The University of Michigan won the first overtime game of the men’s college basketball national championship, while the University of Florida ended Florida Gulf Coast University’s unprecedented tournament run.
The No. 4 seed in the 16-team South region, Michigan’s Wolverines rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit yesterday to defeat the top-seeded University of Kansas 87-85 in overtime behind 23 points from guard Trey Burke. Michigan advances to the regional finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament to play third-seeded Florida, which beat Florida Gulf Coast 62-50.
“We just stuck with it,” Burke said in a televised interview after the game. “We’re in those situations every day in practice and we just try to find ways to come back and win. I’m so proud of my team.”
Florida’s Gators took advantage of a 16-2 run to close the first half and cruised to a 12-point victory in Arlington, Texas. Florida Gulf Coast, the first No. 15 seed ever to advance to the round of 16, committed 19 turnovers and attempted 44 field goals, 13 fewer than Florida.
In the first game of the evening, top-seeded Louisville beat Oregon 77-69 in Indianapolis to advance to the regional finals for the fourth time in the past six seasons. Cardinals guard Russ Smith matched a career-high with 31 points as Louisville, the only No. 1 seed remaining in the tournament, led by at least six points through the entire second half.
Winners of 13 consecutive games dating back to Feb. 14, Louisville will face second-seeded Duke in the Midwest regional finals tomorrow. Blue Devils guard Seth Curry scored 29 points as Duke defeated Michigan State 71-61 in Indianapolis. The win marks the 13th regional finals appearance for Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“Seth Curry put us on his back offensively,” Krzyzewski said in a televised interview after the game. “And then defensively we played as a unit.”
Michigan never led in the second half against Kansas, tying the game with 4.2 seconds remaining on a three-point shot from Burke. The Jayhawks blew a 10-point lead with 2:53 to play and missed shots to win at the end of regulation and overtime.
Syracuse will play Marquette at 4:30 p.m. today in the East regional final in Washington, D.C. The Orange defeated the region’s top-seeded Indiana on March 28, while the Golden Eagles topped second-seeded Miami.
Ohio State will face ninth-seeded Wichita State, the lowest-seeded team remaining in the tournament, in the West regional final tonight at 7:05 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) in Los Angeles. The Buckeyes, a No. 2 seed, rallied from an 11- point first-half deficit to beat Arizona two nights ago, while the Shockers beat La Salle to advance to the program’s first regional finals since 1981.
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