Saturday, March 19, 2011

Duke, UNC, FSU Advance

DUKE 87, Hampton 45 – He’s baaaaack.  There are people who think Duke didn’t deserver a #1 seed and that the Blue Devils are a longshot to repeat as National Champions.  Those people have not seen Kyrie Irving play nor do they realize how much different and better the Blue Devils are with their star freshman point guard rocketing up and down the court.

Just to make the point, on one play Irving stole the inbound pass and sped downcourt toward the helpless Hampton defender under the basket. He leaped for a layup with his right hand, then switched to his left in mid-air. Count it.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Duke’s electrifying point guard sure didn’t look like he hadn’t played since December, scoring 14 points in his first game in three months.   

Kwame Morgan II 
Andre Dawkins added 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12, Kyle Singler finished with 11 and Miles Plumlee had 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils (31-4), who never trailed and shot 53 percent. They dominated from the start, winning their fourth straight and advancing to a third-round matchup with No. 8 seed Michigan (21-13) on Sunday.

Coach K moved one win from joining Bob Knight as the only Division I men’s coaches with 900 career victories. He can tie his mentor and former coach at 902 wins if the Blue Devils win the West Regional final and clinch their 12th Final Four berth under him.

A victory in Houston would not only put Duke back in the national championship game, it would leave Krzyzewski alone atop the wins list.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Hampton (24-9) had its five-game winning streak snapped. Its top three scorers—Darrion Pellum, Morgan and Charles Funches—were a combined 9 for 29.

NORTH CAROLINA 102, Long Island 87 – the Tyler Zeller scored 32 points, Henson added 28 points and six blocks, Barnes had 24 points and 16 rebounds and North Carolina used its hulking size to defeat scrappy Long Island University on Friday night in the East Regional.

Still, amid the career highs and gaudy numbers, there was just enough sloppiness, turnovers and bad 3-point shooting for North Carolina coach Roy Williams to have concerns in the school’s return to the NCAA tournament.

“Am I pleased about the win? You’re darn right,” Williams said. “Am I pleased about some of the turnovers? Not at all. Am I pleased about going 3-for-17 from the 3-point line? Not at all. But we have to build on this to be ready to play better in the next game.”

Julian Boyd had 18 points and 12 rebounds, C.J. Garner added 16 points and Jamal Olasewere scored 15 for LIU, which faded after rallying to tie with under 5 minutes left in the first half as its nation-best 13-game winning streak was snapped.

FLORIDA STATE 57, Texas A&M 50 – Derwin Kitchen scored 15 points, and the 10th-seeded Seminoles moved on in the tournament for the first time since 1998 with a  victory over the seventh-seeded Aggies in the second round on Friday.

Bernard James added 10 points and three blocks, keying a go-ahead run in the second half, and the Seminoles (22-10) advanced even though star Chris Singleton struggled in his return from a broken right foot, finishing with five points and four fouls.

The nation’s leader in field-goal defense, they held Texas A&M (24-9) to 31.4-percent shooting on the way to their first NCAA win since they beat TCU in the first round in 1998. The Seminoles had dropped three straight NCAA games, losing to Wisconsin in overtime in 2009 and Gonzaga last season.

Michael Snaer
Khris Middleton scored 16 for Texas A&M—11 in the first half. Nathan Walkup added 11, David Loubeau scored 10, but a team that was hoping to two-step its way to tournament games in Texas can forget about that.

Florida State got going early in the second half, erasing a 31-23 deficit with a 13-0 run in which James scored eight straight.

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