Archive for the '2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney' Category

Bulldogs nip Panthers and Huskies chomp Bearcats

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

After Thursday’s 72-70 buzzer beating win over Old Dominion, Butler had another crazy finish against top-seeded Pittsburgh Saturday night. Butler hit the go ahead lay up with just eight seconds left. That put Butler up 70-69. As Pitt was driving down the court, Shelvin Mack of Butler fouled Gilbert Mack to send Pittsburgh to the line for two shots. Panther Nasir Robinson made the first free throw to tie it at 70, but missed the go ahead free throw. As Butler grabbed the final rebound, Matt Howard threw the ball up for a desperation full court shot but got fouled with .8 seconds left. Howard made one free throw and eighth-seeded Butler defeated the number one ranked Pittsburgh, 71-70, in a crazy ending at the Verizon Center. Shelvin Mack was the leading scorer for Butler and the overall leading scorer with 30 points. Even with the loss, Pittsburgh was blazing from the field shooting 56.6 percent. The final plays with the fouls were judgment calls by the officials. Judgment calls are not be reviewable.

Panther head coach Jamie Dixon said after the game, “Obviously for us it was—we’ve had a few losses this year, not a lot, but they’ve all been disappointing. This is a disappointing loss for us.”

Brad Steven, Butler’s head coach said, “I just heard Jamie and one of the things that is very clear and needs to be made very clear is we’re not a better basketball team than Old Dominion or Pittsburgh. We just had the ball last. And I think that’s just what happens sometimes, [when] you have two really good basketball teams that are very evenly matched. And he’s a heck of a basketball coach. Those kids played really hard. They were really hard to stop we couldn’t guard them.

“And you talk about the last sequences, and I said this on CBS, you hate to see a game end that way. But I asked Shelvin, did he think he fouled him, and he thought he fouled him and Matt thought he got fouled. So that was the way the game ended.” 

Butler now goes to play in the Sweet Sixteen against Wisconsin on Thursday in New Orleans.

The final game of the Verizon Center rounds featured Connecticut and Cincinnati. This game started just before 10 p.m. Saturday. UConn beat Cinci, 69-58, and advances to play San Diego State in the Sweet Sixteen in Anaheim, Calif.

After the game YDC asked senior Rashad Bishop what it was like playing his final game for Cinci. He said, “It’s tough. I had a great career. I had a lot of fun with the guys I played with, and it was real fun. These guys—we all worked hard all four years. We just gave everything we had and I’m proud of everybody. We’re disappointed we didn’t win, but we’re all proud for what we accomplished this year.”

YDC then asked winning head coach Jim Calhoun of UConn if his team had any fatigue due to starting at 10 p.m. “I’m fatigued. It’s past my bedtime,” he said. Adding, “No. But I mean, in all candor, there’s something about playing, especially when you’re successful. If you’re going through a losing streak or something, you’re winning, and every time in seven straight for us against good teams on big stages, that’s adrenaline. That feeds you.”

Huskies bound past Bisons; Bearcats maul Mizzou

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

The third of four featured games in the NCAA tourney’s Big Dance session at the Verizon Center saw the Bucknell Bison facing off against the University of Connecticut Huskies. With the score close at first, UConn took control and defeated the Bison 81-52. Bucknell struggled from the field only making 31.4 percent of their shots as UConn shot 48.5 percent. After the game, Bucknell head coach Dave Paulsen said, “You know, we told our guys in the locker room after the game, it was a really bad way to end a terrific season. This group of guys was incredibly coachable and worked so hard and were so focused. [They] had such a great run since Dec. 1 winning 23 out of 25 coming in.”

Winning head coach Jim Calhoun said in his opening statement, “We had seen Bucknell certainly enough on tape, and obviously their big kid is going to be a terrific player. He is a pretty good player. Johnson really shoots the ball. They have a good point guard. I thought we felt we were physically stronger than they were No. 1; No.2, they’re a team that likes to control the game, and I thought we would do as much in the — transition became very important to us, rebounding became very important to us which obviously leads to our transition.”

UConn is now going to face Cincinnati in the late game Saturday night at the Verizon Center.

Friday’s nightcap ended just before midnight, sixth-seed Cincinnati defeated 11th-seed Missouri 78-63. Missouri made things interesting by getting as close as ten in the second half, but then Cinci pulled away at the end. Cinci had 11 turnovers; Missouri had 9. Cincinnati shot 53.7 percent making 29 of 54 field goals. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said, “Well, obviously, we’re very excited to be moving on to Saturday. First, I want to congratulate Missouri and their players and Coach Anderson on a great season. They were tough to deal with tonight. Their style of play is disconcerting, to say the least.” 

Cinci plays UConn in the night game on Saturday night, tip time scheduled for 9:40.

The attendance for the second session was 17,706. 

Butler, Pittsburgh prevail in early NCAA round

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The first of four NCAA Big Dance games at the Verizon Center turned out to be a thriller.

Eighth-seeded Butler defeated ninth-seeded Old Dominion 60-50 on forward Matt Howard’s buzzer beater. Until that basket, Howard was tied at 15 points with Shelvin Mack as the Bulldogs’ leading scorers. Of the final play of the game, Howard said, “I think a lot of credit has got to go to [center] Andrew [Smith]. He made a great play keeping it alive. And my guy, I think, went with him on that jump. And it’s pretty easy when it’s just you and the ball and the rim. Throw it in.”

Butler shot 40.7 percent while Old Dominion shot 35.6. Both teams had a total of 15 turnovers. Butler is going to play the number-one-seed Pittsburgh on Saturday. Time of the game is TBA.

In the second game of the day, 16th-seed UNC-Asheville faced off against Pittsburgh. At halftime Pitt led 30-25, but in the second half it was all Pitt. They won 74-51. After the game, YDC asked Pittsburgh’s head coach Jamie Dixon why their second half was so much stronger than their first. He replied, “We had a decent lead in the first half and a couple of turnovers brought it back. They’re a good team. They took advantage of those opportunities. A couple press situations we didn’t handle as well as I would have thought.  But I think we really just missed some open shots early some finishes around the rim on some offensive rebounds, and then some open threes.”

Pittsburgh shot much better from the field than UNC-Asheville, 42.4 percent over 30.9. Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh led all scorers with 26 points.

Verizon Center attendance Thursday afternoon was 17, 578.