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Archive for Monday, March 22, 2004

Xavier dumps No. 2 seed MSU

Second-seeded Oklahoma State cruises against Memphis; No. 3 Pitt survives Wisconsin

March 22, 2004

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— When Dedrick Finn's shot from well beyond midcourt went through the basket, Mississippi State knew it was in trouble.

"He did that," Bulldogs guard Timmy Bowers lamented, "and I said, 'It's going to be a long night.'"

Finn's buzzer beater gave Xavier a one-point halftime lead, and the seventh-seeded Musketeers went on to win, 89-74, Sunday in a shocker that sends them to the Atlanta Regional semifinals.

Lionel Chalmers scored a career-high 31 points, and Finn added 22, helping Xavier (25-10) advance beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990.

The Musketeers won opening-round games the past two years before losing to Oklahoma and Maryland.

"If this is not my time, I'm not going to have a time," said Chalmers, one of Xavier's three starting seniors.

"I've been feeling good and just knocking it down. There's really not too many things you can do to me out there when I feel like I can make shots."

Xavier, which has won 15 of 16 after a 10-9 start, overcame a double-digit deficit for the second straight game and will face No. 3 seed Texas in the regional semifinals.

Chalmers made 11 of 13 shots, including all four of his three-point attempts. Finn was 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, while Romain Sato -- the Musketeers' leading scorer during the regular season -- finished with 12.

"There wasn't much we could do against Chalmers," Mississippi State's Shane Power said.

"He made contested shots, NBA threes ... whatever," Bowers added. "He's one of the best guards in the country. He may not get credit, but today he put his team on his back and carried them."

Mississippi State (26-4), the No. 2 seed, shot 36 percent and lost control after building a 23-13 lead in the first 11 minutes. Xavier finished the half with a 21-10 run, with Chalmers scoring 12 in that stretch.

Power led the Southeastern Conference regular-season champions with 16 points. Bowers had 15 and SEC player of the year Lawrence Roberts was limited to 11 on 4-for-11 shooting.

Atlanta Regional

Illinois 92, Cincinnati 68

Columbus, Ohio -- Deron Williams hit his first seven attempts, and fifth-seeded Illinois rolled past Cincinnati. Williams matched his career high with 31 points, going 10-of-13 from the field, and Illinois (26-6) shot a season-high 63.6 percent. The Big Ten regular-season champion will play top-seeded Duke on Friday at the Georgia Dome. Dee Brown added 14 points, eight assists and two sleight-of-hand plays that helped Illinois take control early. Field Williams led fourth-seeded Cincinnati (26-7) with 16 points.

East Rutherford Regional

Oklahoma State 70, Memphis 53

Kansas City, Mo. -- Joey Graham scored 21 points -- all but one of those coming in the first half -- for Oklahoma State.

The second-seeded Cowboys (29-3) will meet third-seeded Pittsburgh on Thursday at Continental Airlines Arena.

Oklahoma State led 41-19 after a first half in which it shot 68 percent (17-for-23) and outrebounded the Tigers (22-8) 17-6.

Antonio Burks and led Memphis with 21 points.

Pittsburgh 59, Wisconsin 55

Milwaukee -- Carl Krauser scored 16 points, and Julius Page added 12 to lead Pittsburgh (31-4). Pittsburgh shot 36 percent to the Badgers' 35 percent, and it was anybody's game until the closing seconds when the Panthers made all the crucial plays. Devin Harris scored 21 points for the Badgers (25-7), but none after his three-pointer gave Wisconsin a 40-37 lead.

St. Louis Regional

Georgia Tech 57, Boston College 54

Milwaukee -- Jarrett Jack scored four points in the final minute, including a key steal and dunk with less than six seconds left to lift Georgia Tech. The third-seeded Yellow Jackets advanced to the semifinals of the St. Louis Regional to face 10th-seeded Nevada on Friday at Edward Jones Dome. Jack finished with eight points, six rebounds and six assists. B.J. Elder led the Yellow Jackets (25-9) with 18 points. Jared Dudley had 13 points for Boston College (24-10).

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