Saturday, March 24, 2018

Final Four bound: No. 11 Loyola beats Kansas State 78-62

 Porter Moser stood in front of the scarf-clad Loyola cheering section, a bit dazed but beaming from ear to ear.
"Are you kidding me! Are you kidding me," the Ramblers coach screamed over and over.
No kidding.
Loyola is headed to the Final Four .
An improbable NCAA Tournament took its craziest turn yet Saturday night, when Ben Richardson scored a career-high 23 points and the 11th-seeded Ramblers romped to a 78-62 victory over Kansas State to cap off a stunning run through the bracket-busting South Regional.
The Ramblers (32-5) matched the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the Final Four, joining LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011). Those other three all lost in the national semifinals.
Don't bet against Loyola, which emerged from a regional that produced a staggering array of upsets. The South became the first regional in tournament history to have the top four seeds — including overall No. 1 Virginia — knocked out on the opening weekend.
In the end, it was the Ramblers cutting down the nets.
After three close calls, this one was downright easy.
"We believed that we could do something like this — do something really special— because we knew we had such good chemistry and we've got such a good group," said Richardson, who was named MVP of the regional. "Everyone would say we were crazy. If we said this was going to happen, people would call us crazy, but you've just got to believe."
No one believes more than their 98-year-old team chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt , who led a prayer in the locker room before the game. Later, she was pushed onto the court in her wheelchair to join the celebration when it was done.
Sister Jean donned a Final Four cap — she even turned it around backward, just to show she's hip to the kids — and gave a gleeful thumbs-up.
She's already looking forward to a bigger game next weekend.
"I'm going to San Antonio," she said. "That's going to be great."
Also joining the celebration were several players from the Ramblers' 1963 national championship team , which played one of the most socially significant games in college basketball history on its way to the title. It was known as the "Game of Change," matching the Ramblers and their mostly black roster against an all-white Mississippi State team at the height of the civil rights movement, setting up an even more noteworthy contest three years later. Texas Western, with five African-American starters, defeated Kentucky in the national championship game.
Les Hunter, a member of that '63 team, said these Ramblers are capable of bringing home another title.
"I think they're the best right now," Hunter said. "They work so well together. They can play with anybody — anybody — right now."
Even with a title on its resume, this Loyola performance came out of nowhere. The Ramblers had not made the tournament since 1985 until they broke the drought by winning the Missouri Valley Conference.
Then, as if benefiting from some sort of divine intervention, the Ramblers won their first three tournament games by a total of four points .
Finally, with the Final Four on the line, they turned in a thoroughly dominating performance against the ninth-seeded Wildcats (25-12), the other half of the first 9-vs.-11 matchup in tournament history.
Not the least bit intimidated, Loyola came out in attack mode right from the start against a Kansas State team that rode a stifling defense to the regional final. Moving the ball just as you'd expect from a veteran squad with two seniors and two fourth-year juniors in the starting lineup, the Ramblers kept getting open looks and bolted to a 36-24 lead.
"They jumped out to that big lead and it was tough for us to come back," said Xavier Sneed, who led Kansas State with 16 points. "They kept their foot on the gas."
The Ramblers shot 57 percent against a team that is used to shutting opponents down, including 9 of 18 from 3-point range.
Kansas State hit just 35 percent from the field — 6 of 26 from beyond the arc.
Early on the second half, Richardson swished a 3-pointer as he was fouled by Kamau Stokes , winding up flat on his back, flashing a huge smile with his arms raised above his head. He knocked down the free throw to complete the four-point play, stretching the lead to 44-29.
Loyola led by as many as 23.
"We're just a bunch of guys that everybody laughed at ... when we thought we were going to play Division I basketball," Clayton Custer said. "Nobody thought we could do any of this."
They do now.
BIG PICTURE
Loyola: While Richardson was the top scorer, the Ramblers got contributions from everyone. Marques Townes (13 points) and Donte Ingram (12) were also in double figures, while burly freshman center Cameron Krutwig came up big on the inside (nine points, seven rebounds).
Kansas State: The Wildcats were surrendering an average of 53.3 points per game in the NCAA Tournament and had not allowed more than 59 in their first three games. Loyola went by that with more than 9 minutes to go, which was more than enough to hold off the Wildcats even when things got a little sloppy in the closing minutes.
UP NEXT
Loyola: The Ramblers will meet the winner of the West Regional final between Florida State and Michigan next Saturday in San Antonio. They will try to become the lowest-seeded team to win a national championship, a distinction held by No. 8 seed Villanova in 1985.
Kansas State: After their impressive run in the tournament, the Wildcats will face heightened expectations next season. All five starters, plus ailing forward Dean Wade, can return next season.

