NCAA ACCtion: Duke, Florida State and North Carolina All Win in Second Round

March 18, 2011

Ten-Seeded Florida State Slips Past Past Texas A&M, 57-50

The suffocating defense that carried Florida State to the NCAA tournament squeezed Texas A&M right out of it.

Derwin Kitchen scored 15 points, and the 10th-seeded Seminoles won a tournament game for the first time in 13 years, knocking off the seventh-seeded Aggies 57-50 in the second round on Friday.

Bernard James added 10 points, keying a go-ahead run in the second half, and the Seminoles (22-10) advanced even though star Chris Singleton struggled in his return from a broken right foot, finishing with five points and four fouls.

The nation's leader in field-goal defense, the Seminoles held Texas A&M (24-9) to 31.4-percent shooting on the way to their first NCAA win since they beat TCU in the first round in 1998. The Seminoles had dropped three straight NCAA games, losing to Wisconsin in overtime in 2009 and Gonzaga last season. Now, they can start a different kind of streak.

Florida State got going early in the second half, erasing a 31-23 deficit with a 13-0 run in which James scored eight straight. The 6-foot-10 junior converted a put-back after the Kitchen nailed a 3, then dunked off a nice feed from Ian Miller to pull the Seminoles within one.

He scored down low to give Florida State the lead after blocking Kourtney Roberson and scored again just over seven minutes into the half to make it 34-31.

Michael Snaer added a floater to make it a five-point game before Loubeau followed his own miss with a basket that broke about a 6 1/2-minute drought for Texas A&M.

It was 42-40 after the Aggies' Nathan Walkup hit a 3 with about 7:10 left when Singleton nailed one of his own from the left corner.

Kitchen made it 48-40 when he drove by Naji Hibbert for a three-point play with 4:49 left, and the Seminoles remained in control the rest of the way.

The Seminoles' leading scorer and rebounder, Singleton checked in with 7:35 left in the first half after a 9-0 run by the Aggies. About 2 1/2 minutes later, Singleton hit his first shot - a mid-range jumper. Otherwise, it was a quiet return for the Seminoles star in his first appearance since he was injured against Virginia on Feb. 12.

Top-Seeded Duke Cruises Past Hampton, 87-45

Kyrie Irving scored 14 points in his first game in three months and top-seeded Duke routed 16th-seeded Hampton 87-45 on Friday in the second round of the West Regional for coach Mike Krzyzewski's 899th career victory.

Andre Dawkins added 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12, Kyle Singler finished with 11 and Miles Plumlee had 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils (31-4), who never trailed and shot 53 percent. They dominated from the start, winning their fourth straight and advancing to a third-round matchup with No. 8 seed Michigan (21-13) on Sunday.

Most of the attention surrounding this one centered around Irving, whose return adds another elite player to a Blue Devils roster already full of them. Irving checked in with 15:19 left in the first half to a standing ovation from the Duke fans. Perhaps trying to do too much too soon, he was whistled for charging on his second trip downcourt, and his first shot - a wild up-and-under layup - wasn't close.

Once he found his rhythm from the field, he was nearly impossible for Hampton to stop, scoring on a pair of authoritative drives to the rim before hitting 3-pointers on consecutive trips downcourt in the final 2 minutes.

Duke was up by double figures before Hampton managed its first rebound, opened the game on a 16-4 run and never let up while essentially putting the Pirates out of it at halftime. The Blue Devils bridged the halves by reeling off 14 straight points, then made it a 30-point game on Nolan Smith's dunk with just under 16 minutes to play. By then, they were well on their way to their 15th straight NCAA tournament win in the state of North Carolina.

Heels Open NCAAs With 102-87 Win Over Long Island

Tyler Zeller and John Henson scored almost at will inside against an overmatched opponent. Harrison Barnes wasn't too bad, either.

Zeller scored 32 points, Henson added 28 points and six blocks, Barnes had 24 points and 16 rebounds and North Carolina used its hulking size to mask other problems in a 102-87 victory over scrappy Long Island University on Friday night in the East Regional.

The 7-foot Zeller and 6-10 Henson kept catching high passes for easy layups over smaller LIU to each record career highs in points. They combined to hit 22 of 29 free throws. Henson, who was hitting 47 percent of his foul shots, went 8-for-10.

There was a hiccup for North Carolina midway through the second when the Tar Heels' 21-point lead was sliced to 10.

LIU, which came in as the nation's fourth-highest scoring team at 82.6 points a game, didn't shy away from running with the equally fast-paced Tar Heels. But North Carolina's overwhelming talent was the difference in its 24th consecutive NCAA tournament win in its home state.

The Tar Heels, who overcame 18 turnovers with 51 percent shooting from the field, will play the Washington-Georgia winner Sunday.

Henson surpassed his career high by halftime with 20 points, and Barnes' late scoring spurt put the Tar Heels up 53-42 at the break.