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Ncaa Tournament

South Roundup

Gonzaga finally finds itself late

March 20, 2009|Associated Press

Josh Heytvelt scored 22 points -- seven during a decisive late run -- to lead fourth-seeded Gonzaga to a 77-64 victory at Portland, Ore., over a determined but ultimately overwhelmed Akron team in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Micah Downs scored 15 points for the Bulldogs (27-5), who won for the 19th time in 20 games. Gonzaga is in its 11th consecutive NCAA tournament but had lost in the first round of the last two.

Getting zapped in the first round by the 13th-seeded Zips seemed possible for a while. Akron (23-13) was up by six points in the second half.

Nate Linhart scored 13 points in the first half but had no field goals after halftime for the Zips.

No. 12 Western Kentucky 76, No. 5 Illinois 72 -- The Hilltoppers (25-8), who made an unexpected run in the NCAA tournament last year, pulled off a first-round upset of the Illini (24-10) at Portland.

Steffphon Pettigrew had 17 points to lead Western Kentucky, which led by as many as 17 points but had to hold off a late charge by Illinois.

No. 2 Oklahoma 82, No. 15 Morgan State 54 -- Blake Griffin had 28 points and 13 rebounds and survived an ugly incident that got another player ejected as the Sooners (28-5) beat the Bears (23-12) at Kansas City, Mo.

Griffin took a hard tumble when Morgan State's Ameer Ali flipped him over his back and on to the court in the second half after the two became entangled. Ali was immediately ejected.

No. 10 Michigan 62, No. 7 Clemson 59 -- Manny Harris scored 21 points and the Wolverines (21-13) stymied the Tigers (23-9) at Kansas City with their 1-3-1 defense, then survived a late scare in their first NCAA tournament game in 11 years.

Michigan showed little sign of nerves in its first NCAA game since a booster scandal rocked the program in the 1990s, handling -- for the most part -- Clemson's frenetic press to move onto the second round.

No. 1 North Carolina 101, No. 16 Radford 58 -- Tyler Hansbrough took quick care of his latest record pursuit, then helped the Tar Heels (29-4) beat the Highlanders at Greensboro, N.C., without one of their star playmakers.

Hansbrough set the Atlantic Coast Conference career scoring mark early and finished with 22 points.

The Tar Heels played without point guard Ty Lawson, who missed his third straight game because of a toe injury.

No. 8 Louisiana State 75, No. 9 Butler 71 -- Marcus Thornton scored 30 points as the Tigers (27-7) escaped the upset bid by the Bulldogs at Greenboro.

Matt Howard scored 22 points for Butler (26-6) before fouling out with 35.7 seconds left.

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