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March 21, 2014

NCAA MEN'S BB TOURNEY: Milwaukee sees top seeds win

MILWAUKEE — The first day of the NCAA tournament had its share of surprises. No. 12 seeds Harvard and North Dakota State won. Dayton beat Ohio State. There were four overtime games for the first time.

Not so much in Milwaukee. The bracket stayed true to form at the Bradley Center, thanks to Cameron Ridley's big play for Texas.

Ridley's buzzer-beating layup lifted the Longhorns to an 87-85 victory over Arizona State in the second round of the Midwest Regional on Thursday night.

Jonathan Holmes missed badly on a long 3-pointer for the Longhorns in the final seconds, but Ridley emerged from the scrum and banked it in as time expired. The call stood after a video review, handing Texas its first win in the NCAA tournament since 2011.

''Just a loose ball. Cam does have great hands,'' coach Rick Barnes said. ''We were fortunate.''

Ridley finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Longhorns (24-10), who led by 14 with 12 minutes left. Freshman reserve Martez Walker had 16 points and Demarcus Holland scored 14 on 6-for-6 shooting from the field.

''That's something you are going to remember for the rest of your life,'' Holmes said.

Texas will face No. 2 seed Michigan in the first Milwaukee game on Saturday, followed by Wisconsin against Oregon in the West Regional.

The Wolverines advanced with a 57-40 victory over Wofford, holding the spunky Terriers to 34 percent shooting. Glenn Robinson III scored 14 points in one of his father's home arenas from his NBA days, and Jordan Morgan added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

''We were able to get a win basically with our defense today,'' coach John Beilein said, ''and that's something a lot of people wouldn't say if they watched us this year.''

Michigan (26-8) was in control for most of the game against the undersized Terriers (20-13), but had some nervous moments after missing 15 of its first 18 shots in the second half.

Karl Cochran's 3 with 9:25 left whittled an 18-point deficit to 40-33. It was the only 3 Wofford hit all night.

But the Wolverines regrouped, and Caris LeVert's 3 with 4:17 left gave them a 15-point lead and deflated Wofford's dreams of an upset.

''We know we're pretty efficient offensively. Most times we don't have trouble scoring the basketball,'' Morgan said.

No. 2 seed Wisconsin will have another decided home-court advantage when it takes on Oregon in the third round. But the Ducks might have their own pocket of support cheering for Elgin Cook.

The sophomore forward scored a career-high 23 points in a very happy homecoming, helping Oregon advance with an 87-68 victory over BYU.

''Elgin Cook had a great game,'' Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ''He finished everything down low.''

Joseph Young had 19 points for the Ducks (24-9), who had to stage a big comeback to beat the Cougars 100-96 in overtime in December. There was no comeback needed this time, with Oregon turning away every BYU charge in the second half.

Cook, a Milwaukee native who starred at nearby Hamilton High School, was 8 for 9 from the field and 7 for 10 at the free-throw line.

''He was fired up right at the selection show. He saw it was in Milwaukee,'' teammate Johnathan Loyd said. ''He's been hyped up ever since then. I expected him to play inspired basketball. He has a homecoming, playing in front of friends and family. He was inspired.''

Wisconsin drew its inspiration from a sea of fans in red, and the Badgers pulled away for a 75-35 victory over American in the first game at the site just 80 miles from their Madison campus.

Ben Brust scored 17 points for Wisconsin (27-7), which grabbed control with a 22-5 run to close the first half. The Badgers quickly bounced back after the Eagles (20-13) built an early seven-point lead with their Princeton-style offense.

''It was good to get the building loud,'' Brust said. ''I said, `Hey, they're up. We better wake up.'''

The Badgers hit 57 percent of their shots in the second half on the way to their largest margin of victory in the school's 44 NCAA postseason games.

John Schoof and Tony Wroblicky each had 11 points for American.

''We were excited. We were playing well. We were making them take tough shots,'' Wroblicky said. ''We were scoring, then we kind of hit a rut.''

It was just that kind of day for the lower seeded teams in Milwaukee.

 

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