Columbus Crew SC 3, DC United 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Federico Higuain made history, getting his 50th assist to officially join MLS's 50-50 club, as Columbus Crew SC cruised to a 3-1 win over DC United on Saturday evening at MAPFRE Stadium.
The Higuain-assisted 40th minute goal, a corner kick headed in by MLS veteran Ricardo Clark, put the Crew SC up for good during a flurry of first-half action. Milton Valenzuela and Yamil Asad traded goals for the teams in the 20th and 30th minutes respectively.
Two minutes after Clark's goal, Pedro Santos gave Columbus a cushion on a deftly-worked counter-attack goal to close out the scoring for the half — and, as matters would develop, for the match.

FC Dallas 1, Portland Timbers 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Sebastian Blanco struck just moments into the second half on a gorgeous curler from beyond the penalty area, and the Portland Timbers held on for a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas despite finishing the final 15 minutes with 10 men.
Blanco's left-footed strike beyond the dive of Jimmy Maurer marked his second goal in three games for the Timbers, who earned their first point of the season in the third fixture of a five-game road trip to open 2018.
He remains the only player to hit the net this season for Portland, while Diego Valeri remains silent so far in defense of his 2017 MLS MVP award.
Roland Lamah scored early for Dallas, who played up a man after Lawrence Olum received his marching orders for a deliberate handball – and second bookable offense – in the 75th minute.
Dallas remain undefeated three matches into their new season, but will probably consider Saturday's match two points lost after outshooting Portland 13-11 and holding 61 percent of possession.

New England Revolution 2, New York City FC 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Ismael Tajouri hit a second-half brace in the second start of his MLS career as a short-handed New York City FC side twice came from a goal down to earn a 2-2 draw at the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon.
Tajouri now has three goals in two games filling in for star forward David Villa, who remained out Saturday with a calf injury. That was only the start of the absentee list for NYCFC, which remained unbeaten this season despite playing without Alexander Ring, Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace.
But after Diego Fagundez gave New England the lead early in the first half, Tajouri found space and got in position to be the finisher of a tremendous team counterattacking goal six minutes after halftime.
Juan Agudelo gave the hosts the lead again, only for Tajouri to take Yangel Herrera's pass and hammer home his second of the day with 15 minutes remaining.

