Friday March 22, 2013

JOSH DUBOW

AP Sports Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Dominic Artis anticipated Marcus Smart’s pass and took the interception the other way for a layup early to set the tone for Oregon.

Despite the seedings and the all the pregame hype surrounding Oklahoma State’s star, the Ducks had the better team and the better freshman point guard Thursday night.

Artis had 13 points, four steals and helped slow down Smart while fellow freshman Damyean Dotson led the way with 17 points to help 12th-seeded Oregon extend a run that began in the Pac-12 tournament by beating the fifth-seeded Cowboys 68-55 in the second round of the NCAAs on Thursday.

"We wanted to be aggressive on the boards, we wanted to be aggressive defensively and we wanted to be aggressive offensively," coach Dana Altman said. "I thought our guys did a great job of that. DA got it started off with a steal and layup early. I’m really happy for these two freshman guards. They’re the future of our program and to get experience like that, it was really important."

Arsalan Kazemi added 11 points and 17 rebounds to give the Ducks (27-8) their first tournament win in six years.

Oregon advanced to play fourth-seeded St Louis (27-6) on Saturday for a spot in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis next week. The Billikens beat New Mexico State 64-44.


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The selection committee raised some eyebrows when Oregon was given a 12 seed despite tying for second place in the Pac-12 in the regular season, winning the conference tournament and going 21-4 with Artis in the lineup.

"I never felt like we needed to make a statement," forward E.J. Singler said. "We knew we had a good team. It was about getting the win and feeling good about ourselves."

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said before the game that the Ducks looked nothing like a 12 seed and that was proven true in their tournament opener with the way they shut down Smart and hit their outside shots. Oregon’s eight 3-pointers were their most since having nine in December against Houston Baptist.

"We ran into a very hot team, a very hot team," Ford said. "I’ve watched a lot of games on these guys and how they’ve played the last three games compared to how they were playing two or three weeks ago, this was a hot basketball team. I was impressed with Oregon, really impressed and they came in here playing extremely well."

Smart came into the game with the hype of a top NBA prospect but was held to 14 points on 5 for 13 shooting a disappointing finish to a stellar season for the Cowboys (24-9).

"I definitely wish I could have done more for my team," Smart said. "I feel like I let my team down. I didn’t contribute to my team the way that I usually do. And it hurt us a little bit." Michigan 71, S. Dakota St. 56

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Glenn Robinson III scored 21 points and Mitch McGary added 13 points and nine rebounds, helping fourth-seeded Michigan overcome a rough night for Trey Burke in a 71-56 NCAA tournament win over 13th-seeded South Dakota State on Thursday night.

Burke made only two field goals and left the game briefly in the second half after a hard fall under the basket. The star point guard came back after that, but he finished with only six points.

Michigan (27-7) advanced anyway behind Robinson, McGary and Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 21 points.

South Dakota State (25-10) trailed by only four at halftime but couldn’t keep up. High-scoring guard Nate Wolters was held to only 10 points.

Burke was held in single digits for the first time all season.

Michigan faces either Virginia Commonwealth or Akron on Saturday in the next round.

Michigan lost to another No. 13 seed, Ohio, in last year’s tournament. The Wolverines looked vulnerable again at halftime of this one. They led 30-26, but Burke hadn’t made a shot from the field.

On this night, though, he had plenty of help. Robinson, the son of the former Purdue star with the same name, scored Michigan’s first 11 points of the second half, including three 3-pointers.

Robinson put the Wolverines up 41-30 with a 3. He finished 8 of 9 from the field.

Hardaway, another Michigan player with a familiar name, went 8 of 13 and made five 3-pointers.

With 11:01 to play, Burke hit the ground with a thud while competing for a defensive rebound. He immediately grabbed his head, although it wasn’t clear if the main point of impact was his head, his back or perhaps his left arm.

Burke was able to walk off the court but went down the tunnel toward the locker room. He returned to the game with 9:23 to go. Burke finished with seven assists, which helped offset his poor shooting.

Michigan freshman Mitch McGary, making only his third start of the season, gave the Wolverines some added muscle inside. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound McGary added an exclamation mark late in the game when he stepped in front of a pass by Wolters, stole the ball and went all the way for a dunk to make it 65-52.

