Duke staves off Texas' rally

east regional

Henderson's late free throws help Blue Devils advance to Sweet 16

Villanova in control in win over UCLA

ncaa tournament

March 22, 2009|By From Sun news services

Jon Scheyer was falling out of bounds when he made a heady play to keep one loose ball alive. David McClure tipped another one to a teammate to deny Texas a last chance.

Because Duke is doing all the little things right, some of the biggest things remain very real possibilities.

The second-seeded Blue Devils made every clutch play in their 74-69 victory over the seventh-seed Longhorns last night in the East Regional in Greensboro, N.C., propelling them into the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.

"Kind of a theme of our team is the role-playing guys. ... They've done a great job over the last couple of weeks of making the [difficult] plays," forward Kyle Singler said. "Just the little things that might go unnoticed. And those are the types of plays that they make."

Gerald Henderson scored 24 points and hit three free throws in the final minute, Singler added 17 points before fouling out late, and Scheyer added 13 for the Blue Devils (30-6). The Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champs and winners of five straight will face third seed Villanova on Thursday night in Boston.

"These last two weekends have been so gratifying to me, because it's a culmination of a lot of work and commitment," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I've been a part of a bunch of championships - ACC, Final Fours, national championships. But to do it with this group feels great."

A.J. Abrams scored 17 points on 5-for-13 shooting for the Longhorns (23-12), who rallied from a late 10-point deficit to tie it twice in the final two minutes - the last time when Gary Johnson's free throw with 1:07 remaining made it 69-all.

"We told our guys we would stick around ... and actually told them at four minutes we were right where we needed to be," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "At no point in time did our guys really flinch and think they couldn't get back in the game."

Nolan Smith hit two free throws with 47 seconds left to put Duke ahead 71-69, and the Longhorns missed two chances in the final 40 seconds to tie it.

Damion James' three-pointer over Henderson circled the rim and popped out. After Henderson added a free throw with 30.8 seconds left, Abrams missed a runner and James couldn't convert the follow-up.

Then, as the rebound squirted toward the Texas bench, Scheyer went all-out to chase it down and hurl it down the floor to Elliot Williams.

"Those are plays that you think of Magic Johnson making," Krzyzewski said before turning to Scheyer and adding, "You never thought I'd compare you to Magic Johnson, right?"

Henderson hit two foul shots with 7.2 seconds remaining to seal it.

Villanova 89, UCLA 69:: Rollie Massimino sat on the edge of his seat, rooting on his former team from behind the bench. By the end, he was leaning back in his chair and soaking it in.

No need to sweat this one out, Coach. The Wildcats had it all the way.

Dante Cunningham scored 18 points, helping Villanova reach the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years with a victory in Philadelphia that ended UCLA's bid for a fourth straight Final Four appearance.

"That was a fun game to be a part of," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We have so much respect for the UCLA tradition. They are tough. To get to three straight Final Fours is amazing. You get fired up to play a team like that."

Corey Fisher and Reggie Redding each had 13 points for the third-seeded Wildcats (28-7).

Josh Shipp led UCLA with 18 points, and Darren Collison had 15. It's the earliest exit for the sixth-seeded Bruins (26-9) since a first-round loss in the 2005 tournament.

"They did a good job spreading us out, and they're a very good shooting team," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "They did a good job of attacking the rim. I think they have a real chance to move forward in this tournament."

Backed by a raucous hometown crowd at its off-campus home, Villanova jumped on UCLA early and hardly let up. A 19-2 run that started five minutes in put the Wildcats ahead 28-11 before the midpoint of the first half.

Massimino coached Villanova to an upset victory over Georgetown in the 1985 national championship game. He gave Wright a big hug shortly before tip-off and enthusiastically watched from his second-row seat.

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