Upsets Galore In Conference Tournaments
Friday, March 9th 2007, 6:59 am
News On 6
In Los Angeles, fourth-ranked UCLA was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament by California. Ayinde Ubaka scored eight of his career-high 29 points in overtime for the Golden Bears, who are a mere 16-16 after springing the surprise.
Across the country in St. Petersburg, Fla., all four of the higher seeds fell in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference event. Most notable was No. 21 Duke, which rarely even plays on the first day of the ACC tourney, losing to North Carolina State 85-80 in overtime.
Other first-round losers in the ACC were No. 17 Maryland, 67-62 to Miami; Clemson, 67-66 to Florida State; and Georgia Tech, 114-112 to Wake Forest in double OT.
Another of the elite that couldn't escape an upset was Tennessee. The Volunteers were beaten by LSU 76-67 in overtime in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers, who made the Final Four last year but need to win the SEC to make the tourney this season, were joined in the quarterfinals by Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia.
Some ranked teams had more success, although several were pushed to the limit.
No. 12 Louisville needed two overtimes to beat West Virginia 82-71 in the Big East, where No. 20 Notre Dame was tested by Syracuse before winning 89-83. Georgetown, ranked ninth, took Villanova 62-57, and No. 13 Pittsburgh took out No. 18 Marquette 89-79.
Advancing in the Pac-10 were No. 11 Washington State, 74-64 over Washington; No. 16 Oregon, which romped over Arizona 69-50; and Southern Cal, which needed overtime to knock out Stanford 83-79.
Fifth-ranked Memphis had no problem in Conference USA, with a quarterfinals victory over Marshall 92-71. Rice, Houston and Tulane also moved into the semifinals.
Nevada, ranked 10th, routed Idaho 88-56 and advanced in the Western Athletic tourney, along with Utah State, Boise State and New Mexico State.
In the Mountain West, No. 23 BYU and No. 25 Nevada-Las Vegas moved on, along with Wyoming and Colorado State.
UCLA's second straight loss dealt a serious blow to its hopes of being a No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA tournament.
``I don't even care,'' UCLA coach Ben Howland said. ``If we don't play better than we're playing right now, anyone in the field of 64 teams will beat us.''
Ryan Anderson added 18 points for the eighth-seeded Golden Bears (16-16), who blew a 16-point first-half lead but survived to advance to a semifinal Friday night against Oregon.
Darren Collison had 20 points for the top-seeded Bruins (26-5), who lost their regular-season finale at Washington. UCLA's Arron Afflalo, the Pac-10's player of the year, had his worst offensive performance of the season with three points, ending a streak of 29 games in double figures.
``It's hard to swallow, that's for sure,'' Afflalo said. ``It's going to be a long week. The way I played tonight was a majority of the reason why we lost.''
Taylor Rochestie scored 20 points, including 11 over the final 6 1/2 minutes, and Washington State's 25th win was the second most in school history, matching the 1916-17 team.
TaJuan Porter and Aaron Brooks burned Arizona by combining for nine 3-pointers to help Oregon. Porter shot 8-of-12 _ including 5-of-6 from 3-point range _ for 21 points. Brooks, the Ducks' leading scorer, had all 16 of his points in the first 13 minutes to help put Oregon ahead for good. He shot 6-of-13, including 4-of-8 from outside the arc.
N.C. State freshman Brandon Costner scored a career-high 30 points and Engin Atsur had all 21 of his points after halftime, helping the 10th-seeded Wolfpack defeat defending tourney champion Duke. The Blue Devils (22-10) had won seven of the previous eight ACC tournament titles, including the past two.
North Carolina State (16-14) avenged a 23-point regular-season loss to Duke and beat its nearby rival for just the third time in the past 23 meetings.
For 12th-seeded Miami, Jack McClinton scored 17 points, and Dwayne Collins had 12 points and 12 boards. The Hurricanes (12-19) nearly squandered a 15-point lead in the second half against the fifth-seeded Terrapins (24-7).
Returning to Atlanta, the site of its victorious 2006 NCAA tournament regional, LSU (17-14) rode Glen ``Big Baby'' Davis past Tennessee. Davis had 25 points and 15 rebounds. He scored seven points in overtime, including a three-point play with 1:55 left that gave the Tigers a 71-67 lead.
Tennessee (22-10) is 7-16 in the SEC event since 1991, and has not advanced past the second round.
At New York, Roy Hibbert scored eight of his 14 points in Georgetown's opening 26-2 run against ninth-seeded Villanova. Jeff Green added 12 points and nine rebounds for the top-seeded Hoyas (24-6), who advanced to play Notre Dame.
Curtis Sumpter scored 18 points for Villanova (22-10), which had its four-game winning streak end.
Russell Carter scored 24 points for Notre Dame (24-6), ending the Orange's bid for a third straight championship. Colin Falls scored 23 points, including seven 3-pointers.
Paul Harris finished with a career-high 24 points and 15 rebounds for Syracuse (22-10), which had won the last two Big East championships and eight straight tournament games _ one short of Connecticut's record of nine set from 1998-2000.
For Louisville, Terrence Williams scored 21 points and Earl Clark added 17. The Cardinals (23-8) blew a 17-point lead in the second half before outlasting the Mountaineers (22-9).
Edgar Sosa drove the length of the court through most of the West Virginia team and made a left-handed layup at the buzzer to force overtime for the Cardinals.
Aaron Gray scored 22 points for Pitt (26-6), which lost both regular-season meetings to Marquette, including a 75-71 defeat on Saturday that spoiled the Panthers' chances of getting a share of the conference title.
Pitt is the No. 3 seed in the tournament and has played in five of the last six tournament title games. It will play Louisville in the semifinals.
Dan Fitzgerald matched his career high with 20 points to lead Marquette (24-9).
At Memphis, Tenn., Doneal Mack and Jeremy Hunt scored 19 points apiece to lead Memphis. Joey Dorsey had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers (28-3), who recorded their 20th straight victory, the longest streak winning streak in the nation.
Marcelus Kemp scored 14 points and Nevada gave its starters plenty of rest in the win over Idaho. Nick Fazekas, who came into the tournament averaging 21 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolf Pack (28-3).
At Las Vegas, Trent Plaisted scored 22 points and BYU cruised past TCU 77-64 The top-seeded Cougars (24-7) also got nine boards from Plaisted and 16 points from Mike Rose.
Kevin Kruger, a fifth-year senior who transferred from Arizona State to play for his father, UNLV coach Lon Kruger, scored 21 points as the Runnin' Rebels beat Utah 80-54.
The Rebels (26-6) are ranked this week for the first time since the final week of the 1992-93 season.