BUTTAR WINS ROUND 1 IN GLENDALE

Here are three things we learned from the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, on Friday night at Gila River Arena.
Buttar takes Round 1 victory despite elbow problems
Dakota Buttar’s arm was yanked forward by Sid’s Wish inside the bucking chute on Friday night, but that wasn’t going to stop Buttar from picking up his second career 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast round victory.
Buttar took a few minutes to let his throbbing riding elbow calm down before returning to the chutes and riding Sid’s Wish for 87.5 points to take the Round 1 title at the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
“I didn’t know the bull,” Buttar said. “He was a little, black muley and he kind of kicked in there and jumped into my hand. He spun to the left and felt cool.”
Buttar hadn’t won a premier series round in his first two seasons in the PBR. Now he has won two Round 1s in back-to-back weeks.  
“It has been a work in progress to get those higher scores,” Buttar said. “I am just trying to get the whistle, but if it feels good I will try to open up on them when I can. When I was younger, I used to be able to spur bulls a lot better than I can now. There is a different caliber of bulls down here. It is different.”
Buttar admitted that he has sometimes ridden to conservatively on the premier series. This year he has started to trust his talents a little bit further and is beginning to see results.
The 25-year-old earned 100 points toward the world standings, and is tied for 22nd in the world standings with Fabiano Vieira.
“It seemed like when I was younger I couldn’t do anything wrong on the back of a bull,” Buttar said. “My riding percentage was a lot higher. As things go on, injuries and stuff have made it not as easy as it once seemed.”
Buttar was bucked off by Frequent Flyer in 3.79 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The Kindersley, Saskatchewan, bull rider expects to be OK for his second-round matchup against Passenger 57 despite his on-going elbow injury.
“It is just getting sore,” Buttar said. “Just the way (Sid’s Wish) snatched me ahead. I wasn’t really expecting it.”
Vieira wins 15/15 Bucking Battle; Pacheco is 2-for-2 in Glendale
Fabiano Vieira isn’t sure how his left knee will feel on Saturday morning when he wakes up, but the pain in his knee wasn’t going to stop him from letting out a celebratory yell as he was being helped past rider walkoff by the PBR sports medicine team.
“92 points!” Vieira hollered in between gritting his teeth and grimacing in pain as he tried to put pressure on his knee.
Vieira’s self-proclaimed score was a little farfetched, but his 90.25 points on Rising Sun was enough for him to win his third career 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“My knee was a little bit sore when I jumped off,” Vieira said. “This is very important for my head. I had bucked off my first bull (Northern Moxie) in 7.68. I don’t know if my knee will hurt me tomorrow.”
Vieira had missed the Ty Murray Invitational because of a concussion he sustained in Duluth, Georgia, two weeks ago.
The 35-year-old earns 150 world points for his first 15/15 Bucking Battle win in three years. The ride is tied for the third best of his career and is his first 90 since covering Roy for 90.25 points in February 2016.
Kaique Pacheco was the only other rider to reach 8 seconds in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after he covered Twinkle Toes for 87.25 points.
It was the second consecutive ride for Pacheco, who finished Round 1 in third place via 86.75 points on Mac’s Barbeque.
“I am very happy because (Mac’s Barbeque) is a good bull and I knew I could be a good score,” Pacheco said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating.
Pacheco had entered the weekend 6-for-27 and 21st in the world standings.
He earned 140 world points with his two rides Friday to move up to 18th in the rankings.
“What has happened to me is everybody goes through a slump,” Pacheco said. “I just thank God. I am doing the same stuff as always. The major thing that got me into this slump is the injury in my leg last year. This is affecting me again this year, but I am recovering from it.”
Pacheco will look for a third consecutive ride when he faces Big Canadian(0-0, PBR UTB) in Round 2.
Robbins continuing to surge
Make it four straight weeks with a qualified ride for Chase Robbins.
Robbins just hopes he can finally get at least a second qualified ride when he takes on Sting Ray in Round 2.
The rookie bull rider conquered Trouble Maker for 87 points in Round 1 and will head into Round 2 on the heels of Buttar.
The ride tied a career-high for Robbins, but his get-off was impressive as well as he was flipped over following the 8-second buzzer.
“At the end he was kind of moving ahead and got my hand out. I was pretty much on my fingertips so I went to get off and I caught his hip the wrong way. It just sent me backwards. I was thinking this ain’t going to feel good. I flipped backwards and landed on my knees.”
The second-place round finish earned Robbins 60 world points and moves the Marsing, Idaho, bull rider to 30th in the world standings.
“I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be 87, but I was glad to get him rode,” Robbins said. “Well, one of the most important things is I got my first one down. All I have to do is focus on the next one. It gives you a little bit of a relief. Tomorrow I will go and be focused and try to put together two more.
Robbins hadn’t picked up a Round 1 score since riding the first bull of his career (Ol’ Boy) for 87 points last month in Kansas City, Missouri.
