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Let’s go back down South where the #1 overall seeded Duke is looking to make the most of their 2nd chance after a humiliating loss to Lehigh.
#1 Duke vs. #8 Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers put up a more than respectable showing against heavily favored Duke. They matched basket for basket most of the way and only trailed 46-44 at halftime. Eventually, Duke’s 55% shooting from the floor was too much for WKU as the Blue Devils pulled away late. Duke 83 Western Kentucky 74
#4 Notre Dame vs. #5 UConn
In a stinker of a first half, UConn did not score in the opening SEVEN minutes of the ball game and didn’t convert a field goal until the 11 minute mark. The Fighting Irish led by as much as 10 but the Huskies mustered enough offense to pull within 26-23 at intermission. SCORCHER! It wouldn’t improve too much most of the 2nd half, in fact it was only 46-38 Notre Dame with under 4:00 to play, but the drama would rise. An 8-1 run cut it to 47-46, but Connecticut couldn’t quite get that vital lead yet. With 1:11 Pat Connoughton hit a big three to make it 52-48 Fighting Irish that looked to have settled the game….but Roscoe Smith drilled a short jumper with :44 left, Notre Dame didn’t respond with any points, and with seconds ticking away Ryan Boatright DRILLED a buzzer-beating three to give UConn a win they hardly looked like getting! UConn 53 Notre Dame 52
#2 Wichita State vs. #7 South Dakota State
The Shockers were on top early with an 11-1 run right from tip-off, but from then on it was all Jackrabbits for the big upset. South Dakota State committed just 5 (!!!) turnovers to Wichita State’s 15 and as a result had more shot opportunities, which they clearly took advantage of in this laugher. South Dakota State 89 Wichita State 69
#3 UNLV vs. #6 New Mexico State
In a “meh” game UNLV broke a halftime tie and cruised in the final 4 minutes of the 2nd stanza. Meh. UNLV 75 New Mexico State 67
#1 Duke vs. #5 UConn
In a very terrible game, Duke made just 16 field goals. As a matter of fact, none of their starting five made more than 3 FGs. And yet, they led 26-25 at halftime. Tyler Olander’s 10 points led UConn though….actually he was the ONLY player to reach double figures as the Huskies pull off the upset in a dull contest. UConn 58 Duke 47
#3 UNLV vs. #7 South Dakota State
Mike Moser’s 29 pts (9-12 FG, 5-6 3PT) led the Runnin’ Rebels’ rout of South Dakota State. UNLV made 11-16 from downtown and outrebounded the Jackrabbits by 10 and at 50-46 midway through the 2nd half, Dave Rice’s team went on a 16-6 run, including 4 three-pointers to put the game away. UNLV 79 South Dakota State 61
#3 UNLV vs. #5 UConn
For the 3rd consecutive game, Connecticut failed to score even 25 pts after 20 minutes. They faced an 11 point deficit at halftime, and came out of the break playing even worse. UNLV was up 47-24 with 15:32 left in the game and it looked to be all over. NOT SO FAST! Connecticut went on an extraordinary comeback trail and with 2:18 to play grabbed a stunning 65-64 lead. The miracle would dry up for Jim Calhoun’s team as UNLV responded with a 7-0 run over the next 2:03. UConn would not give up late, as Jeremy Lamb buried a 3 with just :04 on the clock. A quick foul on Brice Massamba with :03 saw Brice miss the front end of a one-and-one, giving UConn one last chance, but Jeremy Lamb’s prayer would NOT go in. UNLV advances to the BOTL Final Four for the first time ever despite nearly blowing a 23 point lead. UNLV 71 UConn 68
South Champion: UNLV
Next Region: West
That’s it for now. Next set of this tourney comes tomorrow!