ANAHEIM, Calif. Arizona took all the drama out of this one early.
Luke Walton, Jason Gardner and the experienced Wildcats rolled right over Notre Dame 88-71 Thursday night to advance to the West Regional final.
This victory was much easier than Arizona's one-point win over Gonzaga in double overtime in the second round, an NCAA tournament classic.
The Wildcats, early season favorites to go all the way, are just one victory from the Final Four and three short of their second national title.
I think we're sitting in a great situation,'' said Gardner, who scored 19 points in his school-record 134th career start.
Walton, last seen sprawled in exhaustion on the floor in Salt Lake City after grabbing the final rebound in the second round, had 16 points, seven boards and eight assists for Arizona, which won the 1997 national title.
Channing Frye had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Hassan Adams added 14 points.
When we're playing on top of our game defensively and we're hitting shots on offense, we are a very hard team to play,'' Walton said.
Arizona will play Saturday against second-seeded Kansas, which beat No. 3 Duke 69-65. The Wildcats (28-3) are in the round of eight for the first time since 2001, when they lost to Duke in the national championship game.
The fifth-seeded Fighting Irish (24-10) had five victories over top 10 opponents their most in one season but their shooting didn't hold up against the nation's highest-scoring offense.
Nobody is crying in that locker room,'' Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. We had a very good year. Kind of new territory for our program getting to this spot.''
Freshman forward Torin Francis had 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting more than double his average and 10 rebounds to lead the Irish. Chris Thomas added 20 points.
The Irish opened on a tear, making their first five shots. Francis hit all eight of his attempts in the first 20 minutes.
We were going to have to shoot it fearlessly to stay with this team, but some of those quick shots turned into transition baskets and that hurt us,'' Brey said. We were going to have to score more than 71 points to make it interesting.''
The Wildcats used one of their patented scoring runs in the first half to break open a fast-paced game between two teams that like to run, score and shoot 3-pointers. The Irish made 10 3-pointers and Arizona hit seven.
The key to our run was just staying on them. They got a little tired and we kept on,'' Walton said.
Collison scored a career-high 33 points and had 19 rebounds to lead the Jayhawks to a 69-65 victory over Duke in the semifinals of the West Regional on Thursday night.
A 6-foot-9 forward that Mike Krzyzewski tried to recruit to Duke, Collison scored seven straight points to give second-seeded Kansas a 63-57 lead with 5:41 remaining. The Jayhawks were on top the rest of the way.
Kansas (28-7) will face Arizona on Saturday with the winner going to the Final Four. The top-seeded Wildcats (28-3) beat fifth-seeded Notre Dame 88-71 earlier Thursday at Anaheim Arena.
Williams, in his 15th year as coach of the Jayhawks, was 0-3 in matchups with Krzyzewski, including a 72-65 defeat in the national championship game 12 years ago.
Jones led third-seeded Duke (26-7) with 23 points and seven rebounds. Daniel Ewing added 13 points and Chris Duhon scored 12. Freshman J.J. Redick shot 2-of-16 in scoring only five points.
The game matched two of college basketballs top coaches and elite programs. Duke has been to 13 Final Fours nine under Krzyzewski and Kansas to 11 three under Williams.
Krzyzewskis 60 NCAA tournament wins are the second-most ever behind the 65 of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
As they have all during a remarkable winning streak, the Wildcats showed their balance and power Thursday night and gave the injured Bogans his wish.
With Bogans out because of a sprained left ankle, Marquis Estill scored a career-high 28 points and the Wildcats ran their winning streak to 26 games, holding off scrappy Wisconsin 63-57 in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Bogans, the Wildcats top scorer and floor leader, was hurt late in the first half. The star guards status for Saturday was uncertain.
Were not sure about the extent of Keiths injury, coach Tubby Smith said. We know its a high ankle sprain. They took an X-ray, so theres no crack or anything of that nature. Its just something hes going to have to get treatment on and hopefully hell be ready Saturday.
Top-seeded Kentucky (32-3) will try for another trip to the Final Four when it plays Marquette, which beat Pittsburgh 77-74 Thursday night.