Rounding out the Top 5 behind Buttar, Robbins and Pacheco was Jose Vitor Leme (86.5 points on Money Talks) and Eduardo Aparecido (86 points on Mortimer).
Injury Updates
Ryan Dirteater was bucked off by two-time World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser in 6.67 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle after sustaining an apparent torn meniscus in Round 1 when he was bucked off by Acting Crazy in 1.04 seconds, according to Dr. Tandy Freeman.
Bruiser was scored a career-high 47.5 points for the buckoff.
Meanwhile, Freeman informed PBR.com that No. 2 Luciano de Castro will be out 4-6 weeks after tests this week in Dallas revealed Castro had torn his right MCL.
GLENDALE DRAW: LAWRENCE AND MAUNEY RETURNING (3-23-18)
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Stetson Lawrence thought he could just toughen up and ride through a broken right ankle earlier this month, but three consecutive buckoffs quickly taught him that the best decision was probably to sit out for a few weeks.
Lawrence, though, is now ready to return to competition after missing the past two events and will take on Sitting Bull (0-2, PBR UTB) in Round 1 and Breaking Bad (5-4, PBR UTB) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle Friday night at the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
“Oh, it is way better,” Lawrence said. “I can walk on it and I have been going to physical therapy at Fit-N-Wise for about three weeks.”
Lawrence is 14th in the world standings and is 9-for-25 (36 percent) with two 90-point rides and four Top-10 finishes.
The 29-year-old made it a priority to do all he can to rehab his ankle after deciding to miss two events.
The broken ankle was less of a problem compared to the strained ligaments he had sustained as well at The American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, last month attempting to ride Mighty Mouse.
“I first started with icing to get the swelling down and doing some contrast between the hot and cold tub,” Lawrence said. “Then I started doing strengthening (exercises) and getting more mobility in it. Getting it stronger more than anything. The break doesn’t hurt. I think it is the sprain more than anything. The ligaments are all just tight as heck.”
Meanwhile, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is also returning to competition after missing the Ty Murray Invitational because of injuries involving his right shoulder, right groin and ribs.
Mauney is slated to face Runnin Through the Jungle (2-2, PBR UTB) in Round 1 and is ranked 27th in the world standings.
Lawrence and Mauney are just two of the many top PBR riders that have been slammed with injuries this season.
There are eight riders in the Top 20 not competing in Glendale this weekend, while No. 30 Fraser Babbington (personal) and Aaron Kleier (personal) have chosen to remain home in Brazil.
The injured riders are: No. 2 Luciano de Castro (right knee injury), No. 5 Dener Barbosa (right foot surgery), No. 7 Cooper Davis (partially torn ligament in his ring finger on his riding hand), No. 11 Derek Kolbaba (torn right ACL/MCL), No. 12 Guilherme Marchi (concussion and a sprained right sternoclavicular joint), No. 13 Jess Lockwood (sprained riding hand), No. 15 Gage Gay (reconstructive right knee surgery), No. 17 Brennon Eldred(partially torn right MCL) and No. 20 Emilio Resende (left calf contusion).
Based on rule 3.1.6.4, Babbington has been deemed illegible for the Unleash The Beast until March 16, 2019, after missing last weekend’s Ty Murray Invitational.
Babbington can now only qualify for the 2018 PBR World Finals if he were to win the 2018 Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals, according to rule 3.1.6.4.1.
This will also be the case for Kleier if he eventually is ranked inside the Top 30 of the world standings and chooses not to ride on the Unleash The Beast.
Also returning from injury in Glendale is No. 24 Fabiano Vieira (concussion), No. 28 Alex Marcilio (sprained riding wrist and strained right groin) and No. 40 Lindomar Lino (fractured sternum).
There will be 11 alternates getting the call to compete inside Gila River Casino Arena -- No. 36 Nathan Burtenshaw (-3.33 points behind Top 35), No. 37 Brady Oleson (-12.5), No. 38 Paulo Lima  (-17.5), No. 39 Wallace de Oliveira (-30.83), No. 40 Lino (-43.33), No. 41 Justin Granger (-68.33), No. 42 Ueberson Duarte (-75.83), No. 43 Michael Lane (-78.33), No. 44 Rubens Barbosa (-91.67), No. 45 Fernando Henrique Novais (-93.33) and No. 46 Eli Miller (-100.63).
A round win would propel all of these riders except Miller into the Top 35.
Costa Rica native Alejandro Gamboa Calvo is also in the draw as a special invite.
Glendale is Miller’s career debut on the Unleash the Beast.
The 21-year-old from Statesville, North Carolina, earned an alternate position based on his victory last weekend at the Velocity Tour event in Wheeling, West Virginia. Miller is 7-for-20 (35 percent) at all levels of PBR competition in 2018. 
Miller, who received a full-ride scholarship courtesy of PBR fan Linda Wells when he was 15 to attend a bull riding school taught by Mauney and Chris Shivers, will look for the first ride of his career against Say When (0-0, PBR UTB).
Granger is competing in his third career premier series event and first since 2014. The 26-year-old is 5-for-20 this season and won last weekend’s Velocity Tour event to rocket up to 41st in the world standings.
The Tuba City, Arizona, bull rider lives roughly 250 miles from Glendale.
Granger is 0-for-5 in his premier series career and, he too, will look for his first ride when he squares off against Frostywhirl (2-1, PBR UTB).
World leader Ramon de Lima has drawn Wonder Flyer (3-1, PBR UTB) for Round 1.