Brayden Carlson had 20 points for the Jackrabbits, but only four after halftime.

Burke is a national player of the year candidate, and Wolters is one of the country’s top scorers, but the much-anticipated matchup of talented point guards never really lived up to the hype.

Burke scored only two points in the first half, and Wolters had only four.

Carlson kept the Jackrabbits in the game, and Hardaway picked up the slack for the Wolverines with 12 first-half points, all on 3-pointers.

Gonzaga 64, Southern 58

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- All year long, Southern coach Roman Banks kept telling his players that they should try to be like Gonzaga.

On Thursday, they almost beat Gonzaga.

The 16th-seeded Jaguars played shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the best teams in the country, before falling 64-58 to the Zags in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

With 3:45 left, this was a tie game. From there, the Jaguars (23-10) didn’t make another field goal, while Gonzaga’s Gary Bell Jr., and Kevin Pangos each hit 3-pointers to help Gonzaga (32-2) pull away.

Southern came up short in its quest to become the first No. 16 to knock off a No. 1. No. 16 seeds are now 0-113, though Southern stood out as one of those teams that really had a chance.

"We were basically an unknown ballclub that showed they can play the game of basketball," Banks said. "But we came here to win a ballgame, not play a ballgame."

Still, this was a darn good showing for a program nearly wiped off the map three years ago because of an NCAA investigation into problems in the classroom. Southern still has players on the roster who were around for the 20-plus-loss seasons that ensued. Banks said he looked to Gonzaga -- tiny school with big dreams -- as the program his players should try to emulate.

Bulldogs coach Mark Few said he wasn’t surprised the game was so close.

"The more I watched film on them, the more I thought, ‘This could be a real grinder,"’ Few said of the Southwestern Athletic Conference champions. "They don’t give you many easy opportunities. They’re very patient on offense."

Led by Derick Beltran’s 21 points, Southern made life hard on the West Coast Conference champions from beginning to end, blocking eight shots, making 10 3-pointers, harassing its star player, Kelly Olynyk, and never letting the Bulldogs out of striking range.

Marquette 59, Davidson 58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Vander Blue’s layup with one second left capped Marquette’s rally from a nine-point deficit and gave the third-seeded Golden Eagles a 59-58 victory over Davidson Thursday in the NCAA tournament.

Blue and Jamil Wilson made consecutive 3-pointers to bring Marquette within 58-57 with 11 seconds left. The Golden Eagles then caught a huge break when De’Mon Brooks’ long inbounds pass went out of bounds at midcourt with 5.5 seconds left, providing another opportunity.

Blue took full advantage after getting Wilson’s inbounds pass, driving left and finding room for the winning basket. He then sealed Marquette’s improbable win by stealing Davidson’s last-ditch inbounds pass at midcourt to set off a celebration among players and Golden Eagles fans at Rupp Arena.

Blue scored seven of Marquette’s final 11 points to finish with 16. Wilson added 14 points as the Golden Eagles (24-8) won for the fifth time in six games and advanced to face Butler in Saturday’s third round.

Jake Cohen’s 20 points led Davidson (26-8), who seemed in control leading 49-40 with 6 1/2 minutes left.

Butler 68, Bucknell 57

Andrew Smith had a double-double including a career-high 16 rebounds, Roosevelt Jones added 14 points and Butler made its free throws down the stretch to hold off upset-minded Bucknell.

After trailing for most of the game, 11th-seeded Bucknell got back into it with a 19-2 second-half run. But after Joe Willman’s jumper cut Butler’s lead to 43-42 with 6:56 left, the Bison (28-6) went almost five minutes without scoring. Butler went 18-of-20 at the line in the last 4:43.

Willman scored a career-high 20 points for Bucknell.

California 64, UNLV 61

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and 12th-seeded California held off UNLV.

Buoyed by the crowd support of a strong contingent so close to Berkeley, the Golden Bears (21-11) held the Runnin’ Rebels (25-10) without a basket for more than 11 minutes in the second half. Cal turned a tie game into a nine-point lead during that stretch and withstood a late UNLV push for its first tournament win since 2009.