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Kruger key in ousting Wisconsin

March 19, 2007|From the Associated Press

Kevin Kruger made his dad proud. And he made Nevada Las Vegas a winner again in the NCAA tournament.

Kruger connected on three consecutive three-point baskets late in the second half Sunday, and the Runnin' Rebels rallied to beat second-seeded Wisconsin, 74-68, in the second round of the Midwest Regional at Chicago.

The Badgers (30-6) became the highest-seeded team to lose in the tournament.

Seventh-seeded Nevada Las Vegas (30-6) led by 12 at the half, but Wisconsin rallied with 11 straight points. A 16-2 run gave the Badgers a five-point lead to the delight of their red-clad fans at the United Center.

But Kruger, who transferred from Arizona State to play his final season for his dad, Lon, delivered. After his three three-pointers, he was fouled on another long-range attempt and made all three free throws to make it 64-56 with a little more than three minutes left.

Wendell White, playing with sore ribs, led the Runnin' Rebels with 22 points. Kruger finished with 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Kammron Taylor was the Badgers' high scorer with 24, 19 in the second half.

Alando Tucker, the Big Ten player of the year and leading scorer in Wisconsin history, scored 17 points.

Florida 74, Purdue 67 -- Al Horford and Corey Brewer each scored 17 points, and the defending national champions withstood a game effort by the Boilermakers in a second-round game at New Orleans.

Ninth-seeded Purdue played just about how it wanted against Florida -- slowing down the tempo, rebounding with a smaller lineup and keeping the game close much of the way.

But the top-seeded Gators never panicked and made several clutch shots down the stretch to advance to the round of 16.

Horford had three key baskets in the final minutes, and Brewer made a spinning jump shot and then made six consecutive free throws to secure Florida's 14th consecutive postseason win.

The Gators (31-5) advanced to play fifth-seeded Butler in the Midwest Regional semifinals Friday at St. Louis.

Carl Landry led Purdue (22-12) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. David Teague and Chris Kramer had 14 each.

Florida trailed by five points in the first half and was down at halftime for the first time in nearly three weeks.

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