VIEIRA WINS THE 15/15 BUCKING BATTLE IN GLENDALE

In front of an energetic Arizona crowd, PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) Fabiano Vieira (Perola, Brazil) won his first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the 2018 season at The 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast, Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Vieira rode Rising Sun (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Heald Pro Bulls/Floyd Bucking Bulls) for 90.25 points to win the special round of competition. Starting the evening at No. 24 in the world standings, Vieira’s impressive ride moved him up to two spots. For his effort, he gained 150 world points and a $11,500 paycheck.
As the only other rider in the 15/15 to record a qualified ride, Kaique Pachecho (Itatiba, Brazil) took second place in the round after riding Twinkle Toes (Broken Arrow Bucking Bulls) for 87.25 points. Pacheco dominated the first two 15/15 matchups earlier this year. Friday night’s ride moved him from No. 21 in the world standings to No. 18. Pacheco took home 90 world points and $9,500.
Canadian Dakota Buttar (Kindersley, Canada) earned his second round win of the season by winning Round 1 in Glendale earlier in the evening after delivering an 87.5-point ride aboard Sid’s Wish (PK Triplett Bucking Bulls). Ending the night tied with Vieira at No. 22 in the world standings, Buttar gained 100 world points and pocketed $3,580.
Chase Robbins (Marsing, Idaho) finished in second place on Friday night with an 87-point ride aboard Trouble Maker (JD Nix Rodeo Co.). Robbins gained 60 world points and a $2,750 paycheck.
Prior to his second-place finish in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, Pacheco secured third-place in the opening round of the night. Pacheco took home 50 world points and $2,000 with an 86.75-point ride aboard Mac’s Barbeque(Owens/Wyatt),  
2017 Rookie of the Year Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas du Rio Pardo, Brazil) finished in fourth place and moved from No. 10 in the world standings to No. 8 with an 86.5-point ride on Money Talks (D&H Cattle/Buck Cattle/ Tommy Julian). Leme picks up 40 world points and a $1,300 paycheck.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Friday’s Round 1 was Eduardo Aparecido(Gouvelandia, Brazil) as he turned in an 86-point trip aboard Mortimer (Julio Moreno/ Dallas Schott). Aparecido gained 30 world points and pocketed $850.
The best bull riders in the world will return to Gila River Arena on Saturday, March 24 for Round 2 and the Championship Round of the Ak-Chin Invitational.
25th PBR: Unleash The BeastAk-Chin InvitationalGila River Arena - Glendale, AZ
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Round 4-Event Aggregate-Event Points)1. Dakota Buttar, 87.5-0-0-87.50-100 Points.
2. Chase Robbins, 87-0-0-87.00-60 Points.
3. Kaique Pacheco, 86.75-0-0-86.75-50 Points.
4. Jose Vitor Leme, 86.5-0-0-86.50-40 Points.
5. Eduardo Aparecido, 86-0-0-86.00-30 Points.
6. J.B. Mauney, 85.75-0-0-85.75-10 Points.
(tie). Brady Oleson, 85.75-0-0-85.75-10 Points.
8. Juan Carlos Contreras, 85.25-0-0-85.25
9. Lucas Divino, 85-0-0-85.00
10. Lindomar Lino, 84-0-0-84.00
11. Nathan Burtenshaw, 83.5-0-0-83.50
12. Alex Marcilio, 79.75-0-0-79.75
13. Claudio Montanha Jr., 74.75-0-0-74.75
14. Ueberson Duarte, 67.75-0-0-67.75
15. Fernando Henrique Novais, 63.75-0-0-63.75
Ramon de Lima, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Teel, 0-0-0-0.00
Ryan Dirteater, 0-0-0-0.00
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0.00
Valdiron de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0.00
Tanner Byrne, 0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0.00
Marco Antonio Eguchi, 0-0-0-0.00
Fabiano Vieira, 0-0-0-0.00
Joao Ricardo Vieira, 0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0.00
Tye Chandler, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Campbell, 0-0-0-0.00
Paulo Ferreira Lima, 0-0-0-0.00
Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0.00
Justin Granger, 0-0-0-0.00
Michael Lane, 0-0-0-0.00

