Duke Ousted by VCU in NCAA Nail-Biter


Friday, March 16th 2007, 6:22 am
By: News On 6


Duke's decade-long domination in the NCAA tournament has come to an end. In the opening round.

Virginia Commonwealth provided one of the only nail-biters on the first day of the NCAA tournament, knocking out the Blue Devils in the first round for the first time in 11 years.

``The fact that we've gone every year since 1996 is a story in itself,'' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ``If you're in this tournament long enough, you're going to go down. There's 260 or 270 teams that don't get into this thing. It's not our birthright each year.''.''

On an otherwise blowout-filled first day, which saw only two games decided by less than nine points, VCU beat Duke 79-77 _ the same score that Xavier edged Brigham Young _ to end the Blue Devils' consecutive run of round of 16 appearances at nine.

Eric Maynor hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds left to give Virginia Commonwealth the upset victory Thursday night. Maynor finished with 22 points, six in the final 1:24.

``It felt like it was good,'' said Maynor. ``And for it to go in, I said to myself, `Man, I just hit the game-winner on Duke University.'''

Fittingly, it was VCU (28-6) that knocked off George Mason _ the tournament's surprise team last year _ in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game. Maynor sealed that 65-59 win by scoring nine of his 20 points in the final 2 minutes.

Greg Paulus scored a career-high 25 points for Duke, seeded sixth in the West Regional. Josh McRoberts added a career-high 22 points and had 12 rebounds.

Jesse Pellot-Rosa's 16-foot jumper gave VCU a 72-71 lead with 2:03 remaining. The Blue Devils (22-11) tied it three times, the last at 77 when DeMarcus Nelson went the length of the court to hit a layup with 10.3 seconds left.

Maynor took the ensuing inbounds pass, moved across center court, pulled up near the foul line and hit a perfect jumper.

Then Paulus' wild attempt from midcourt hit wide of the basket and off the backboard.

VCU will face Pittsburgh in the second round. The winner moves on to San Jose.

WEST REGIONAL

Pittsburgh 79, Wright State 58

At Buffalo, the Panthers, ousted in the first round seven times in 18 previous appearances, used their long-range marksmanship instead of their considerable brawn, hitting 10 of 21 3-pointers, and beat Wright State (23-10).

Ronald Ramon hit four 3s and finished with 14 points, and Sam Young had 13 to lead the Panthers (28-7), who never trailed.

UCLA 70, Weber St. 42

At Sacramento, Calif., shaking off a terrible performance in last week's Pac-10 tournament, UCLA's Arron Afflalo had 22 points and eight rebounds against Weber State (20-12).

Darren Collison had 14 points and eight assists while playing on a sprained ankle for the second-seeded Bruins (27-5).

UCLA will face Indiana in the second round.

Indiana 70, Gonzaga 57

At Sacramento, Roderick Wilmont scored 22 points and hit six of his team's nine 3-pointers, and the Hoosiers avenged a loss to Gonzaga last March.

Wilmont shot 8-for-16 and added seven rebounds, three assists and a steal to extend his senior season for seventh-seeded Indiana (21-10), which was eliminated by the Zags 90-80 in a second-round meeting a year ago.

David Pendergraft had 12 points for 10th-seeded Gonzaga (23-11).

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MIDWEST REGIONAL

Maryland 82, Davidson 70

At Buffalo, Mike Jones scored 17 points, D.J. Strawberry added 12 and Maryland overcame Stephen Curry's 30 points for Davidson.

Maryland (25-8) shook off an eight-point second-half deficit and outscored the Wildcats (29-5) 24-11 over the final 10 minutes to advance to the second round for the 20th time in school history.

The Terps will face No. 5 seed Butler on Saturday, with the winner advancing to St. Louis.

Butler 57, Old Dominion 46

At Buffalo, when Butler needed a spark, Pete Campbell delivered. Campbell hit three 3-pointers to spark a 17-0 run and help the fifth-seeded Bulldogs (28-6) get the win in the first round.

Brandon Johnson scored 11 points for Old Dominion (24-9), which had won 12 of 13 games.

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SOUTH REGIONAL

Ohio State 78, Cent. Connecticut 57

At Lexington, Ky., Greg Oden had 19 points and 10 rebounds in his first NCAA tournament game, and Jamar Butler scored 17 for top-seeded Ohio State.

Oden earned his 12th double-double of the season. Ron Lewis added 13 as the Buckeyes (31-3) quickly dispatched the game but ultimately overmatched the Blue Devils (22-12).

