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Marquette guard Derrick Wilson (12) and Davidson guard Nik Cochran (12) fight for a rebound Thursday in Lexington, Ky. Butler won 68-56.
Friday, March 22, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Davidson tried to do everything it could to close out an upset of No. 3 seed Marquette in the NCAA tournament.
What the Wildcats failed to do was close in defensively on Vander Blue, whose driving layup with a second remaining capped the Golden Eagles' 59-58 comeback victory Thursday in a game that Davidson had in its grasp.
The 14th-seeded Wildcats squandered a nine-point lead with less than seven minutes to play, snapping their 17-game winning streak and ending their hopes of making another deep run in March. But the way they were eliminated was what bothered players the most.
"You can tell by our faces we're not too happy about it," forward Jake Cohen said. "It's just devastating."
Leading 49-40 with six and a half minutes remaining, the Wildcats (26-8) answered Marquette's attempts to rally with two free throws each by Cohen and Nik Cochran and one by J.P. Kuhlman. De'Mon Brooks' layup with 41 seconds left made it 56-51 and forced Marquette to shoot 3-pointers if it wanted to get back in the game.
That's not the Golden Eagles' strong suit, but Blue and Jamil Wilson each made one down the stretch to close to 58-57. Then came Brooks' errant inbounds pass that sailed long and set up Blue's game-winning drive past Cohen.
"I got switched onto him and he got by me," said Cohen, who had 20 points. "Hindsight's 20-20. It's really easy to look back now and draw up something different. He made a big play and made a big shot."
Brooks and Cochran both scored 11 for Davidson, making its second consecutive tournament appearance. The Wildcats became tournament darlings in 2008 when Stephen Curry led them to the regional finals as a No. 10 seed.
The comeback spoiled Davidson's upset bid and halted the nation's longest winning streak. The Wildcats entered the game shooting nearly 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Their numbers weren't as good on Thursday, but the Wildcats thought they had enough.
"We emptied our tank today," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "Credit Marquette, they made three plays down the stretch."
Early on, though, the Golden Eagles (24-8) couldn't hit from anywhere.
As Marquette was missing 10 of its first 11 attempts, Davidson came out hot, especially from the perimeter. Chris Czerapowicz, Kuhlman and Cohen all made 3-pointers in the Wildcats' 12-2 start.
Davidson's defense was also effective against Marquette's second chances, forcing the Golden Eagles to shoot off balance instead of spotting up. The Golden Eagles regrouped slightly with five straight points, but Cochran answered from beyond the arc to put the Wildcats ahead 15-7 with 12:19 left in the first half.
By halftime, Marquette had closed to 25-23 and the next 10 minutes were tight, with six ties and seven lead changes before Brooks' two free throws put Davidson up 40-38. After Wilson's free throw for Marquette, Tyler Kalinoski followed with a 3-pointer and Cochran added a bank to put the Wildcats up by six, leading to a Golden Eagles timeout with 9:24 left.
The lead stretched to nine with less than seven minutes left, but then came the comeback that Blue will remember for a while.
Jake Cohen's 20 points led Davidson (26-8).
Butler 68, Bucknell 56
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sorry, Bucknell. This year's Butler is still Butler.
Andrew Smith had a double-double with a career-high 16 rebounds and 14 points, and Butler made 18 of 20 free throws down the stretch to hold off upset-minded Bucknell. Roosevelt Jones added 14 points for the sixth-seeded Bulldogs, back in the tournament for the first time since making back-to-back runs to the national title game.
Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke was just 5 of 14. But he went 5 of 6 from the line - all in the final 2:59 - and finished with 17 points in his first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Joe Willman had a career-high 20 points, and 11th-seeded Bucknell made a game of it with a 19-2 run in the second half. But it couldn't overcome an off day by two-time Patriot League Player of the year Mike Muscala, who had nine points, only the second time this season he's failed to reach double figures. Going almost five minutes without scoring late in the second half didn't help, either.
For a while, it looked as if Bucknell might beat Butler at its own game.
The Bulldogs (27-8) appeared on the verge of pulling away when Khyle Marshall made a jumper to give Butler a 29-18 lead with 16:35 left. But Muscala, who'd been downright dismal for the first 24 minutes of the game, converted a three-point play to spark a 19-2 run. Just as he'd carried Bucknell the first half, Willman was key during the spurt, scoring eight points.
Willman's jumper cut Butler's lead to 43-42 with 6:56 left, but the Bison went the next 4:42 without scoring. Butler, meanwhile, was putting on a free throw clinic, making 18 of 20 to seal the victory.
California 64, UNLV 61
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and the 12th-seeded Bears held off fifth-seeded UNLV.
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 2010.
The Rebels rallied to within a point in the final seconds before missed free throws and a costly inbounds pass sealed the loss.
Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 15 points and freshman NBA prospect Anthony Bennett shook off a poor start to finish with 15 points and 11 rebounds for UNLV, which beat Cal 76-75 in Berkeley on Dec. 9.
Rebels fans filled up about two sections, and the rest of the red-and-black faithful was sprinkled around the blue-and-gold-clad crowd. Cal's contingent let its presence be known, roaring to its feet at every chance.
Justin Cobbs added 13 points and five rebounds, and Richard Solomon had 11 points and seven rebounds while playing with the kind of heart and hustle coach Mike Montgomery has long preached. Cal outshot the Rebels 44 percent to 32 percent.
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