Duke turns back Orange 69-65, sets up matchup with Kansas

All that talk about busted brackets and the maddest March ever - not happening in the Midwest.
What started as a chess match turned into a free-throw-shooting contest. When it was over, Duke won.
Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr., made four clutch free throws down the stretch to help Duke hold off Syracuse 69-65 and land the Blue Devils in a 1 vs. 2 regional final against Kansas.
"A great game to win, a very difficult game to lose," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Freshman Marvin Bagley III scored 22 points to help Krzyzewski's second-seeded Blue Devils (29-7) pull away from Jim Boeheim's Orange - the last at-large team to make it into the field, and one looking for a near-repeat of two seasons ago when it made the Final Four as a 10 seed.
This year, Syracuse (23-14) was an 11, but in an NCAA Tournament turned upside down, the Elite Eight already has one of those - Loyola-Chicago in the South.
Syracuse is no typical 11, and this was a zone-centric battle of wits between two of the most renowned coaches in the game.
No lead ever reached double digits, and not until Trent Jr. swished two from the line with 6.3 seconds left was the game sealed for Duke, which is one win away from taking Krzyzewski to his record 13th Final Four. He currently shares the record of 12 with John Wooden.
Early in the second half, Krzyzewski did something Wooden never would've dreamed of: He tore off his jacket and threw it to the floor, calling a timeout after Syracuse scored two quick baskets to trim its deficit to three.
"It set the tone for me," said Coach K, who has two freshmen, Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., who will likely be NBA lottery picks later this spring. "You could see. I coach `em, so I could see, they were real young. They had young looks. Thank goodness they got out of it."
The teams went back and forth, trading alley-oop dunks and 3-pointers until the end-game played out with 21 seconds left.
Syracuse fouled Allen, who went to the line for a 1-and-1 and calmly sank both to push the lead to 67-62. Syracuse scored, then fouled Allen again, and he missed the front end. Leading by three, Duke intentionally fouled Tyus Battle, who made only one of his two free throws to cut the deficit to two with 7 seconds left.
Syracuse closed by fouling Trent Jr., who sealed it by improving to 33 of 34 from the line in the last five minutes of games this season.
"I thought coming into this game Duke was playing at a tremendously high level," Boeheim said. "We started out playing as well offensively as we have in a long time. We hit a little dead spot at the end of the first half that we couldn't quite come back from."
Bagley III scored 13 of his 22 points and had all eight of his rebounds in the second half. Seven of those boards were on the offensive end and led to second-chance baskets.
"We turned the ball over a little too much in the first half," said Battle, who led the Orange with 19 points. "We got it together in the second half and took care of the ball a little better, moved the ball better and got it into the middle."
BIG PICTURE
Syracuse's 2-3 zone causes problems for almost every opponent, but Duke found holes, throwing lobs behind big men in the middle for layups and dunks. Meanwhile, Allen was quick to shoot the 3 in the second half. All but one of his 15 attempts from the floor were from 3. He went 3 for 14 from behind the arc and finished with 15 points.
WHAT HE SAID (AND DIDN'T SAY)
"Battle is one of the best players in the country...He's a big-time player. I love Tyus," Coach K said. "I love their team. I love their coach even more. He does such a great job with them." But when asked about Kansas, Krzyzewski demurred, saying it was out of respect for Syracuse and his good buddy, Boeheim. Krzyzewski said he'll talk KU Saturday.
UP NEXT
Syracuse: Even if Battle declares for the NBA draft as an underclassman, the Orange probably returns everyone else in their seven-man rotation, and they bring in a top-20 recruiting class that includes two top-50 prospects.
Duke: The Blue Devils have won three of five all-time meetings against Kansas in the tournament, most recently in the 2003 Sweet 16.

Beard, Texas Tech oust Purdue 78-65 in NCAA East Region

Chris Beard did it to Purdue again.
The Texas Tech coach knocked the Boilermakers out of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, this time leading the third-seeded Red Raiders to a 78-65 victory to advance past the Sweet 16 for the first time in the basketball program's 93-year history.
"We just made the - what's it called? The Great Eight?" Beard asked his players at the postgame news conference.
"Elite," guard Keenan Evans corrected him.
"The Elite Eight our second year together," said Beard, who was with Arkansas-Little Rock when it beat Purdue in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament. "Why shouldn't we? We've got a great university. We play in the best league in college basketball. We've got really great players. We're blessed to be here, but I think we've earned the right to be here."
Evans had 12 of his 16 points in the second half, when Texas Tech scored 11 in a row to pull away. The Red Raiders (27-9) will play on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four against No. 1 seed Villanova, which advanced earlier Friday night with a 90-78 victory over West Virginia.
"They've been the No. 1 team the whole season and are great all-around," Evans said. "They have a great point guard and great bigs that can shoot the ball, so we will just have to get back in the film room and study up on them and get some rest."
Beard is in his second year in Lubbock after leaving Little Rock, which he left shortly after leading the Trojans to a double overtime upset over fifth-seeded Purdue two years ago. This one wasn't close, thanks to a 52 percent second-half shooting percentage and a 34-30 rebounding edge.
"Completely different game, different teams," Beard said, noting that four Red Raiders scored in double figures and another had nine points. "It's our formula. It's not a secret."
Second-seeded Purdue (30-7) was hoping to join Villanova in the Elite Eight, getting 30 points from Carsen Edwards and 12 points and 13 rebounds from Vincent Edwards.
But Beard was in their way again.
"We really played in spurts today, just really never got that consistency," Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. "They're a very talented team, very athletic team, very well-coached, good defensive team, and they obviously got the best of us today."
Texas Tech trailed for most of the first before scoring the last 10 points of the half to turn a five-point deficit into a 30-25 lead. The Red Raiders led 58-55 with 5:44 left when Evans hit two free throws and then a three pointer to start an 11-0 run that put the game away.
"I guess we can use it (as motivation), this feeling here," Carsen Edwards said. "To have this feeling here, you learn from it to not have it again."
Purdue center Isaac Haas, the team's No. 2 scorer and rebounder, could only be a cheerleader - and a one-armed cheerleader, at that. After breaking his right elbow in the first-round game against Cal State-Fullerton, he tried to convince Painter he could play; the Purdue engineering department even pitched in, designing a special brace for his right arm.
But Haas remained on the bench, replaced by Matt Haarms, a redshirt freshman who at 7-foot-3 measures an inch taller but at 40 pounds lighter is hardly the force under the basket of that his senior teammate has been.
Haarms finished with four points and three rebounds.
"I hate to see great players not be able to play late in the season," Beard said. "So we feel for Purdue not being full-strength."

