Boston College keeps tourney dreams alive

Posted: Thursday, March 07, 2002

Boston College helped its NCAA tournament hopes Wednesday by rallying from a double-digit deficit to beat Rutgers 60-55 in the opening game of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The victory put the Eagles (20-10) in the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday against No. 7 Pittsburgh. That will be a rematch of last year's championship game, which BC won 79-57.

The Eagles made just five field goals in the first half, shooting 15.2 percent, the lowest half in the history of the tournament. Rutgers (18-12) led 33-22 at the break.

''I was wondering what kind of coaching job I was doing,'' BC coach Al Skinner said. ''I told that to my assistants. I was hoping we wouldn't play that kind of half again.''

They didn't.

Troy Bell and Kenny Walls, who each shot 1-for-10 in the first half, made quick baskets in the second half to get BC back in the game. BC's Ryan Sidney had a game-high 20 points.

Georgetown 68, Providence 67

The Hoyas (19-10) also boosted their NCAA bid chances -- but just barely.

Wesley Wilson's dunk with 3.8 seconds left gave Georgetown the victory, allowing the Hoyas (19-10) to move on to the quarterfinals against No. 20 Miami (23-6).

Villanova 78, Syracuse 64

Gary Buchanan scored 21 points, and Villanova closed the game with a 14-3 run, dealing a huge blow to the Orangemen's hopes for an NCAA at-large bid.

The Wildcats (17-11) advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals and will play No. 19 Connecticut (21-6), which won the conference's East Division.

Syracuse (20-11) lost its fourth straight game and ninth of its last 13, weak numbers for the NCAA selection committee to mull over as the field of 65 is settled. It was Syracuse's first loss in five opening-round games.

Preston Shumpert's turnaround jumper with 4:00 left brought Syracuse within 64-61, but Buchanan hit a jumper 48 seconds later to start Villanova's closing run.

Shumpert had 21 points for the Orangemen, who shot 51.9 percent from the field in the first half (14-for-27), but that fell off to 31.6 in the second (12-for-38).

St. John's 64, Seton Hall 58

St. John's missed its first 18 shots of the second half and went scoreless for 9:23 before recovering to beat Seton Hall.

The victory moved the Red Storm (20-10) into the quarterfinals against Notre Dame. Marcus Hatten led St. John's with 16 points, and John Allen had 17 points for Seton Hall (12-18).

Conference USA

Louisville 110, TCU 86

At Cincinnati, Reece Gaines had 30 points and 10 assists, and Bryant Northern scored a career-high 25 to lead Louisville (18-11) past Texas Christian (16-15).

Louisville made 15 of 30 3-pointers, as it made another breakthrough in coach Rick Pitino's first season.

Houston 58, East Carolina 49

Louis Truscott scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the second half as Houston (17-13) overcame a 13-point deficit late in the first half.

Houston earned a quarterfinal matchup against Memphis (22-8) on Thursday.

South Florida 65, UAB 62

Altron Jackson scored 19 points, including a 3-pointer that gave South Florida the lead for good, at 61-59.

B.B. Walden had 13 rebounds and 12 points for South Florida (19-11), which will play regular-season champion Cincinnati in the quarterfinals Thursday night.

Tulane 50, Saint Louis 47

Tulane survived a furious finish, including a television replay of a shot at the buzzer, to beat Saint Louis.

With Tulane leading 48-44, Chris Braun hit a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left to pull Saint Louis within one.

After Brandon Spann made both free throws to put Tulane ahead 50-47, Marque Perry of Saint Louis made a 3-pointer from the top of the key that, if counted, would have sent the game into overtime.

Atlantic 10

Massachusetts 73, George Washington 62

At Philadelphia, Anthony Anderson had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, as Massachusetts advanced to the quarterfinals in Philadelphia, where it will play top-seeded Xavier on Thursday.

Shannon Crooks scored 14 points, Micah Brand had 11, and Kitwana Rhymer added 10 for Massachusetts (13-15). Chris Monroe had 19 points to lead George Washington (12-16).

Dayton 90, Rhode Island 71

D.J. Stelly had a career-high 19 points, going 7-of-11 from the field, for Dayton (19-9), which will play Saint Joseph's in the quarterfinals. Troy Riley led Rhode Island (8-20) with 17 points.

La Salle 83, Fordham 63

Mike Cleaves had a season-high 27 points for the Explorers (14-16), who will face local rival Temple on Thursday.

Fordham (8-20) finished the year on a 10-game losing streak and has lost 23 straight games in Philadelphia, dating to 1990.

St. Bonaventure 81, Duquesne 66

J.R. Bremer had 22 points and Vidal Massiah added 21 as St. Bonaventure beat Duquesne.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Hampton 93, Morgan State 70

At Richmond, Va., Tommy Adams scored 21 points for top-seeded Hampton (24-6), which led 40-34 at halftime. Morgan State (3-25) was led by Reggie Winkfield's 15 points.

Northeast Conference

Central Connecticut 78, Quinnipiac 71

At New Britain, Conn., Damian Battles tied his career high with 27 points to lead Central Connecticut (27-4, 20-1) to its 19th straight win, the longest streak in the nation. The Blue Devils made the tournament for the second time in three years.

Southland ConferenceP>

McNeese St. 71, Lamar 57

At Lake Charles, La., Raynell Brewer had 12 points and seven rebounds for McNeese State (20-8) in the semifinal game.

Louisiana-Monroe 64, Texas-San Antonio 62

At Monroe, La., Wojciech Myrda blocked three shots in the final 26 seconds as Louisiana-Monroe beat Texas-San Antonio.

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