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Badgers thwart late charge by Spartans

After draining a 3-pointer late in the game, Wisconsin's Alando Tucker can almost taste victory. After draining a 3-pointer late in the game, Wisconsin's Alando Tucker can almost taste victory. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)

Alando Tucker, held to three free throws in the opening half, made four 3-pointers in the second half last night and No. 3 Wisconsin beat Michigan State, 70-57, in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at Chicago.

Tucker, the league's player of the year, finished with 21 points -- his 39th straight game in double figures -- and the Badgers (28-4) advanced to today's semifinal against Illinois.

Wisconsin had a 15-point halftime lead before Michigan State (22-11) rallied to within 5 in the second half. But the Spartans could get no closer as Tucker responded with two 3-pointers.

In other Big Ten quarterfinal games, Greg Oden scored 22 points -- 15 in the second half -- and No. 1 Ohio State won its 15th straight game, beating Michigan, 72-62.

Carl Landry scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Purdue (21-10) strengthened its case for an NCAA berth by beating Iowa, 74-55.

Shaun Pruitt (18 points) and Warren Carter (17) provided the scoring Illinois (23-10) needed to beat Indiana, 58-54, in overtime.

SEC -- Jamont Gordon scored 26 points to help Mississippi State (18-12) beat Kentucky, 84-82, in overtime in the quarterfinals at Atlanta . . . Gary Ervin sank a jump shot with 11 seconds left to give Arkansas a 72-71 victory over Vanderbilt . . . . . . No. 6 Florida (27-5) scored the first 17 points of the game, built a 25-point lead before halftime and romped to a 74-57 victory over Georgia . . . Bam Doyne scored 26 points and Mississippi built a 20-point first-half lead over cold-shooting Louisiana State and beat the Tigers 80-60.

Big 12 -- Mario Boggan scored with 11.5 seconds left to give Oklahoma State (21-11) to a 57-56 victory over No. 7 Texas A&M in the quarterfinals at Oklahoma City . . . Brandon Rush scored 16 points and ignited Kansas (28-4) after an uninspired first half, lifting the second-ranked Jayhawks past Oklahoma, 64-47 . . . Lance Harris scored 20 points as Kansas State (22-10) polished its NCAA Tournament credentials with a 66-45 win over Texas Tech . . . Kevin Durant scored 29 points and No. 15 Texas rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat Baylor, 74-69.

Pacific-10 -- Taj Porter led a balanced offensive attack with 24 points and No. 16 Oregon (25-7) rolled to an 81-63 victory over California in the semifinals at Los Angeles.

Conference USA -- Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 17 points, and fifth-ranked Memphis (29-3) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 21 straight by beating Tulane, 71-49, in the semifinals at Memphis . . . Robert McKiver had 25 points and six rebounds as Houston toppled Rice, 77-62.

WAC -- Chaz Spicer hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds left to lift Utah State (23-10) past No. 10 Nevada, 79-77, in the semifinals at Las Cruces, N.M. Nevada (28-4) is assured of its fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid, but the loss could hurt the Wolf Pack's seeding . . . Elijah Ingram scored 25 points to power New Mexico State (24-8) past Boise State, 88-69.

Mountain West -- Trent Plaisted tied his career-high with 27 points to lead 23d-ranked Brigham Young to a 96-84 win over Wyoming in the semifinals at Las Vegas.

SWAC -- Trey Johnson scored 32 points and Julius Young had a key basket and blocked shot in Jackson State's 64-62 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the semifinals at Birmingham, Ala. . . . Stanford Speech had a game-high 18 points and six rebounds to lead Mississippi Valley State to a 54-50 victory over Texas Southern.

MAC -- Tim Pollitz scored 22 points as Miami of Ohio stunned top-seeded Toledo, 58-53, in the semifinals at Cleveland . . . Jeremiah Wood scored a season-high 19 points and Akron overpowered rival Kent State in the second half for a 61-54 win.

Southland -- Trey Gilder scored 19 points, including 12 in the second half, to lead Northwestern State (17-14) to a 78-65 win over Lamar in a semifinal game at Houston . . . Cedric Smith scored 16 points as top-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi beat McNeese State, 87-66.

MEAC -- Roy Bright scored 30 points as Delaware State (13-18) defeated Morgan State, 56-53, in overtime in the semifinals at Raleigh, N.C. . . . Leslie Robinson scored 25 points to lead Florida A&M past North Carolina A&T, 74-66.

Big West -- Sterling Byrd had 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks to lead Long Beach State to a 77-63 victory over UC Irvine in the semifinals at Anaheim, Calif.

NCAA Division 3 -- At Amherst, senior Brian Stanko sank a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining to lift Rhode Island College to a 75-73 victory over Little East rival Keene State in the national quarterfinals . . . Amherst routed Stephen's Tech, 97-74

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