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NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT / AT BUFFALO, N.Y.

DePaul Defeats Dayton in 2 OTs

March 19, 2004|From Associated Press

Drake Diener scored 10 of his career-high 28 points in the second overtime Thursday night to lead DePaul to a 76-69 victory over Dayton, putting the Blue Demons (22-9) into the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 years.

DePaul (22-9) had lost four opening round games since defeating Memphis State, 66-63, in 1989.

Delonte Holland added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who will play Connecticut on Saturday. DePaul Coach Dave Leitao played for Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun at Northeastern and was an assistant under him at Northeastern and Connecticut before being hired by DePaul two years ago.

Both teams were awful from the foul line. DePaul made 23 of 40 free throws, and Andre Brown missed all 10. Dayton made only 12 of 23 attempts.

"We were shooting poorly from the line, but what kept us in was they were missing them too," Diener said. "Seeing one guy keep missing makes you think more, but once we started hitting a couple, it stabilized everything."

Diener put DePaul ahead for good when he made two free throws with 2:13 left in the second overtime for a 64-63 lead.

After Dayton's Mark Jones made a running jump shot with 33 seconds left to cut the lead to 71-69, Diener secured the victory by making two free throws with 31.4 seconds remaining.

"We fouled them twice in a row, fouling Drake, and that's like giving them a layup," Dayton Coach Brian Gregory said.

Gregory was mystified by the Flyers' troubles from the line.

"When games are tight you have to bear down and make free throws," he said. "We probably would have won the game easily if we would have had made our free throws."

Ramod Marshall led Dayton with 17 points, but the Flyers (24-9) lost their fourth consecutive tournament game. They haven't won since defeating Illinois in 1990.

Dayton had the final possession at the end of regulation and the first overtime, but Marshall's awkward three-point shot fell off the side of the rim, leaving the score tied at 55.

Tied at 59 with time running out in the first overtime, the Flyers' Monty Scott missed a three-point shot from the corner. DePaul got the ball with 0.4 seconds left but Quemont Greer's long inbounds pass hit off the bottom of the scoreboard suspended above center court.

That gave Dayton the ball at DePaul's end of the court, but Frank Iguodala was hit from behind by Holland and couldn't control Marshall's inbound pass into the lane.

Connecticut 70, Vermont 53 -- Connecticut overcame an early surge by upstart Vermont and rode the hot shooting of Rashad Anderson.

Big East champion Connecticut (28-6) improved to 12-0 in first-round games under Calhoun, who won his 30th tournament game to tie Adolph Rupp for 12th on the career list.

Vermont (22-9), champion of the America East, gave its loyal following a thrill, staying with Connecticut early despite the imposing odds of a 15th-seeded team pulling off an upset. It has been accomplished only four times.

The Huskies' depth meant they didn't have to rely on Ben Gordon to lead the way as he did in the Big East tournament when center Emeka Okafor sat out two games because of back problems. Anderson finished with 22 points, Gordon and Taliek Brown each scored 14, and Okafor had 15 points and 14 rebounds, his 21st double-double of the season, tops in the nation.

Taylor Coppenrath, the nation's third-leading scorer at 24.7 points a game, made his first shot, then missed 14 of his next 16 and scored only 12 points. T.J. Sorrentine led the Catamounts with 19.

A large contingent of Vermont fans cheered loudly as the Catamounts broke to a 7-0 lead.

David Hehn stole Connecticut's first pass and fed Coppenrath for a three-point basket only 30 seconds into the game. Germain Njila then made a jump shot at the shot-clock buzzer and two free throws by Coppenrath made it 7-0.

"I knew we were going to come back eventually if we got our offense running," Okafor said. "There was no need to get worried."

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