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Saturday, Mar. 17, 2012

Syracuse knocks off UNC-Asheville


PITTSBURGH — Syracuse was missing its starting center. North Carolina-Asheville thought the Orange got help from three men in striped shirts.

With Syracuse facing the kind of NCAA tournament history no team wants to make, the top-seeded Orange rallied for a 72-65 victory Thursday in the second round of the East Regional.

Two calls by the officials had the sellout crowd of 18,927 at Consol Energy Center — except for those wearing orange — booing throughout the final minute but it didn't matter.

Syracuse made it 109-0 for No. 1 seeds against No. 16s since the NCAA went to a field of 64 in 1985.

"I don't think luck had anything to do with this game today," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said, "and I think the better team won."

The Orange were staring at NCAA tournament history. A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed, and they were trailing North Carolina-Asheville with just over 6 minutes to play.

"We gave it everything we had. We battled the best that we could," Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said. "These guys are great. They deserved a better fate than they had today."

Syracuse, which won the national championship in 2003, had already made negative history in the tournament, becoming the first No. 2 seed to lose to a 15 when it fell 73-69 to Richmond in 1991.

Ohio State 78, Loyola, Md. 59

In Pittsburgh, Deshaun Thomas scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead second-seeded Ohio State to a victory over 15th-seeded Loyola, Md.

Jared Sullinger added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes (28-7), who dominated the smaller Greyhounds inside, finishing with a 49-24 rebound advantage.

Kansas State 70. S. Miss 64

In Pittsburgh, Rodney McGruder scored 30 points and Jordan Henriquez added 15 points, nine rebounds and six blocks to lead eight-seeded Kansas State over No. 9 Southern Mississippi.

The Wildcats (22-10) advanced past their opening tournament game for the third straight year.

Neil Watson led Southern Miss (25-9) with 16 points, LaShay Page had 15 and Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson scored all 14 of his points in the second half.

Gonzaga 77, West Virginia 54

In Pittsburgh, Robert Sacre and Gary Bell Jr. scored 14 points apiece as Gonzaga routed West Virginia.

Kevin Pangos added 13 points and five assists for the seventh-seeded Bulldogs (26-6).

Gary Browne led the 10th-seeded Mountaineers (19-14) with 15 points off the bench and Kevin Jones scored 13 in his final game for West Virginia.

Wisconsin 73, Montana 49

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ryan Evans scored 18 points and Jordan Taylor added 17 points and six assists for fourth-seeded Wisconsin, which ended No. 13 Montana's school-record 14-game winning streak.

Vanderbilt 79, Harvard 70

In Albuquerque, John Jenkins made all six of his free throws down the stretch and finished with 27 points to help fifth-seeded Vanderbilt hold off 12th-seeded Harvard in a game billed as "The Brain Bowl."


Marquette 88, BYU 68

In Louisville, Kentucky, Jae Crowder had 25 points and 16 rebounds, Darius Johnson-Odom scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half and third-seeded Marquette withstood another furious rally by 14th-seeded BYU.

Murray St. 58, Colorado St. 41

In Louisville, Isaiah Canaan scored 15 points in the sixth-seeded Murray State's return to the NCAA tournament after a two-year wait, and Donte Poole added 13 to lead the Racers past 11th-seeded Colorado State.

Louisville 69, Davidson 62

In Portland, Peyton Siva scored 17 points and fourth-seeded Louisville finally moved on in the NCAA tournament by beating 13th-seeded Davidson.

New Mexico 75, Long Beach St. 68

In Portland, Kendall Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and bottled up Long Beach State star Casper Ware defensively to help fifth-seeded New Mexico hold off the 12th-seeded 49ers.

Drew Gordon added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Lobos.


Kentucky 81, W. Kentucky 66

In Louisville, Terrence Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Doron Lamb scored 16 and Kentucky began its quest for an eighth national title with a staggering display of athleticism in a victory over Western Kentucky.

Freshman and player of the year candidate Anthony Davis added 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks for Kentucky, which was never seriously threatened.

Iowa State 77, UConn 64

In Louisville, Chris Allen led four Cyclones in double figures with 20 points and Iowa State scored its last 14 at the free-throw line to beat Connecticut, the first time since UCLA in 1996 that the defending champs have lost in the opening game.

Baylor 68, S. Dakota State 60

In Albuquerque, Pierre Jackson scored 18 points and Baylor held off South Dakota State to advance to the third round.

VCU 62, Wichita State 59

In Portland, Bradford Burgess hit a key 3-pointer with 1:33 left and Shaka Smart coached VCU to another tournament surprise, holding off Wichita State.

Colorado 68, UNLV 64

In Albuquerque, freshman Askia Booker came off the bench for 16 points and Andre Roberson had 12 points and 16 rebounds, as Colorado fought off a furious UNLV comeback for a victory at The Pit.

Indiana 79, NMSU 66

In Portland, Jordan Hulls went on a second-half shooting spree and finished with 22 points, and the fourth-seeded Hoosiers rolled past NMSU.

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