DALLAS -- Kansas last year, Arkansas this year. The Bucknell Bison sure are taking down some historic programs on their way to making a name for themselves.
The Patriot League champions moved to the second round of the NCAA Tournament yesterday for the second straight year, this time taking the unusual route of making more 3-pointers than 2-pointers in a 59-55 victory over the Razorbacks.
Charles Lee and Kevin Bettencourt combined for 42 points and nine of Bucknell's season-high 11 3s, many of them fired when the shot clock was nearly running out. The Bison (27-6) made only six shots inside the arc, going more than 15 minutes between them at one point.
''Wow," Lee said, marveling at the bizarre box score. ''We were just feeling it today."
Ninth-seeded Bucknell usually doesn't play that way. Then again, in their academic-oriented conference, the Bison usually don't face teams as big and quick as Arkansas (22-10).
''Hey, we held them to 37 percent shooting -- that's great defense," Razorbacks coach Stan Heath said. ''You can say we didn't defend the 3-pointer, but about four were with 1 second, 2 seconds, left on the shot clock, guys on them and they get it off, and it goes in."
Bucknell led for most of the game, but fizzled after going up by 10 midway through the second half. Lee hit the Bison's final 3-pointer with 3:42 left and they had to sweat it out from there.
The Razorbacks tied it at 55 on a pair of free throws with 1:15 left. Although Lee and Bettencourt missed three straight free throws with about a half-minute left, Arkansas failed to capitalize.
Ronnie Brewer, the SEC's leading scorer and son of the Hogs' 1978 tournament star Ron Brewer, missed a tying jumper with 15 seconds left. The rebound caromed off several bodies, then made its way to the shortest player on either team, 6-foot Abe Badmus of Bucknell. He was fouled with 7.9 seconds remaining.
Badmus, the starting point guard, was in his 34th minute but hadn't taken a shot -- ''Every time I got in the lane, the trees were all over me," he said.
He made both free throws, even with the Razorbacks breaking his rhythm by calling timeout after the first one.
''I wasn't really thinking about" the circumstances, he said. ''I just let my muscle memory take over."
After becoming the first Patriot League team to win an NCAA game last year, the Bison will try tomorrow to become the first to win in the second round. The Bison will play the Oakland Regional's top seed, Memphis.
Lee, the Patriot League player of the year, scored 24 points and was 4 for 7 on 3-pointers. Bettencourt was 5 for 10 and had 18 points, the other 3 points coming from the line after he was fouled attempting a 3-pointer.
Memphis 94, Oral Roberts 78 -- Conference USA player of the year Rodney Carney had 19 points and Andre Allen matched his season high with 11 -- all in a late first-half spurt that put Memphis ahead to stay -- as the top-seeded Tigers (31-3) rolled in the Oakland Regional.
Allen hit three 3-pointers in that quick burst after Oral Roberts (21-12) took a 33-29 lead. He had made 15 threes all season.
Darius Washington and Shawne Williams had 14 points each for Memphis. Two-time Mid-Continent player of the year Caleb Green (19 points) led five Golden Eagles in double figures.
N.C. State 58, California 52 -- A pair of memorable baskets by Cameron Bennerman, each breaking ties, helped propel the 10th-seeded
First, he made a tough 15-footer off the right side of the foul line, then faked a defender to get an open 3-pointer with 32.3 seconds left as North Carolina State (22-9) avenged a first-round tourney loss to the Golden Bears three years ago.
Bennerman led the way by scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second half. He had 7 during a 16-4 run that began with N.C. State down by 6.
Sensational sophomore Leon Powe (14 points, 12 rebounds) wasn't able to bail out Cal (20-11). Facing a double-team nearly every time he touched the ball, Powe made only 5 of 13 shots.
Texas 60, Penn 52 -- LaMarcus Aldridge (19 points, 10 rebounds) and P.J. Tucker (17 points, 12 boards) bailed out the second-seeded Longhorns (28-6) in an Atlanta Regional game.
The Quakers (20-9) led by 1 at the half and were only down a point with 5:53 left, but consecutive layups by Daniel Gibson helped Texas establish control.