Keith is a big part of the team, but weve got a lot of guys who can step up their roles. It was a prime example tonight, Wildcats guard Gerald Fitch said.
Dwyane Wade scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half to lead the third-seeded Golden Eagles to a 77-74 victory over No. 2 seed Pittsburgh on Thursday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals at the Metrodome.
Chevon Troutman scored seven of his 15 points in the final 2:56 to lead a furious Panthers rally, but Marquette hung on and Pittsburgh was eliminated in the round of 16 for the second straight season.
The lovable McGuire retired after coaching Marquette to the 1977 national title, and the Golden Eagles hadnt been to a regional final since.
Marquette (26-5) will play top-seeded Kentucky on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Final Four in New Orleans. The Wildcats beat Wisconsin 63-57 earlier.
Brandin Knight led Pittsburgh (28-5) with 16 points. His 3-point attempt with about four seconds to go could have tied it, but he came up short.
Travis Diener, who scored 55 points in the Golden Eagles first two victories over Holy Cross and Missouri, was held to four points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Trailing by 10 with 3:56 to go, the Panthers scored nine straight points to pull to 71-70 with 1:17 left.
Robert Jackson was called for traveling on the baseline with 2:20 remaining, and Troutman was fouled on an acrobatic layup at the other end. He completed the three-point play to make it 71-68.
Wade missed a one-handed jumper, and Troutmans layup pulled Pitt within one with 1:17 on the clock.
Scott Merritt who had 17 points made a pair of free throws to put Marquette up 73-70, and Knights layup cut the lead back to one.
But Wade, with the shot clock running down, drove the lane and sank a layup high off the glass to make it 75-72 with 23.4 seconds remaining.
Knight a 53 percent free-throw shooter for his career made two foul shots to cut the lead to 75-74.
Merritt hit a pair of free throws on the other end, bumping it back to 77-74 with 11.4 seconds to go.
Knight dribbled down the floor, pump-faked Wade in the air and launched a 3, but it banged off the rim. Todd Townsend grabbed the rebound and passed to Diener, who was fouled.
Diener missed both foul shots with 2.3 seconds left, but Carl Krausers half-court attempt at the buzzer sailed over the basket as gold-clad Marquette students stormed the court.
Wade, the Conference USA player of the year, offered a 20-minute glimpse of his all-around skills after a quiet first half.
With 9:55 remaining, he sliced to the basket and was fouled by Jaron Brown with the ball below his waist. Wade, somehow, hoisted a shot as he fell to the floor and after hearing the cheers when the ball went in popped to his feet with a grin and pointed to the crowd.
The three-point play gave the Golden Eagles a 60-51 lead.
Later, Merritt poked a ball away from Pitt to a streaking Wade, who threw down a tomahawk dunk on the other end with 4:49 remaining to give Marquette its biggest lead, 70-59.
Diener grinned and raised his arms every time Wade scored.
Marquette didnt have as loud a crowd as Wisconsin did in the first game, but fans of the Golden Eagles who made the five-hour trip west from Milwaukee on I-94 far outnumbered the Panthers backers.
And Wade got the crowd going early in the second half as Marquette opened with a 15-8 run.
He drove the lane and fed Jackson for easy layups on consecutive possessions, then hit four straight baskets the last a wide-open dunk off a steal and pass from Diener that made it 49-42 Golden Eagles.
Pittsburgh relied on a balanced attack as much as it did on defense this year, but the lack of a dominant scorer might have hurt the Panthers in this one. They were 4-for-14 from 3-point range.
Donatas Zavackas, the Panthers fourth-leading scorer, picked up his third foul early in the second half. He sat on the floor by himself at the end of Pitts bench with a scowl on his face for much of the half, and was scolded late in the game by Krauser.
When the game ended, Zavackas sat on the end of the bench without shaking anyones hand.
Wade has led Marquettes resurgence in coach Tom Creans fourth year. After a 15-14 mark in each of Creans first two seasons, the Golden Eagles went 26-7 last year and won the Conference USA regular-season title this year.
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