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SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2018 THE DAILY TIMES MARCH MADNESS | 3B

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Kansas brings sanity back in win over Clemson


BY LUKE MEREDITH NCAA MEN’S SWEET 16 shy of the Final Four both clock. The Tigers got the
AP Sports Writer NO. 1 KANSAS 80, times. ball with a chance to cut it
No. 5 Clemson 76 In fact, this is the sixth to a one-possession game,
OMAHA, Neb. — No cra- time Bill Self ’s team has but misfired on back-to-
zy comeback story here. mean much if KU can’t fin- been seeded first since back 3s. From there, Kansas
To p - s e e d e d K a n s a s ish the job in the regional winning it all in 2008; the overcame a dogged Clem-
brought at least a tempo- final Sunday. Jayhawks haven’t made the son press just long enough
rary halt to the insanity this For the third straight year Final Four one of those to ensure that the Tigers
March, withstanding a wild as a No. 1 seed, KU made its times. couldn’t pull any closer
comeback from fifth-seed- way through the Sweet 16. It could’ve ended Friday. until the final buzzer. Kan-
ed Clemson for a too-close- Getting to the Final Four Clemson trailed 62-42 sas came into the game a 4
for-comfort, 80-76 victory has been a different story midway through the first ½-point favorite.
on Friday. — and the Jayhawks are on half, but climbed to with- Gabe DeVoe had a career-
Malik Newman led the the doorstep once again. in six with 2:27 left. But high 31 for Clemson (25-10),
Jayhawks (30-7) with 17 As a top seed the last two thanks to Devonte’ Gra- which couldn’t replicate
points in a one-time run- seasons, Kansas made it ham’s offensive rebound the magic it showed in beat- NATI HARNIK | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
away that got much closer through the regional semi- with 1:57 left, the Jayhawks ing Auburn by 31 to reach KANSAS’ UDOKA AZUBUIKE (LEFT) passes around Clemson’s David
and, quite frankly, won’t finals, only to flop a game ran almost a minute off the its first Sweet 16 in 21 years. Skara Friday in Omaha, Neb.

College Loyola looks


hoops wins to test K-State
in the end strong D in
regional final
L et’s not gloss over college
basketball’s myriad prob-
lems.
Rampant corruption. Aca-
demic malfeasance. One-and-
BY CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
dones posing as actual stu-
dents. ATLANTA — Kansas State has
Yet somehow, as this thor- been an afterthought through the
oughly maddening March has NCAA Tournament — until now.
shown, the game finds a way to Even in the South Region, where
rise above it. the top four seeds were bounced
Instead of sniping about FBI out on the first weekend — a first
wiretaps and coaches in hand- for the NCAA Tournament — no
cuffs, one was really talking about these
we’re Wildcats.
swooning There were those other Wild-
over Sis- cats from Kentucky, which Kansas
ter Jean — State sent home; the comeback
Loyola’s kids from Nevada and of course
98-year- the feel-good story of the tourna-
old, ment, Loyola-Chicago.
wheel- “We played with a chip on our
chair- shoulder throughout the whole
bound season, just trying to prove people
team wrong,” said Kansas State guard
PAUL chaplain,
cheering
Kamau Stokes. “And I feel like
we’re showing them.”
NEWBERRY on her
beloved
The ninth-seeded Wildcats are
indeed making a point. And so is
Ram- CHARLES KRUPA | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS their opponent Saturday night,
blers — and gritty squads such VILLANOVA’S PHIL BOOTH (5) drives against West Virginia’s Jevon Carter Friday in Boston. No. 11 Loyola.
as K-State , which handed Ken- It is an unlikely pairing to play

Villanova 3s shoot down


tucky’s latest collection of fabu- for a Final Four berth.
lous freshman an earlier-than- No. 9 vs. No. 11 in the Elite Eight,
expected launch to their NBA another NCAA Tournament first.
careers. But then again, perhaps Kansas
No one could’ve seen this State’s path to the regional final

