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CAL EXPLAINS: Kentucky coach John Calipari explained how his top-seeded Wildcats, who start three freshmen, were able to beat 12th-seeded Cornell 62-45 despite allowing the Big Red to get within six points in the second half.
"I was really pleased with the defense we played today. The guys really worked hard to make it hard for them. We fouled some at the end. Our goal in the game was to guard the 3-point line and then to also not foul them because they're a great free-throw shooting team, also, and at the end we fouled them a little bit.
"But the discipline it takes to play that way, the focus that it takes for a group of young people like this, you know, in their first NCAA tournament run was tremendous," he said. "Now, I thought the second half we kind of backed up and tried to just get out of the gym, and you can't play that way in the NCAA tournament, but that's OK. We learned a great lesson. We gave them a chance to maybe clip us. But we did good."
EXTRA WORK: The last time a game in the round of 16 went to overtime, Xavier was in it just like Thursday night, when the Musketeers lost 101-96 to Kansas State in double overtime.
Xavier beat West Virginia 79-75 in one overtime in 2008 to advance to the regional finals, where it lost to UCLA.
The last time a game in the round of 16 went to double overtime was 1997 when Minnesota needed 10 extra minutes to beat Clemson 90-84. That year, two other regional semifinal games went to overtime: Utah over Stanford and UCLA over Iowa State.
ZONED OUT: Butler was ready for Syracuse's zone defense, even if the Bulldogs' 6-of-24 effort from 3-point range didn't make it look that way.
"Well, we knew they were going to obviously play the zone. So when we got back to Indy, I saw a lot of shots before practice, stayed after, shot after practice," Butler guard Ronald Nored said. "Then in practice, I was more focused on my shots."
Especially the one that brought the Bulldogs within 54-53 with 3:13 left and ended a scoring drought of almost 8 minutes.
"That shot, I knew we needed it. I knew they were going to call the play where I was going to have to catch it. I wasn't going to pass it. I knew I was going to step in and knock it in," he said.
Nored said the shooting percentage didn't matter as long as Butler played defense.
"I don't think the focus was really making 3s," he said. "I think we guarded. I think that's what we do. Whether we shot 60 percent from the arc, whether we shot 30 percent, it was our defense that was going to carry us. I think it did that. We made tough plays down the stretch and some of our 3s went in."
MORE THAN A DUNK: Jordan Crawford became an over-the-summer sensation when he dunked over LeBron James at the NBA superstar's summer camp.
Now there are a lot of other reasons to know Crawford's name.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore guard transferred to Xavier from Indiana and he led the Musketeers in scoring this season with a 20.2 average. He blew that number away with three stellar performances in the NCAA tournament.
Crawford had 28 points in the opening win over Minnesota, then 27 in the second-round win over Pittsburgh.
On Thursday night, he had 32 points as the Musketeers lost 101-96 in double overtime to Kansas State. He hit a 35-footer to tie the game at the end of the first overtime.
ORANGE AID: When Syracuse fell behind Butler 10-1 in their West Regional semifinal in Salt Lake City, their fans, almost 2,000 miles away in the Carrier Dome, were stunned to say the least.
As the Orange cut into the lead and finally pulled ahead, there was one corner in the Carrier Dome that let out a cheer every time they scored, and especially when they hit a 3-pointer.
Even as the West Virginia-Washington game was going on, you could hear the one group cheer at an inappropriate time in the live game.
The long-distance cheering wasn't enough, as Butler beat Syracuse 63-59.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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