Huskies race past Syracuse
UConn gets share of Big East crown
As the final seconds ticked off in Connecticut's record-setting ninth Big East regular-season championship yesterday, Jim Calhoun thought of his first with the Huskies.
"I recollected back to '89-90, our first Big East championship, and how special it was," the coach said after the 15th-ranked Huskies beat No. 13 Syracuse, 88-70, in Storrs, Conn., for a share of this year's title. Boston College beat Rutgers last night to share the title with the Huskies (21-6, 13-3). The Eagles, who beat UConn, 75-70, this season, earn the top seed in the Big East tournament.
"This team, coming back from Notre Dame after a real tough loss was 4-3 in the league. They went on to win nine straight games, six without our leading scorer [Rashad Anderson]. I have to say the two most satisfying championships clearly were that first one and this one."
The Huskies used some impressive second-half defense to beat the Orange (24-6, 11-5) and win for the ninth time in 10 games. The only loss in that stretch was a nonconference game against North Carolina. It is the third time in four seasons Connecticut has won at least a share of the title and it broke the tie with Syracuse for most in conference history.
The Huskies pulled away from a 37-37 halftime tie with a 7-2 run. A 9-2 run capped by a layup by Josh Boone gave Connecticut a 53-43 lead with 14:45 to play.
Hakim Warrick had 25 points for Syracuse, the third seed in the Big East tournament, but he was 0 for 6 from the field in the second half.
Texas 74, Oklahoma St. 73 -- Brad Buckman tied a career high with 27 points, and the Longhorns (20-9, 9-7 Big 12) upset the No. 8 Cowboys in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys' Terrence Crawford had a chance to tie it when Buckman fouled him on a desperation heave with 0.3 seconds left, but he missed the second of three foul shots.
The loss ended Oklahoma State's home winning streak -- the longest in the nation -- at 29. The Cowboys (20-6, 11-5) hadn't lost at home since Feb. 24, 2003, against Texas Tech.
Louisville 66, DePaul 62 -- Larry O'Bannon scored 24 points, including 10 in the final six minutes, as the No. 9 Cardinals clinched the outright Conference USA title by beating the Blue Demons in Rosemont, Ill. Louisville (26-4, 14-2), which has already clinched the top seed in the conference tournament, won for the 15th time in 16 games and finished 9-1 on the road. Sammy Mejia led DePaul (18-9, 10-6) with 21 points and Drake Diener pitched in 15.Stanford 77, Washington 67 -- Matt Haryasz had a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Cardinal shocked the No. 10 Huskies, dashing the visitors' hopes of their first Pacific-10 title in two decades. Washington (24-5, 14-4 Pac-10), which finished a game behind Arizona, hasn't won a league title since tying with Southern California in 1985.
Brandon Roy had 16 points and eight rebounds for Washington, which has lost 12 straight games to Stanford (17-11, 11-7) at Maples Pavilion.
Arizona 70, Arizona St. 68 -- In Tempe, Ariz., Salim Stoudamire hit a double-pump 14-footer with six-10ths of a second to play to give the 11th-ranked Wildcats the outright Pac-10 regular-season title. Arizona coach Lute Olson earned his 305th conference victory to break the Pac-10 record of 304 held by UCLA's John Wooden.
The Wildcats (25-5, 15-3) won their 11th conference title despite wasting leads of 18 and 15 points against the Sun Devils (18-12, 7-11).
Michigan St. 90, Penn St. 64 -- Alan Anderson scored 22 points and Chris Hill added 21 to lead the No. 14 Spartans over the visiting Nittany Lions. Kelvin Torbert and Maurice Ager each added 11 points for the Spartans (22-5, 13-3 Big Ten), who will have the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten tournament.
Utah 72, San Diego St. 60 -- Andrew Bogut recorded his 20th double-double of the season with 20 points and 15 rebounds in what was likely his final college home game, leading the No. 16 Utes (25-4, 13-1 Mountain West) past the Aztecs. Although he's just a sophomore, the 7-foot Australian is expected to make himself eligible for the NBA draft in June.
Pacific 64, UC Riverside 48 -- Guillaume Yango had 12 points and 14 rebounds to help the visiting No. 17 Tigers (25-2, 18-0) complete a perfect season in the Big West Conference and stretch their winning streak to 21 games. Pacific earned its second consecutive league title after sharing the honor with Utah State last season with a 17-1 mark.
South Florida 85, Charlotte 73 -- Terrence Leather scored 24 points and Brian Swift added 19 to lead the host Bulls to one of the biggest wins in school history, an upset of the No. 18 49ers (21-6, 12-3 Conference USA).
Villanova 70, St. John's 68 -- Allan Ray scored 22 points and the 19th-ranked Wildcats (21-6, 11-5 Big East) jumped out to a big lead early in the second half before holding off the stubborn Red Storm in New York for their seventh straight win.
Oklahoma 74, Texas Tech 54 -- Kevin Bookout scored 15 points and the No. 20 Sooners (23-6, 12-4 Big 12) handed the host Red Raiders (18-9, 10-6) their worst loss at home since coach Bob Knight arrived in 2001.
Alabama 68, Mississippi St. 63 -- In Starkville, Miss., Kennedy Winston had 21 points and the No. 21 Crimson Tide (23-6, 12-4) clinched the SEC West title, their first division crown since 2002.
Cincinnati 62, Memphis 60 -- Forward James White hit an 8-footer with 16.2 seconds to play, lifting the No. 22 Bearcats (24-6, 12-4 Conference USA) past the host Tigers (16-14, 9-7) for their sixth straight win.
Wisconsin 64, Purdue 52 -- The No. 23 Badgers (20-7, 11-5 Big Ten) spoiled the last regular-season stop on coach Gene Keady's frustrating farewell season, ensuring the first 20-loss season for the Boilermakers (7-20, 3-13) in the program's 107-year history.
Pittsburgh 85, Notre Dame 77 -- Chris Taft had a career-high 26 points and the 24th-ranked Panthers (20-7, 10-6 Big East) scored 56 points in the paint to beat the host Irish (17-9, 9-7).
Nevada 73, San Jose St. 69 -- In San Jose, Calif., Nick Fazekas had 28 points and the No. 25 Wolf Pack (24-5, 16-2 Western Athletic Conference) rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit for their 10th straight victory.. . .
Central Florida, Winthrop, Eastern Kentucky, and Chattanooga clinched berths in the NCAA Tournament by winning their conference tournaments. In Nashville, Gary Johnson scored 19 points to help UCF (24-8) clinch its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth overall by beating Gardner-Webb, 63-54, in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament final.
Torrell Martin had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Winthrop (27-5) is on its way back to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence thanks to a 68-46 win over Charleston Southern in the Big South Conference title game in Rock Hill, S.C.
In the final of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in Nashville, Zach Ingles scored 15 points, and Eastern Kentucky (22-8) downed Austin Peay, 52-46, to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1979.
In Chattanooga, Tenn., the Mocs (20-10) won the Southern Conference tournament by beating UNC Greensboro, 66-62, for their ninth title overall and first since 1997 in their first season under coach Jeff Shulman.