West Virginia pressure


coming. should not be seen as a surprise.
But, really, we should have. The Wildcats have brought back-
College hoops has faced a alley toughness to the Elite Eight.
gauntlet of trials and tribula- They don’t back down.
tions over the years — many They are winning with consis-
of them self-inflicted — from tently strong defense that is prov-
the game-fixing scandals of ing to be the equalizer against
the 1950s to Len Bias’ cocaine- BY KYLE HIGHTOWER NCAA MEN’S SWEET 16 thunderous block and dunk on higher seeds.
fueled death to the senseless AP Sports Writer the other end by Omari Spell- “I don’t feel like anyone should
slaying of a Baylor player shin- NO. 1 VILLANOVA 90, man that pushed the Wildcats pay attention to seeds because
ing the light on a sleezebag pro- BOSTON — Villanova’s No. 5 West Virginia 78 back in front 65-60. they are just opinions, you know?
gram of epic proportions. 3-point party rolled past the Th e Wi l d c a t s ke p t t h e Opinions,” Stokes said. “The Top
Basketball survived them all. pressure of West Virginia to “What a game, man. I hope momentum going, stretching 25 is all opinions and then of
It will survive the current bring the Wildcats to the door- that looked as good as it did the lead to 76-66 on a 3-pointer course you have to win to get to
array of ills. step of another Final Four two from the bench, man,” Villanova by Brunson. this tournament. So, once you get
Perhaps as much as any time seasons after winning a national coach Jay Wright said. “That was West Virginia never got closer here, it’s like seeds don’t matter
in its history, the NCAA Tour- championship. the most physically demand- than 4 points the rest of the way. at this point.”
nament has produced an exqui- The top-seeded Wildcats con- ing, mentally draining 40 min- Villanova led 44-42 at the half Kansas State’s opponents can’t
site array of startling upsets, tinued their outside feast, down- utes we’ve played in a long time. after a fast-paced opening 20 win if they can’t score, and the
implausible comebacks and ing the fifth-seeded Mountain- They are so relentless.” minutes. Brunson led all scorers Wildcats (25-11) have held seven
heart-warming vignettes. eers 90-78 on Friday night to The Mountaineers (26-11) with 16 points in the half, with straight teams below 59 points.
For the first time ever, a No. earn their second trip to the stayed close throughout the West Virginia getting 11 points The latest demonstration of Kan-
16 seed (UMBC, short for the regional finals in three seasons. night, ramping up the pressure from Daxter Miles. sas State’s defensive prowess
University of Maryland, Bal- Jalen Brunson led Villanova and making Villanova play faster The Wildcats came out fir- came in Thursday night’s 61-58
timore County) beat a No. 1 with 27 points and Omari Spell- than it wanted to early. But foul ing, connecting on their first win over Kentucky, which was
seed (mighty Virginia, a unani- man had 18 with eight rebounds trouble throughout the second seven field goals. They han- held to a season scoring low.
mous choice as the best team as Villanova overcame the West half was too much for West Vir- dled the Mountaineers’ pres- Asked on Friday to define Kan-
in the land during the regular Virginia press by hitting 13 of 24 ginia to overcome after it gave sure well early. But the Wild- sas State basketball, junior Barry
season). Nevada stared down shots from 3-point range. up the lead. cats had three turnovers over Brown said “First off, it’s defend-
a 22-point deficit with 11 min- Jevon Carter and Sagaba Carter was called for his third a 65-second stretch during an ing. We take a lot of pride on
utes to go, pulling off a frenzied Konate each at 12 points to lead with 17:33 left in the game. That 8-0 Mountaineers run that put defense.”
rally that stunned Cincinnati. West Virginia. was followed by Daxter Miles them in front 33-30. Coach Bruce Weber said “there’s
Loyola, making it first tour- Villanova (33-4) has now made being whistled for his third and BIG PICTURE: West Virginia — no doubt” Brown is the team’s
nament appearance since the 47 3-pointers for the tourna- fourth fouls over a two min- It’s a tough loss for the Moun- defensive catalyst.
Reagan administration, walked ment. The outside shots helped ute stretch that sent him to the taineers, but it doesn’t diminish “When he was a freshman, I said,
a tightrope in three straight the Wildcats overcome 16 turn- bench with 15 minutes remain- the incredible effort by a senior who’s going to be our defensive
games and somehow survived overs. ing. class that reached the Sweet 16 stopper, and he’s very stubborn,”
them all — by a cumulative Villanova’s Sweet 16 plan for West Virginia was able to three times in four years. said Weber of Brown. “He’s a little
margin of four points. the team nicknamed “Press adjust for a while and took Villanova — The Wildcats are bit confident, overconfident, but
No matter how much they Virginia”: Attack the stifling advantage of a more than back in the Elite Eight for the he said ‘I am going to be, coach.’
try to tear it down, the game defense head-on. three-minute Villanova scor- first time since they won the ... He’s been the leader. Xavier
always wins in the end. The Wildcats struggled at ing drought to take a 60-54 edge national championship in 2016. (Sneed) has really taken some
times, especially in the first half, with just over 11 minutes left. UP NEXT: Villanova awaits the pride as the season has gone on in
PAUL NEWBERRY is a sports colum- but dug out of a six-point hole in But Villanova heated up again. winner of Texas Tech and Pur- being a stopper. We’ve convinced
nist for The Associated Press. the second half with an 11-0 run. Its 11-point run was capped by a due in Sunday’s regional final. him of that.”

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