Villanova back in Elite 8 as 3s spoil W. Virginia pressure

Villanova's 3-point party rolled past the intense pressure of West Virginia to bring the Wildcats to the doorstep of another Final Four two seasons after winning a national championship.
The top-seeded Wildcats continued their outside feast in the NCAA Tournament, downing the fifth-seeded Mountaineers 90-78 on Friday night to earn their second trip to the regional finals in three seasons.
Jalen Brunson led Villanova with 27 points and Omari Spellman had 18 with eight rebounds as Villanova overcame the West Virginia press by hitting 13 of 24 shots from 3-point range.
Daxter Miles had 16 points to lead West Virginia. Jevon Carter and Sagaba Konate added 12 each.
Villanova (33-4) has now made 44 3-pointers for the tournament. The outside barrage helped the Wildcats overcome 16 turnovers and played into their Sweet 16 plan for their opponents nicknamed "Press Virginia": Attack the stifling defense head-on.
"What a game, man. I hope that looked as good as it did from the bench, man," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "That was the most physically demanding, mentally draining 40 minutes we've played in a long time. They are so relentless."
The Wildcats struggled at times, especially in the first half, but dug out of a six-point hole in the second half with an 11-0 run.
The Mountaineers (26-11) stayed close throughout, ramping up the pressure and making Villanova play faster than it wanted to early. But foul trouble throughout the second half was too much for West Virginia to overcome after it gave up the lead.
Carter was called for his third with 17:33 left in the game. That was followed by Miles being whistled for his third and fourth fouls over a two minute stretch that sent him to the bench with 15 minutes remaining.
Coach Bob Huggins said the fouls "absolutely" stifled the Mountaineers' ability to keep pressure on Villanova.
"When the whistle keeps blowing it really takes away your aggression," he said.
West Virginia adjusted for a while, taking advantage of a more than three-minute Villanova scoring drought to take a 60-54 edge with just over 11 minutes left.
But Villanova heated up again. Its 11-point run was capped by a thunderous block and dunk on the other end by Omari Spellman that pushed the Wildcats back in front 65-60.
The Wildcats kept the momentum going, stretching the lead to 76-66 on a 3-pointer by Brunson.
"The deeper you go, the better the teams are going to be," Brunson said. "For us, most importantly, nothing changes no matter who we play, where we play, what time we play. We play every game like it's our last."
West Virginia never got closer than 4 points the rest of the way.
"I felt like we gave it everything we had," Carter said. "We just didn't make shots tonight and Villanova did."
Villanova led 44-42 at the half after a fast-paced opening 20 minutes. Brunson led all scorers with 16 points in the half, with West Virginia getting 11 points from Daxter Miles.
The Wildcats came out firing, connecting on their first seven field goals. They handled the Mountaineers' pressure well early. But the Wildcats had three turnovers over a 65-second stretch during an 8-0 Mountaineers run that put them in front 33-30.
Wright said he never lost faith in his team.
"I just looked at Jalen, Mikal (Bridges) and Phil (Booth) and I could see in their eyes we were good," he said.
BIG PICTURE
West Virginia: It's a tough loss for the Mountaineers, but it doesn't diminish the incredible effort by a senior class that reached the Sweet 16 three times in four years.
Villanova: The Wildcats are primed for another title run with their talent led by player of the year contender Brunson, the experience of the 2016 title and the lessons learned from early tournament departures in several years, including a second-round loss to Wisconsin last year.
MILESTONE WATCH
The Wildcats' 13 3-pointers give them 432 for the season, putting them 11 away from a Division I record. VMI hit 442 3-pointers in 2006-07.
NO REGRETS
Despite the outcome, Carter said he is proud of his classmates' four-year run. Friday's game marked the 10th career NCAA Tournament game for Carter and Miles - tying them for the most in school history.
Carter said the tournament will always mean a lot to both of them.
"It's everything. Everybody is in tune with March Madness. I feel like it's bigger than the NBA playoffs," he said. "Anything can happen in March. ... Unfortunately we lost in the Sweet 16."
UP NEXT
Villanova awaits the winner of Texas Tech and Purdue in Sunday's regional final.

