Sweet 16 recap
#13 Whittier ended the run of W. New England with smothering second-half defense and an early bevy of 3-point buckets in that half. An 8-0 run to start the second half gave Whittier the lead for good, WNE never got closer than 2 after that. Five players reach double figures for Whittier, which also holds WNE to 39.1% shooting for the game. They will face #5 Willamette in the regional finals. Howard Arnold's conventional 3-point play with 12 seconds remaining put the No. 2 seed ahead and Keith Flor's short jump hook with 3 seconds remaining rolled out to end the run by 11-seed Texas Lutheran, which had led for much of the second half. Tuan Johnson with 18 points for Willamette.
#24 Wentworth stunned top-seeded Vassar 89-69 to advance with ease. All five starters scored in double figures for Wentworth, as well as Joseph Braund with 15 off the bench. Wentworth drilled 10-of-16 3-point attempts and conducted a passing clinic with 25 assists in the game. Remember, this was a 13 seed! Now they'll stare down #1 Greensboro. The top team in the land forced 14 second-half turnovers and held Ursinus to just 6-for-21 shooting over the final 20 minutes to pull away for the 81-71 victory. Five players in double figures for Greensboro.
We've heard no confirmed reports that Johnson and Wales head coach spasticity is on suicide watch, but can anyone really blame him if he was after last night's game? #6 Hardin-Simmons thumped the region's top seed 93-72. There might not be in 'I' in team, but there can't be any ugly with 'u'. JW was guilty of 28 turnovers in the game and was whistled for a whipping 35 personal fouls. The latter stat resulted in Hardin-Simmons shooting what may be a tournament-record 54 free throws in the game, happily converting 41 of them. Kevin Bell with 27 points in 21 minutes for the victors. That sets them up in a regional final against #4 Penn St. Altoona. Defense dominated the night for the defending champs in the regional semifinal as they scored a 60-50 win over Trinity. Dirk Gentry's 16 points and 11 rebounds helped PSA overcome a 35.7% shooting performance. Nearly half of the winner's points in the game were scored at the foul line where the team was 28-for-36. PSA also forced 18 turnovers and held Trinity to 36.6% shooting.
#14 Emory opened the second half with a 12-2 run to take control of its game against top-seeded Susquehanna, then held on for dear life down the waning minutes for a 58-55 lead. Emory never trailed in the second half, but did see Susquehanna climb all the way back from 12 points down to tie the contest late. The shooting numbers tell the story...55.6% for Emory, 37% for Susquehanna. They'll face #2 Buena Vista for a spot in the Final Four. BV grabbed a seven-point halftime lead and never allowed CSU, Eastbay to get closer than 3 in the second half in an 89-79 win. Ruben Sabia with 22 points for Buena Vista. Robert Goff added 19 off the bench.
Just an aside note...all four Final Four predictions are playing for regional titles tonight. Also, the two schools featured in the Way Too Early Final Four but not selected postseason are also still playing. Who says we don't give you quality prognostication in these parts?