST REGIONAL

Butler 61, Wisconsin 54

In New Orleans, Matt Howard and Butler are starting to make this look a little bit easier.

After narrowly surviving its first two NCAA tournament games by margins of two points or less, Butler led by 20 points before holding on for a victory over Wisconsin.

Now the Bulldogs are a win away from their second straight Final Four appearance.

Howard had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Shelvin Mack scored 13 points and Shawn Vanzant 10 for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (26-9), who upset top-seeded Pittsburgh by one point in the second round and now have knocked off another higher seed in fourth-seeded Wisconsin.

The win sent Butler into the Southeast regional final, where the Bulldogs meet second-seeded Florida (29-7) on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.

Jordan Taylor scored 22 for Wisconsin (25-9), which shot 30.4 percent (17 of 56).

Florida 83, BYU 74 (OT)

In New Orleans, Alex Tyus scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to help Florida chase Jimmer Fredette and the Cougars (32-5) out of the NCAA tournament.

While Fredette was the star attraction, scoring 32 points on 11-for-29 shooting in the final game of his college career, Florida countered with balance.

Kenny Boynton added 17 points while Erving Walker and Chandler Parsons both scored 16. Boynton and Parsons each hit 3-pointers in overtime as Florida (29-7) outscored BYU 15-6.

Fredette made just 3 of 15 from 3-point range and had to work for his points against Florida's physical defense.



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