Ohio State will play Xavier in the second round, the winner moving on to San Antonio.

Xavier 79, Brigham Young 77

At Lexington, Drew Lavender, a 5-foot-7 transfer from Oklahoma, made two floaters in the lane, then grabbed a crucial rebound and sank two free throws with 11 seconds left to help the ninth-seeded Musketeers beat eighth-seeded Brigham Young.

Justin Doellman scored 23 points and Lavender finished with 17 for Xavier (25-8).

Xavier trailed by as many as nine before Lavender, Doellman and B.J. Raymond hit 3-pointers during a 16-3 run that turned a 52-44 deficit into a 60-55 lead. BYU (25-9) battled back to take a 73-71 lead with 2:10 to go, but couldn't stop Lavender down the stretch.

Louisville 78, Stanford 58

At Lexington, playing in Rupp Arena _ home to archrival Kentucky _ Louisville got 16 points from both Edgar Sosa and David Padgett. Sixth-seeded Louisville bolted to a 41-13 lead in front of a highly partisan crowd.

Earl Clark and Derrick Caracter each had 12 points for Louisville (24-9), which was playing less than 80 miles from its campus.

Brook Lopez led 11th-seeded Stanford (18-13) with 18 points.

The Cardinals will meet Texas A&M in the second round.

Texas A&M 68, Penn 52

At Lexington, Acie Law scored 20 points and the third-seeded Aggies got two key dunks from Joseph Jones and a game-clinching 3-pointer from Dominique Kirk to advance.

Jones tied the game at 39 with a thundering dunk at the 11-minute mark, then added another dunk less than a minute later to give Texas A&M (26-6) the lead for good.

Penn opened the second half with a 21-6 run. Ibrahim Jaaber had a three-point play to tie the game at 37, then made a short jumper to give Penn its first and only lead.

Mark Zoller had 19 points for the Quakers (22-9).

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EAST REGIONAL

Georgetown 80, Belmont 55

At Winston-Salem, N.C., Jessie Sapp scored a career-high 20 points and Jeff Green added 15 to help second-seeded Georgetown.

Sapp made a career-high four 3-pointers for the Hoyas (27-6), who will renew a one-time Big East rivalry Saturday when they face seventh-seeded Boston College.

Andrew Preston had 14 points for Belmont (23-10), with the winner advancing to East Rutherford, N.J.

Boston College 84, Texas Tech 75

At Winston-Salem, Sean Marshall scored 21 points and Boston College rallied to knock Bob Knight and Texas Tech out of the NCAA tournament.

Marshall had 15 points in the second half. Tyrese Rice added 26 points for the seventh-seeded Eagles (21-11). Jared Dudley had 19 points, helping BC win its tournament opener for the fourth straight season.

Martin Zeno scored 21 points for the Red Raiders (21-13).

North Carolina 86, Eastern Kentucky 65

At Winston-Salem, North Carolina spent the early minutes of its NCAA tournament opener looking like a top seed determined to beat down an overmatched opponent. The Tar Heels then needed almost the entire rest of the game to do it.

Tyler Hansbrough had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels (29-6) past Eastern Kentucky (16-12), giving coach Roy Williams an NCAA-record 18 straight years with at least one tournament victory.

Michigan State 61, Marquette 49

At Winston-Salem, Raymar Morgan scored eight of his 14 points during a dominating first half, and Michigan State's suffocating defense was too much for Marquette.

Drew Neitzel and Marquise Gray added 12 points apiece for the ninth-seeded Spartans (23-11), who shot nearly 54 percent and never trailed in advancing to face North Carolina.

Dominic James scored 18 points for Marquette (24-10).

Washington State 70, Oral Roberts 54

At Sacramento, Kyle Weaver stole an inbounds pass beneath his own basket and dunked to barely beat the halftime buzzer _ and what a momentum swing it gave Washington State.

Reserve Ivory Clark scored 19 points and Weaver had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists as third-seeded Washington State (26-7) won its first NCAA game in 24 years. The Cougars will play Vanderbilt in the second round.

Ken Tutt scored 10 of his 19 points in the first half for Oral Roberts (23-11).

Vanderbilt 77, George Washington 44

At Sacramento, Shan Foster scored 18 points and led Vanderbilt's impressive defensive effort.

George Washington (23-9) missed its first six shots and didn't get a field goal for nearly 6 1/2 minutes. The 11th-seeded Colonials then endured another 11 1/2-minute stretch without a basket, falling behind by 29 late in the first half.

Derrick Byars scored 12 points for the Commodores (21-11).