Sanity check: Kansas holds on for 80-76 win over Clemson

For the third year in a row, Kansas made it through the Sweet 16 - although not before Clemson tried its hardest to add another wild chapter to an already unbelievable tournament.
The top-seeded Jayhawks brought at least a temporary halt to the insanity of this March, withstanding a ferocious rally by fifth-seeded Clemson on Friday for a too-close-for-comfort, 80-76 victory.
Malik Newman led the Jayhawks (30-7) with 17 points in a one-time runaway that got much closer and, quite frankly, won't mean much to KU fans if their team can't finish the job in the Midwest Region final Sunday. The Jayhawks will play Duke in what will be the nation's only 1 vs. 2 regional final; the Blue Devils beat Syracuse 69-65.
As a top seed the last two seasons, Kansas made it through the regional semifinals, only to flop a game shy of the Final Four both times. In fact, this marks the sixth time Bill Self's team has been seeded first since KU won it all in 2008; the Jayhawks haven't made the Final Four one of those times.
"I think about it all the time. I just told the guys in the locker room...this year, we've got to get over the hump," said senior Devonte' Graham, who had 16 points.
Still, it could've ended on Friday - in horrifying fashion - after Clemson stormed back from a 20-point deficit that stunned a crowd filled mostly with fans from Lawrence and surrounding areas, which are only a few hours from Omaha.
"We just kind of played not to lose down the stretch," Self said.
Clemson trailed 62-42, but climbed to within six with 2:27 left. Graham's offensive rebound after a Svi Mykhailiuk miss at the 1:57 mark allowed the Jayhawks to run almost a minute off the clock.
Kansas didn't score after Graham's rebound, and the Tigers got the next board for a chance to cut it to a one-possession game. But Shelton Mitchell and Gabe DeVoe each missed from beyond the arc. From there, Kansas overcame a dogged Clemson press just long enough to ensure that the Tigers couldn't pull any closer until the tail end.
DeVoe had a career-high 31 for Clemson (25-10), which couldn't replicate the magic it showed in beating Auburn by 31 to reach its first Sweet 16 in 21 years.
"We didn't have our best game. Sometimes that's not easy to keep fighting like that," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.
PIVOTAL MOMENT
Clemson had scored five straight points to cut KU's lead to 35-27 late in the first half when Elijah Thomas, after a review, was called for a flagrant foul. Silvio De Sousa knocked down the free throws, Lagerald Vick buried a 3 and Kansas cruised into halftime ahead 40-27. Vick, Newman and Graham then opened the second half with 3s to extend the lead to 20.
BIG PICTURE
One of the most encouraging signs for Kansas was that it jumped ahead by 13 at halftime despite a 1-for-7 start by Graham, the Big 12 player of the year. Big man Udoka Azubuike looked strong in his first start of the tournament with 14 points and 11 rebounds in a tournament-high 25 minutes.
FOR REAL?
What a wild 12 months it's been for Brownell, the Clemson coach. He entered the season on the hot seat after six straight seasons without even making the NCAA Tournament. But the Tigers reached the regional semifinals for the first time since 1997 even after losing Donte Grantham, arguably their best player. The big question next is whether 2017-18 will prove a one shot wonder or the start of something big in the Upstate. Clemson has spent money on facilities to become a basketball school - but will it ever get out of the shadow cast by Dabo Swinney's football team?
TIGERS CLAW BACK
For the final 12 minutes, Clemson played like the team that throttled Auburn to earn a crack at the Jayhawks. The Tigers didn't turn it over once down the stretch, and they finished 14 of 19 at the free throw line - which was a strong point all year. But while Kansas hardly looked like a No. 1 seed down the stretch, it did improve to 25-1 this season when leading at the break.
DOKE LOOKED DOPE
Azubuike finished with his sixth double-double of the season. His presence forced Clemson to give more space to KU's shooters, who went 10 of 22 on 3s.
HE SAID IT
"This is the team everyone would have thought ... would not be in this game. We've got a legitimate shot to go to San Antonio. I think we'll play with no `what ifs.' I think we'll be loose," Self said.
VEGAS KNOWS
Kansas came in as a 4 1/2-point favorite - a number that didn't look to be in play ... until it was.