March 23, 2018
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VCU wins 3rd NCAA game, routs Purdue 94-76

RICK GANOAP Sports Writer

CHICAGO — The question is no longer whether Virginia Commonwealth belongs. Instead, it’s: Who can stop the Rams?

Bradford Burgess scored 23 points and 11th-seeded VCU made it three victories in five days Sunday night, routing third-seeded Purdue 94-76 to earn a trip to the Southwest regional semifinals.

VCU’s remarkable run sends the Rams to the round of 16 for the first time in school history.

With their fans chanting “VCU, VCU” as the final seconds ticked off the clock, they’ve now ousted Southern Cal, Georgetown and Purdue since Wednesday night.

Jamie Skeen added 13 points in a balanced scoring attack as the Rams led by as many 20, shutting down the Boilermakers (26-8) and, for most of the night, quieting a large contingent of Purdue fans at the United Center.

Speedy floor leader Joey Rodriguez scored 12 points and had 11 assists, controlling the tempo.

VCU shot 57 percent and had 26 assists to just four turnovers.

Big Ten Player of the Year JaJuan Johnson scored 25 in his final game for the Boilermakers to go with 14 rebounds. But Purdue’s other star, E’Twaun Moore, struggled and managed just 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting

Ryne Smith had 20 points for Purdue, hitting 6-of-8 on 3-pointers.

Florida St. 71, Notre Dame 57
CHICAGO — Bernard James scored 14 points, Michael Snaer added 13 and Florida State showed there’s more to its game than defense with a 71-57 upset of second-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday night that put the Seminoles in the regional semifinals for the first time since 1993.

It was an impressive effort by the 10th-seeded Seminoles, who had four players in double figures and were 9 of 19 from 3-point range.

Florida State (23-10) now faces upstart Virginia Commonwealth in the Southwest regional semifinals Friday in San Antonio. The 11th-seeded Rams, maligned as not worthy of being in the 68-team field, stunned third-seeded Purdue earlier Sunday for their third win in five nights.

For Notre Dame, meanwhile, it was another disappointing showing in the NCAA tournament. Ben Hansbrough scored 18 on 5-of-13 shooting before fouling out with 3:19 left.

Arizona 70, Texas 69
TULSA, Okla. — Derrick Williams’ three-point play with 9.6 seconds remaining lifted Arizona to a 70-69 win over Texas in the third round of the NCAA tournament Sunday.

The fifth-seeded Wildcats (29-7) led by as many as 13 in the first half and were up for most of the game before J’Covan Brown’s jumper put the No. 4 seed Longhorns ahead 69-67. Williams misfired on a tying attempt with 14.5 seconds remaining, but Texas (28-8) was called for a five-second violation on the inbounds play to give Arizona one more chance.

Replays appeared to show the call came before the count reached five — as a Texas player tried to call timeout.

Williams took advantage, slipping to the baseline on a pick-and-roll and taking the pass from Kyle Fogg. His shot banked in to tie the game, and his free throw put the Wildcats into the regional semifinals in their return to the NCAA tournament. Last year’s absence snapped a 25-year streak.

Brown had one final chance for the Longhorns, driving the length of the court and into the lane. But he was met by a trio of Arizona defenders, including Williams, and his wild shot went high and missed. Time expired during the battle for the rebound.

Duke 73, Michigan 71
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nolan Smith scored 24 points and Duke held off a late rally to beat Michigan and give coach Mike Krzyzewski his 900th career victory.

Kyle Singler added 13 points for the Blue Devils (32-4), who shot 51 percent, never trailed in the second half and advanced to the round of 16 for the 12th time in 14 years.

The Wolverine3s had one last chance after Smith missed a free throw with 8.7 seconds left.

Morris’ runner in the lane with 2 seconds left bounced off the back iron and Smith grabbed the rebound at the buzzer, sealing Duke’s trip to Anaheim for the West regional semifinals.

Kyrie Irving and Ryan Kelly scored 11 points apiece for the defending national champions, who won their eighth straight game in the NCAA tournament.

Krzyzewski improved to 900-283 in his 36th season, and can catch his mentor and college coach, Bob Knight, for first on the career list next weekend.

Marquette 66, Syracuse 62
CLEVELAND — Darius Johnson-Odom’s 3-pointer with 27 seconds left snapped a tie and gave Marquette a win over Big East foe Syracuse that put the Golden Eagles into the round of 16 for the first time in eight years.

The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles (22-14) had the winning basket set up by one of Syracuse’s 18 turnovers. Marquette will play North Carolina in the East regional semifinals Friday in Newark, N.J.

The Golden Eagles are in the round of 16 for the first time since Dwyane Wade led them to the Final Four in 2003.

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