North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

March Madness running blog three – Buzzer beater in Tampa

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What an afternoon in Tampa.

First, there was an instant classic overtime duel between Drake and West Kentucky. And then there was another instant classic between Sad Diego and UConn.

It didn’t look that was early on, though. San Diego looked to pull away in the first and led by as many as 10 in the second half. But UConn battled back, tying the game with about 8 to play. But that was about it. They could close the gap, but never overcome it and had to rally back from a four-point deficit with under a minute left. Holding the ball with the shot clock off at the end of the second, they went for a quick basket, giving the San Deigo Toreros a chance to tie the game (which they did).

And again in overtime they found themselves down and had to rally. And, yet again, they couldn’t seal the deal. Called for a goaltending call and letting the Toreros hit a long two, they found themselves down by four before they hit a shot in overtime.

Enter De’Jon Jackson’s late-game heroics. He hit a late – and long, from just inside the arc – shot with only 1.2 ticks left, giving San Deigo a 70-69 lead. But if not for Brandon Johnson’s heroics – 18 points, four of them from beyond the arc – it might not have been that close.

So, like the game immediately before it, it was a classic right to the final buzzer. Oddly, one major difference between the two games was where each final basket was scored: at opposite ends of the court.

I guess that means fans at both ends get to enjoy clutch shooting.

But for interesting games, that was about it. Butler and Texas A&M each won by 20, while Georgetown won by 19.

For the Hoyas, both Roy Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr had good games, scoring 13 and 10 while grabbing seven and six rebounds, respectively. All in all, four Hoyas scored in double digits, while Darryl Proctor and Brian Hodges did the bulk of scoring for Maryland-Baltimore.

Against Austin Peay, the Longhorns of Texas tore it up offensively, scoring 74 and grabbing 44 rebounds and led the entire game. Leading them in scoring, with 26, was AJ Abrams while both Damion James and Dexter Pittman had double-doubles.

Rounding out the second set was Butler’s rout of South Alabama. Despite keeping the score close in the first half, the Bulldogs pulled away late in that half and never looked back. And although Pete Campbell scored 26 and grabbed 5 rebounds, it was Matt Howard’s reverse layup early in the second half that will be remembered, effectively putting an exclamation point on their win.

Like all day, recaps of the other games will be coming along shortly.

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Written by M.

March 21, 2008 at 10:42 pm

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