East at Greensboro, N.C.

No. 12 seed Utah State earns upset of No. 5-seeded Ohio St.

Aggies pull shocker in overtime, 77-68

UCLA tops Hofstra, 61-48

Duke pounds Monmouth

Missouri defeats Georgia

NCAA Tournament

March 16, 2001|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Those who watched Utah State this season felt the Aggies were a bit underrated for this year's NCAA tournament. And those who followed Ohio State believed the Buckeyes might have been seeded too high.

Both schools of thought proved correct when 12th-seeded Utah State upset fifth-seeded Ohio State, 77-68, in overtime yesterday in the opening round of the East Regional at the Greensboro Coliseum.

"This win is awesome for us," said junior guard Tony Brown, whose jumper in the lane with 1.8 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. "It's something to add to our accomplishments."

The Aggies had been waiting a long time to add another NCAA tournament victory - 31 years to be exact. But they overcame a 29-24 halftime deficit and a 60-56 deficit with a little more than a minute left in regulation. Junior guard Brian Brown missed a 28-footer at the regulation buzzer for the Buckeyes.

Utah State (28-5) dominated the overtime period, taking the lead for good on a three-point play by senior guard Curtis Bobb with left 3:23 and taking control after senior forward Shawn Daniels intercepted a pass and fed Bobb for a breakaway dunk.

"I mentioned yesterday that our school has been to the tournament 14 times and hadn't won a tournament game in 30 years, so it is nice to get that over with," said Utah State coach Stew Morrill. "We hung in there after not playing particularly well in the first half. We got them out of their rhythm in the second half and got a great win."

Senior point guard Bernard Rock told his teammates at halftime that he would play better than he did in the first half - and so would they.

"I told the guys at halftime that we could play with these guys and that we could beat these guys," said Rock, who scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half.

The victory sent the Aggies into a second-round game tomorrow against UCLA. It also made up for the disappointment of last year's five-point loss to Connecticut in the opening round, especially for Rock.

"Last year, I felt I had disappointed my teammates and coaching staff," said Rock. "I didn't play like I normally play. It was my goal that if we got back in the tournament, I knew I was going to play better. This is a real special moment for me."

Utah State shut down Ohio State (20-11) in the second half by going to a zone defense, limiting the shots of senior center Ken Johnson. After hitting 4 of 6 shots in the first half, Johnson took only one shot the rest of the game. He finished with 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

UCLA 61, Hofstra 48: In the second game yesterday afternoon, the Bruins shut down the hot-shooting Pride in the second half and overcame a six-point deficit with 13 minutes to play.

Trailing 43-37, UCLA (22-8) went a 16-3 run by getting the ball inside to center Dan Gadzurik and on the wing to shooting guard Billy Knight.

Knight led the Bruins with 17 points, while Gadzurik finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Senior point guard Earl Watson scored 15 points and had seven assists and five turnovers.

"Our hats are off to Hofstra," said Bruins coach Steve Lavin, whose team trailed at halftime (33-29) for the third straight game. "They had a good game plan, they were well-prepared, and they executed it to perfection for 30-plus minutes. We were fortunate to find a way to win."

After sharing equally in 22 points for Hofstra on 6 of 12 threes in the first half, Rick Apodaca had only five points and Jason Hernandez didn't score in the second half. The Pride missed nine of its last 11 three-point shots (9-for-25 for the game).

The defeat broke an 18-game winning streak - the longest in Division I - for Hofstra (26-5).

Duke 95, Monmouth 52: Jason Williams showed early that his sprained left ankle wasn't bothering him, and the top-seeded Blue Devils didn't give their overmatched opponent a chance to dream. Duke hit its first four shots - including a pair of threes by Williams and one by Mike Dunleavy to score the game's first 11 points in 86 seconds.

Duke jumped out to a 16-1 lead and, after the 16th-seeded Hawks cut their deficit to 19-10, the Blue Devils scored seven straight points in a 12-2 run. Duke lead at halftime, 62-29, and led by as many as 52 points before Mike Krzyzewski took out even his reserves and finished the game with freshmen and walk-ons.

Williams, who scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, left the game with 14:24 remaining after making an acrobatic drive to the basket and coming down on his left foot. He grabbed the front of shoe and gave himself a brief moment of trepidation.

"It scared me more than anything, especially seeing a 260-pound guy [teammate Matt Christiensen] land on it," said Williams.

Krzyzewski later bristled a bit when it was suggested he kept his starters in too long.

In truth, most of the Duke starters played their season-low in minutes.

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