TEAGUE, KENTUCKY DOMINATE IOWA STATE
RECAP: At Louisville, Ky., freshman Marquis Teague scored a career-high 24 points, and top seed Kentucky put together a dominant second half to gain an 87-71 victory over Iowa State and reach the round of 16.
Freshman Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, senior Darius Miller added 19 points, and Doron Lamb finished with 16 points. The Wildcats (34-2) used a 20-2 burst to break away from a tie and gain a South Region semifinal matchup against Indiana on Friday at Atlanta.
In December, the Hoosiers beat Kentucky on a last-second shot when the young Wildcats committed a defensive lapse that cost them on the final play.
Among the players who’ve improved the most since then is Teague, often overshadowed and compared to Calipari’s former point guards at Kentucky and Memphis, including John Wall, Brandon Knight, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans.
Royce White, who almost transferred to Kentucky, had 23 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 4:32 left for eighth-seeded Iowa State (23-11), which beat defending national champion Connecticut on Thursday.
But the Cyclones couldn’t contend with Kentucky’s overwhelming offense and smothering defense after erasing a 12-point halftime deficit to tie it at 42-all with 16:23 left.
Teague and Kentucky turned up the pressure with their big burst. Terrence Jones hit a basket, Miller added another, and Jones flipped an alley-oop to Davis. After two free throws by the Cyclones’ Scott Christopherson, the Wildcats ran off 14 straight points to make it 62-42.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “We’ve got nothing to hang our head about. We got beat by the No. 1 overall seed that played an incredible game. We’re going to walk out of Lexington, I’m sorry, where are we? Louisville, with our head held high.” — Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg
NEXT FOR KENTUCKY: Fourth-seeded Indiana (27-8), Friday at Atlanta, time TBA
HESLIP HITS NINE 3S AS BAYLOR BELTS BUFFS
RECAP: At Albuquerque, N.M., guard Brady Heslip made 9 of 12 3-point attempts for 27 points, sparking third-seeded Baylor to a pullaway 80-63 victory over No. 11 Colorado and a berth in the South semifinals.
The Bears (29-7) will travel to Atlanta for their second trip to the round of 16 in three seasons, awaiting the winner of today’s game between Xavier and Lehigh.
Heslip, a Boston College transfer, made six 3s in the first half to keep his otherwise cold-shooting team close. Then he helped break open a tight game late. Heslip’s 3 with 6:56 left came early in Baylor’s 19-3 closing run.
His shooting was contagious, too. Soon after, Las Vegan Pierre Jackson (Desert Pines) swished one from 3 feet behind the arc. Jackson finished with 15 points and 10 assists.
Then Heslip, not to be outdone, made his ninth — leaving him two short of the NCAA Tournament record set by Jeff Fryer of Loyola Marymount in 1990.
The Bears came into this game taller, longer and more athletic than Colorado (24-12), but the Buffaloes matched their hustle through the entire first half and beyond.
Askia Booker scored 15 points for Colorado, which was on an amazing run: four wins in four nights last week at the Pac-12 tournament to get to March Madness and then a down-to-the-wire ouster of UNLV to open the South Region.
It was quite a show for the Buffs, who made the NCAAs for only the fourth time since 1969. When Booker made a 3 with 10:30 left, they led 57-54, and it looked like the show might move onto Atlanta.
But Colorado scored only six points the rest of the way, worn down by the adrenaline-pumping run of the past two weeks, to say nothing of the athleticism of the Bears.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “When they set great screens and they make passes that are on target and on time, it just makes it easy for me. Especially if I’m in rhythm and feeling good shooting.” — Baylor guard Brady Heslip
NEXT FOR BAYLOR: Tenth-seeded Xavier (22-12) or 15th-seeded Lehigh (27-7), Friday at Atlanta, time TBA
MARQUETTE BEATS RACERS TO FINISH LINE
RECAP: At Louisville, Ky., it took a while for Jae Crowder and third-seeded Marquette to get going. When they finally did, Murray State’s dreams of making its first trip to the round of 16 never stood a chance.
Crowder scored six points during a decisive 14-2 run late in the second half, and Marquette held on for a 62-53 victory to reach the West Region semifinals at Phoenix. Crowder compiled 17 points, 12 in the second half, and 13 rebounds, and Darius Johnson-Odom scored 17 for Marquette (27-7).
Isaiah Canaan had 16 points and six rebounds for the sixth-seeded Racers (31-2), who fell just short of their first trip to the regional semifinals. Murray State won its first 23 games and was the last unbeaten team in the country.
Jewuan Long made a layup to put the Racers up 46-41 with 7:43 to play, but Marquette has made a season out of late runs and this game was no different.
Todd Mayo hit two free throws, and Crowder banked in a jumper off the glass. Davante Gardner followed with a layup and two free throws to put Marquette back in front, 49-46.
Ivan Aska briefly halted the run with a putback, but the Golden Eagles kept on going. Gardner made another layup, and then Crowder hit a 3, sending the outnumbered Marquette fans into a frenzy.
Las Vegas native Donte Poole, Murray State’s second-leading scorer, managed only seven points, half his average. Poole (Mojave) was playing with a nose broken by an inadvertent elbow during Thursday’s game.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “We proved today that we belong, and we belonged on a national stage. … I wish I could have figured out a way to get them through the last seven minutes.” – Murray State coach Steve Prohm
NEXT FOR MARQUETTE: Seventh-seeded Florida (24-10) or 15th-seeded Norfolk State (26-9), Thursday at Phoenix, time TBA