Seton Hall KO's Arizona, 80-76

No. 8 seed faces Duke next

Devils rout Ala. State, 96-61

Texas, North Carolina win

Ncaa Regional

Atlanta

March 19, 2004|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. - The game plan was supposed to be for Seton Hall to slow things down and pound the ball inside against Arizona in its first-round game of the NCAA tournament last night at RBC Center.

It didn't work for most of the first 25 minutes, but the Pirates adjusted. They began to run with the Wildcats and shoot from the outside. Then, when Arizona finally tried to stop Seton Hall's shooters, the Pirates got the ball inside to Kelly Whitney.

The result was an 80-76 victory for No. 8 seed Seton Hall, and a trip to the second round tomorrow against top-seeded Duke.

Whitney led the Pirates with 24 points and 14 rebounds, but it was uncharacteristically hot outside shooting that brought Seton Hall back.

With a stretch of four three-point shots to cap a 24-5 run, Seton Hall turned a 14-point deficit into a 62-58 lead. The ninth-seeded Wildcats came back to tie but never led as the Pirates eventually pulled away.

It marked the first NCAA tournament victory in four years for Seton Hall (21-9) and the first ever as a coach for Louis Orr, the former Syracuse star. It also marked the first opening-round defeat for Arizona (20-10) since 1999.

Arizona showed flashes when its talent took over, and other periods when the Wildcats appeared to go brain dead. Unfortunately for their fans here and their coach, Lute Olson, these 'Cats ultimately showed their postseason lives were short.

"It just seems like a repeat of problems we've had all year long," Olson said.

Trailing 53-39 with a little under 15 minutes left, Seton Hall went on the kind of run that many teams have had against Arizona this season. The Wildcats played no defense, and seemed to have very little clue on how to stop the Pirates.

But they still had a chance when sophomore forward Andre Iguodala (19 points) hit a three-pointer to cut Arizona's deficit to 77-75 with 32.2 seconds to play. Andre Barrett (19 points, six assists) then made the front end of a one-and-one with 20.2 seconds left.

Iguodala nearly made an off-balance three, but the ball spun in and out. Hassan Adams got the rebound for the Wildcats, was fouled, but missed the front end of a two-shot foul before making the second to cut his team's deficit to 78-76.

Whitney sealed the win with two free throws with 5.7 seconds left.

"This team never gave up on each other," said Barrett. "We went into the locker room and said, `We're down but we have an opportunity to win this game.' "

Duke 96, Alabama State 61: The Hornets' rooting section raced down the steps of the RBC Center before the game, trying to razz the Blue Devils players as they warmed up.

But Duke barely blinked.

Except for the first four minutes, when Alabama State (16-15) showed some flair and fearlessness in matching Duke (28-5) point-for-point on the scoreboard, the game was typical of most between a No. 16 seed and a No. 1 seed.

Despite playing point guard Chris Duhon sparingly because of the bruised ribs he suffered in Sunday's overtime loss to Maryland in the ACC tournament championship game, and despite shooting guard J.J. Redick's shooting slump continuing for all but a brief burst to open the second half, Duke rolled to the second round.

Duhon started, but he played only 16 minutes and didn't score.

"I just wanted to go out there and get a feel for the pain level and see how much I can do," Duhon said.

Redick played more, but he didn't take a shot for the first 13 minutes and missed all four shots he took in the first half. Redick wound up with 14 points, all in the second half.

Malcolm Campbell scored 26 points to lead the Hornets.

Denver

Texas 66, Princeton 49: The Longhorns shook off a first-half slumber and then shot the Tigers back to New Jersey in the second, scoring a victory at the Pepsi Center.

Princeton, the No. 14 seed, held a 25-22 halftime lead but could not contain a more athletic Texas team and its star seniors, Brandon Mouton and Royal Ivey. Mouton scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, and Ivey scored 15.

Third-seeded Texas (24-7) was helped by making 11 of 15 three-point attempts, while Princeton (20-8) was just 5-for-26 from beyond the arc.

Texas will face North Carolina in tomorrow's second round.

North Carolina 63, Air Force 52: It had been 42 years since the Falcons last appeared in the NCAA tournament, but it seemed even longer for the Tar Heels - three years.

No. 6 seed North Carolina, under coach Roy Williams, rallied from a six-point second-half deficit to defeat 11th-seeded Air Force.

North Carolina (19-10) went on an 11-0 run to secure what had been a close game. Air Force finished 22-7.

The Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper, and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Regional highlights

Top performer: Brandon Mouton scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half of Texas' win over Princeton.

Big surprise: Duke's J.J. Redick, the team's best shooter, missed his first five shots and was held scoreless in the first half. He then scored 14 in the second half.

He said it: "I just wanted to go out there and get a feel for the pain level and see how much I can do." - Duke's Chris Duhon, who played with bruised ribs

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