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Arizona Has Happy Ending

March 14, 1997|From Associated Press

MEMPHIS — So, Arizona comes into the NCAA tournament with another high-fiving, high-flying team and runs into a walk-it-up, control outfit in the first round.

What's wrong with this picture?

Nothing, except how it comes out.

No. 4-seeded Arizona used a 22-4 run over the final 7 1/2 minutes for a 65-57 victory over No. 13-seeded South Alabama on Thursday night in the NCAA Southeast Regional.

It was the game the Jaguars wanted, if not the result.

"They love that pace," said Arizona Coach Lute Olson, whose fourth-seeded Wildcats (20-9) will play College of Charleston in the second round Saturday. "We knew that it was going be a war."

It was, for 32 1/2 minutes of half-court basketball that was driving the Wildcats nuts and had them down by 10 points and facing their fourth first-round loss in the last six years.

Then Arizona's presses and traps forced the the Jaguars (23-7) into mistakes that they had been avoiding. South Alabama committed five of its 14 turnovers during the Arizona run.

"You could see that guys on their team didn't want to handle the ball like they did in the first half," said forward Michael Dickerson, who led Arizona with 16 points.

College of Charleston 75, Maryland 66--Stacy Harris scored 22 points for the No. 12-seeded Cougars (29-2), who extended the nation's longest winning streak to 23 games and added to NCAA tradition by beating the No. 5 Terrapins (21-11).

It is the ninth year in a row that a 12th-seeded team has defeated a fifth-seeded one.

Charleston used a 14-2 second-half run to take a 49-40 lead, with Rodney Conner scoring five of the points.

Purdue 83, Rhode Island 76--Brad Miller scored 31 points and had eight rebounds for the No. 8-seeded Boilermakers (18-11), who ended regulation time with a three-point basket from Brian Cardinal, then began the overtime with his field goal.

By defeating the No. 9-seeded Rams (20-9), the Boilermakers advanced to a game against No. 1 Kansas.

Kansas 78, Jackson State 64--The No. 16-seeded Tigers (14-16) couldn't deal with Raef LaFrentz, the Big 12's player of the year, who had 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. And they couldn't deal with Scot Pollard, who had 12 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks for Kansas (33-1).

Rounding things out, the other front-line Jayhawk, Paul Pierce, had 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.

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