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Washington State is a strong finisher

March 16, 2007|Chris Dufresne | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Stanford had already lost -- big -- and Washington State was losing.

Was the Pacific 10 Conference going to be 0-2 in the NCAA tournament before 2 p.m. Pacific time Thursday?

It sure looked that way early, but third-seeded Washington State overcame an eight-point first-half deficit and rallied to defeat No. 14 Oral Roberts, 70-54, in a first-round East Regional game played at Arco Arena in Sacramento.

After a sluggish start, Washington State outscored Oral Roberts, 44-26, in a second half of near-flawless play. So what happened in the first half?

"Maybe it was tournament jitters," Washington State senior forward Ivory Clark said.

It was Washington State's first tournament appearance since 1994 and the Cougars' first victory since a first-round win over Weber State in 1983.

The momentum turned in the final seconds of the first half, when Taylor Rochestie's driving layup cut Oral Roberts' lead to four points.

Kyle Weaver then intercepted Yemi Ogunoye's inbounds pass and scored on a rousing dunk at the buzzer.

Washington State (26-7) then went on a 9-0 run to open the second half and that was pretty much the game.

Clark, coming off the bench, led Washington State with 19 points. He also had six rebounds, five blocked shots and, in the second half, did a great defensive job against Oral Roberts star Caleb Green, a three-time player of the year in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Green was held seven points below his average of 20 points, making only four of 16 shots.

"I wasn't really frustrated," Green said. "I tried to stay aggressive, but they really keyed on me, especially in the second half....

"They basically eliminated me as an offensive factor in the second half."

Ken Tutt led the Golden Eagles with 19 points.

Oral Roberts finished the season at 23-11.

-- Chris Dufresne

Vanderbilt 77, George Washington 44 -- Shan Foster scored 18 points and led the Commodores' impressive defensive effort in the first round at Sacramento.

George Washington (23-9) missed its first six shots and didn't get a field goal for nearly 6 1/2 minutes. The 11th-seeded Colonials then endured another 11 1/2 -minute stretch without a basket.

Derrick Byars scored 12 points for the Commodores (21-11).

George Washington committed 20 turnovers.

Georgetown 80, Belmont 55 -- Jessie Sapp scored a career-high 20 points and Jeff Green had 15 to help the second-seeded Hoyas defeat the Bruins at Winston-Salem, N.C.

Sapp made a career-high four three-pointers for the Hoyas (27-6), who advanced to the second round for the second straight year.

Roy Hibbert had 10 points and 13 rebounds for Georgetown, which won its 16th in 17 games by ending Belmont's seven-game winning streak and dealing the Bruins their second straight lopsided loss in the tournament.

Andrew Preston had 14 points for Belmont (23-10).

Boston College 84, Texas Tech 75 -- Sean Marshall scored 21 points at Winston-Salem, N.C., and the Eagles rallied to knock Bob Knight and the Red Raiders out of the NCAA tournament.

Marshall had 15 points in the second half. Tyrese Rice had 26 points for the seventh-seeded Eagles (21-11). Jared Dudley had 19 points, helping Boston College win its tournament opener for the fourth straight season. The Eagles will face Georgetown in the second round Saturday.

Martin Zeno scored 21 points for the Red Raiders (21-13).

The loss ended a season of highs and lows for Texas Tech, which had beaten Kansas and Texas A&M this year but also had some puzzling losses along the way. The Red Raiders made Knight the winningest coach in Division I men's history in January but also had a five-game losing streak later that month that put their tournament hopes in jeopardy.

Michigan State 61, Marquette 49 -- Raymar Morgan scored eight of his 14 points during a dominating first half, and the Spartans' suffocating defense was too much for the Golden Eagles at Winston-Salem, N.C.

Drew Neitzel and Marquise Gray had 12 points apiece for the ninth-seeded Spartans (23-11), who shot nearly 54% from the field and never trailed.

The nation's fourth-best scoring defense held Marquette scoreless for almost 10 minutes to start the game.

Dominic James scored 18 points for Marquette (24-10).

North Carolina 86, Eastern Kentucky 65 -- Tyler Hansbrough had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help the Tar Heels (29-6) defeat the Colonels (16-12) at Winston-Salem, N.C., giving Coach Roy Williams an NCAA-record 18 straight years with at least one tournament victory.

Reyshawn Terry had 18 points on eight-for-nine shooting for the Tar Heels, who advanced to face Michigan State in the second round Saturday.

Darnell Dialls scored 17 points to lead Eastern Kentucky.

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