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Duke blown away by Arizona, Jimmer's NCAA career comes to end in Sweet 16

Kevin McGuire's picture

Thursday night's slate of Sweet 16 games resulted in three upsets, including number one seed Duke getting blown away by fifth seed Arizona 93-77.

(5) Arizona Wildcats 93, (1) Duke Blue Devils 77
West Region - Anaheim, CA

Mike Krzyzewski's quest to becoming college basketball's all-time leader in coaching wins will have to wait until next season after Duke was bewildered in the second half in Anaheim against Arizona. Duke led the Wildcats by six at halftime but gave up 55 points in the second half of the upset of the night in the Sweet 16.

"The tournament is cruel," Krzyzewski said. "It's an abrupt end for everybody when you don't win."

Derrick Williams of Arizona was the story of the night, scoring 32 points and 13 rebounds. With 25 points in the first half (out of Arizona's 38 total points) Williams kept Arizona in it until halftime and the rest of his team took care of business in the second half. Williams hit five of six from three-point range to set the tone for the Wildcats. Duke freshman Kyrie Irving led the Blue Devils in scoring with 28 points while seeing his most action since returning form a foot injury. After the game Irving suggested he had planned to return to Duke for another season rather than pursue a professional career. "I could definitely see myself wearing a Duke uniform again," he said. "I don't want to take it off right now."

Arizona's 93 points were the most allowed by Duke in the NCAA tournament since Providence beat the Blue Devils 98-87 in 1997. For Duke, the loss is the program's fifth loss as a number one seed in the Sweet 16, which is the most in NCAA history (Syracuse and Kansas each have two losses).

With the win Arizona advances to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. They will play the Connecticut Huskies Saturday night.

(3) Connecticut Huskies 74, (2) San Diego State Aztecs 67
West Region - Anaheim, CA

Big East champion Connecticut won their first Sweet 16 game as a lower seed Thursday night as Kemba Walker scored a game-high 36 points to lead the Huskies over the San Diego State Aztecs in Anaheim. Walker's 36 points tied a school record for an NCAA tournament game and Jeremy Lamb scored 24 points to help Connecticut hang on for a victory.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can do," said Walker after the game. "Whether it's scoring, talking, getting their confidence up or giving an assist, I'm just trying to do whatever is possible to enhance this team."

D.J. Gay scored 16 points for San Diego State, who was playing in their first Sweet 16 game. The Aztecs as a team failed to convert on free throws by hitting on six of 13 foul shots while Connecticut converted on 75% of their foul shots (12-of-16). The Huskies also were much more successful from three-point range, connecting on eight of 16 while San Diego State was just seven of 22 from three-point range.

The Big East started with eleven teams in the NCAA men's basketball tournament but entered the Sweet 16 with just two schools alive. Connecticut advances to the Elite Eight with Thursday night's victory and Marquette will look to stay alive Friday night when they face second seeded North Carolina in Newark, New Jersey.

(2) Florida Gators 83, (3) BYU Cougars 74 - Overtime
Southeast Region - New Orleans, LA

No college basketball player had taken the nation by storm the way BYU's Jimmer Fredette did, but his collegiate career has come to an end after BYU fell in overtime to the Florida Gators 83-74 Thursday night. Fredette, the nation's leading scorer, led all players in scoring with 32 points but his struggles from three-point range (three of 15) left a stain on what will be his final college basketball game.

"It was just a little frustration, just because that's what happens sometimes during basketball games," Fredette said. "But I tried to keep an even keel, and we were still right in there at the end of the game. We just didn't win."

For Florida it was more of a team effort to pull out a win and return to the Elite Eight. Alex Tyrus was one of four Florida players to score double digits and his 17 rebounds led all players. Kenny Boynton hit a game-high four three pointers and Chandler Parsons game-high seven assists helped move the ball around the court for the Gators.

Florida will face Butler, who upset Wisconsin.

(8) Butler 61, (4) Wisconsin (54)
Southeast Region - New Orleans, LA

If it is March then Butler must be pulling off upsets on a regular basis. A year removed from playing for the national championship, Butler is returning to the Elite Eight after upsetting the Big Ten's Wisconsin 61-54 Thursday night in New Orleans.

"A lot of people just ignored us and said, 'Aw, they'll probably lose in the first or second round,'" Butler center Andrew Smith said. "Here we are again, trying to prove everybody wrong. We'll try to win three more."

Butler has won two straight games against higher seeds including a victory against Pittsburgh from the Big East, the Southeast Region's top team. Thursday night's win against Wisconsin was won by seven points, matching the total margin of victory from Butler's last four tournament wins. "Obviously, we're thrilled to still be playing," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "I don't think that this group goes into games not believing, and I don't think that this group came here not believing. And so we're going to see if we can't try to get one on Saturday and move on."

Matt Howard led Butler in scoring with 20 points and in rebounding with 12 rebounds. Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor led the Badgers with 22 points but as has been a flaw in their team in recent weeks, Wisconsin's offense struggled mightily. The Badgers shot just 30.4% on the night and just 24.9% from three-point range (seven of 29).

Image Source: SportsLogos.net

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