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SOUTH REGIONAL ROUNDUP

Purdue Finds It Has More in Rout of Louisiana State

March 22, 2003|From Associated Press

With the game tied at halftime, Gene Keady dangled a prize in front of his Purdue players.

"It was like, 'You do want to play Texas, don't you?' " he said.

The ninth-seeded Boilermakers answered their coach with an inspired performance. They scored the first 13 points of the second half to begin a 28-8 tear for an 80-56 victory over eighth-seeded Louisiana State on Friday at Birmingham, Ala., in the first round of the South Regional.

Purdue (19-10) meets top-seeded Texas in the second round Sunday. Keady was uncharacteristically looking ahead at halftime.

"I don't know why I did that," Keady said. "It's not like me."

Even Purdue's blunders looked brilliant coming out of the locker room.

Nobody went up to catch Willie Deane's alley-oop pass, but it bounced off the glass and right into Chris Booker's arms. Booker hit a bank shot and the ensuing free throw, then freshman Melvin Buckley drained two three-point baskets for a 48-34 lead.

The game was tied at 32 at halftime, but was one-sided after that.

Buckley finished with a career-high 20 points, matching his combined total from the last six games and nine more than his previous best. With LSU (21-11) focused on stopping Booker and Deane, Buckley made five of six three-pointers and made all three in the second half.

Texas 82, North Carolina Asheville 61 -- Brandon Mouton scored 15 points, Brian Boddicker had 14 points and 12 rebounds and James Thomas had 13 points as the top-seeded Longhorns (23-6) routed the 16th-seeded Bulldogs (15-17) at Birmingham, Ala.

T.J. Ford was at the forefront the whole way. The 5-foot-10 sophomore showed why he might be the best guard in the country, zipping passes from all angles. Ford finished with only eight points, but had 11 assists.

Michigan State 79, Colorado 64 -- Playing with the poise and tenacity expected of them in March under Coach Tom Izzo, the seventh-seeded Spartans (20-12) had little trouble getting past the 10th-seeded Buffaloes (20-12) at Tampa, Fla.

Freshman Erazem Lorbek led a balanced offense with 17 points, Chris Hill had 15 and Alan Anderson had 14 for Michigan State.

Michigan State improved to 17-4 in the tournament under Izzo, whose .809 winning percentage is the best among active coaches.

Florida 85, Sam Houston State 55 -- Sophomore David Lee scored a career-high 23 points to help the second-seeded Gators (25-7) over the 15th-seeded Bearkats (23-7) at Tampa, Fla.

Florida was the only team to come into the NCAA tournament with three consecutive losses. The Gators play Michigan State in the second round Sunday.

Xavier 71, Troy State 59 -- Handed their highest seed ever in the NCAA tournament, the third-seeded Musketeers (26-5) got through a sluggish start and held off the 14th-seeded Trojans (26-6) at Nashville.

David West, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, was slowed by foul trouble and scored only 12 points. Lionel Chalmers made five three-pointers and led Xavier with 20 points. The Musketeers play sixth-seeded Maryland Sunday.

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