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We’ve reached the 2nd half of the BOTL bracket. Minnesota and West Virginia knocked off their respective #1 seeds in their regional finals, can Butler knock off Illinois? Will they both fail? Will this region be even worse than the Midwest? Find out after the jump.
#1 Illinois vs. #8 Radford
Yet another low scoring game involving the Big Ten. This time around though Radford posed a threat to the Illini. With just over 6:00 to go the game was tied at 46-46. Could Radford win it? That dream died a slow death when Mike Tisdale scored on a floater to give his team the lead for good. The rest of the game the Highlanders put up just 5 points and a close game turned into a blowout.
#4 Temple vs. #5 Akron
The Zips really made this game hard for themselves. They could’ve breezed by Temple when they took a 36-22 lead into the half and increased that to 16 early in the 2nd half. Those mighty Owls would not back down though. That 16 point lead became 7, then 5, then with 2:15 to go, Lavoy Allen tied the game at 53-53. It’s time to unleash Gus Johnson for the finish.
“Chris McKnight on the jumper! GOT IT! Akron leads 55-53 with 1:17 left. Back comes Temple, Dionte Christmas from 17 feet! NO! Rebound Lavoy Allen! He’s come up huge in these late stages! They give it to Ryan Brooks who can tie it! NO GOOD!! HE GETS HIS OWN REBOUND WITH :43 LEFT!! Time ticking, CHRISTMAS AGAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!!! AGAIN THEY MISS!!! THREE CHANCES AND THREE MISSES AND TEMPLE IS FORCED TO FOUL NATE LINHART WITH :23 TO GO!!”
Free throws salted away the game for Akron, who held on for the close 62-56 win over the Temple Owls and will play Illinois in round 2.
#2 Clemson vs. #7 Morgan State
Oliver Purnell was unable to underachieve in this one. Morgan State had 3 players score 10 points. That was the highest point total for anyone on the team. The Golden Bears made just 18 field goals and after playing Clemson tough (35-31 at halftime), they were sent packing in a 72-52 drubbing.
#3 Butler vs. #6 Stephen F. Austin
The Bulldogs took a 12 point lead at the break and gave us yet another blowout. This time it’s Butler 77 SFA 59. Butler’s Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward combined to score 42 of the 77 points and put on a dazzling display as they move on to face Clemson.
#1 Illinois vs. #5 Akron
Yet another blowout. Illinois was up 42-16 at halftime and eased up to win it 81-63. Mike Davis led all scorers with 26 points on 11-17 shooting. At one point Akron was held scoreless for over 6 minutes and only led 2-0 before the blowout.
#2 Clemson vs. #3 Butler
I’m going to give you the box score for this game, because it was a classic. I’m skipping towards the end of regulation (oops that gave it away) with Clemson down 68-66 with :20 left.
“Terrence Oglesby gets ito RAYMOND SYKES!!!!!!!! A ONE HAND SLAM AS HE GOES HARD TO THE BASKET AND THE GAME IS TIED!!”
“Willie Veasley to WIN IT!!!!!!!!!! NO!!! REBOUND TREVOR BOOKER AND TIMEOUT IS CALLED WITH :01 LEFT!”
“Andre YOUNG FOR THE WIN BUT IT IS REJECTED BY GARRETT BUTCHER!! OT!”
The game tied at 68-68, it looked like Butler’s morale would be shattered after giving up their 2 point lead then failing to win it late. They would be resilient however and keep it close. A game that had been even all night was now tied at 79-79 with seconds to go. Back to our announcer.
“BOOKER DRIVES TO THE BUCKET!!! IT’S GOOD!!!! CLEMSON LEADS WITH 2 SECONDS LEFT!!! LAST CHANCE FOR BUTLER!!! MATT HOWARD PUTS THE SHOT UP!!!!!!!! IT IS OVER!!!! CLEMSON WINS IT 81-79 OVER BUTLER IN OVERTIME!!!“
#1 Illinois vs. #2 Clemson
Illinois played really well for 20:23 of the game? The other 19:37? Not so much. Once up 36-32 at the half, Illinois turned into the typical Big Ten team by not scoring a lot. Clemson moves on with a 68-53 win. Coach Lou Gossett Jr., the monkey is off of your back! At long last you’re in the Final Four of something. It also helped that Illinois turned it over 17 times compared to just 11 for the Tigers. What was really appalling was the lack of bench support. Just 4 points for Illinois while Clemson had 26!
CLEMSON TIGERS – SOUTH REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
One more region to go! Clemson will play Minnesota as the first Final Four matchup has been confirmed. Who will face Midwest region champs West Virginia out of the West?
This was another region lacking excitement, but it did produce twice the number of nailbiting finishes than the Midwest did.
Up Next: West Region