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College men: Butler knocks out No. 1 Pitt in wild game

UCLA's Reeves Nelson, left, loses control of the ball as Florida's Alex Tyus defends during the second half of the Gators' 73-65 win over the Bruins on Saturday. AP photo

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March 19, 2011 | Leave Comment

WASHINGTON — Matt Howard made one free throw with 0.8 seconds left to cap a wild final sequence, and Butler added another amazing victory to its list of NCAA tournament upsets, eliminating top-seeded Pittsburgh 71-70 Saturday.

Each team had a chance to win it from the foul line in the last 2 seconds. After Butler’s Shelvin Mack inexplicably fouled Gilbert Brown near midcourt with 1.4 seconds left, Brown made the first try to tie it.

He missed the second, and Howard was fouled by Nasir Robinson while grabbing the rebound. Howard made the first shot, then intentionally banged the second attempt off the rim.

Brown finished with 24 points, but he will forever remember the missed free throw.

Mack scored 30 for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (25-9), who used a string of upsets to reach the championship game last year. Butler has won 11 straight overall and is 7-1 in its last eight NCAA tournament games.

Pittsburgh (28-6), the Big East regular-season champion, trailed by 12 in the first half and blew a five-point lead in the second.

Wisconsin 70, Kansas State 65: At Tucson, Ariz., Jordan Taylor hit two big free throws and blocked Jacob Pullen’s 3-point attempt in the closing seconds, lifting fourth-seeded Wisconsin over No. 5 Kansas State.

Taylor shot just 2-of-16 but came up with the biggest play of the game, swatting Pullen’s tying attempt with Wisconsin (25-8) up three. Josh Gasser then hit two free throws to seal it, sending the Badgers into the round of 16 for the fourth time since 2000.

Jon Leuer led Wisconsin with 19 points. Taylor had 12 points, six assists, no turnovers and one big block.

Wisconsin moves on to face upset specialist Butler in the Southeast regional semifinals Thursday in New Orleans.

Pullen matched a career high with 38 points to break Mike Evans’ school career scoring mark (2,115 points). Curtis Kelly (11 points) was the only other player to score in double figures for Kansas State (23-11).

San Diego State 71, Temple 64: At Tucson, Ariz., Billy White had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard sealed San Diego State’s exhausting victory with a steal and a slam dunk.

White sank the go-ahead jumper and Leonard made two free throws as the second-seeded Aztecs (34-2) used one last burst of their magnificent athleticism to finally put away the pesky seed Owls (26-7).

Ramone Moore scored 17 for No. 7 seed Temple.

Connecticut 69, Cincinnati 58: At Washington, Kemba Walker scored 33 points and the Big East finally advanced a team to the round of 16 when Connecticut beat conference foe Cincinnati.

Walker scored 16 points over the final 10 minutes as UConn ended the game with a 24-13 run. The Huskies (28-9), the No. 3 seed in the West regional, advance to play San Diego State in Anaheim on Thursday.

Rashad Bishop scored 22 points for the sixth-seeded Bearcats (26-9).

Cincinnati become the seventh of the Big East’s record 11 NCAA tournament teams to be eliminated. The game marked the first time in NCAA history two teams from the same conference have met this early in the tournament.

Richmond 65, Morehead State 48: At Denver, Justin Harper scored 19 points and Kevin Anderson added 14, helping 12th-seeded Richmond advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 1988.

Richmond (29-7) shut down 13th-seeded Morehead State big man and NBA prospect Kenneth Faried — at least as much as anyone can these days.

Faried, the all-time Division I rebounder in the modern era, was held to 11 points and 13 rebounds as the Eagles (25-10), the darlings of the tournament after knocking off Louisville, were sent home.

BYU 89, Gonzaga 67: At Denver, Jimmer Fredette made seven 3-pointers and scored 34 points to help No. 3 seed Brigham Young defeat No. 11 Gonzaga and move to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 30 years.

The nation’s leading scorer had trouble getting his shots in the first half. But he opened the second by hitting a 3 from five feet beyond the arc as part of an 11-2 run that broke the game open.

The Cougars (32-4) will head to New Orleans to play Florida in the Southeast regional semifinals Thursday. This is BYU’s deepest run into the tournament since 1981, the year Danny Ainge went coast to coast for a last-second layup to beat Notre Dame in the round of 16.

Elias Harris and Steven Gray had 18 points for the Bulldogs (25-10).

Florida 73, UCLA 65: At Tampa, Fla., Florida little man Erving Walker came up big again, scoring 21 points and hitting several clutch shots down the stretch against UCLA.

Walker scored 10 of his team’s final 12 points, including four free throws in the final 33 seconds. His most significant basket was a 3-pointer with about a minute remaining. That shot gave the second-seeded Gators (28-7) a 69-65 lead and forced the No. 7 seed Bruins (23-11) into desperation mode.

Kenny Boynton added 12 points and five assists for the Gators. Alex Tyus had a season-high 13 rebounds.

Josh Smith and Reeves Nelson led UCLA with 16 points apiece.

Kentucky 71, West Virginia 63: At Tampa, Fla., freshman Brandon Knight scored a career-high 30 points and Josh Harrellson delivered eight of his 15 during a pivotal stretch of the second half, helping Kentucky beat West Virginia.

Two days after his only basket helped the fourth-seeded Wildcats survive their tourney opener against Princeton, Knight led an 11-0 run coming out of halftime and made six free throws in the final minute to close out fifth-seeded West Virginia.

Kentucky (27-8) advanced to the East regional semifinals in Newark, N.J., against either No. 1 seed Ohio State or eighth-seeded George Mason. It’s the second trip to the round of 16 in two seasons under coach John Calipari.

Joe Mazzulla scored 20 points to lead the Mountaineers (22-12), who reached the Final Four a year ago by beating Kentucky in a regional final.

The Associated Press

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