The Latest on the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
Duke is back in the Elite Eight for the first time since its 2015 team won it all after holding off a late charge from rival Syracuse 69-65 on Friday night in the Midwest Region semifinals.
Marvin Bagley scored 22 points and Wendell Carter Jr had 14 with 12 rebounds for the Blue Devils (29-7), who will face top-seeded Kansas -a rare matchup of bluebloods in a tournament defined by chaos- on Sunday in Omaha.
But Duke couldn’t shake the Orange (23-14) until the final buzzer sounded.
Sharp-shooting Grayson Allen missed the front end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left and Duke up 67-64. The Blue Devils fouled rather than let Syracuse go for a game-tying 3, and Tyus Battle only made one of two from the line.
Gary Trent Jr. then made two free throws with 6.3 seconds to go to seal a closer-than-expected win that was similar to the Jayhawks’ 80-76 win over Clemson – a game Kansas led by 20 at one point.
Battle had 19 points to lead the Orange. Allen had 15 for Duke, but he was just 3 of 14 on 3s.
– Luke Meredith reporting from Omaha, Nebraska.
A poor shooting night by Grayson Allen hasn’t kept Duke from controlling Syracuse and its fearsome 2-3 zone defense.
Allen is just 3 of 11 from 3-point range and the Blue Devils are just 5 of 20 overall from deep.
But Duke has forced the Orange into 14 turnovers and held a 50-45 lead midway through the second half, despite allowing a pair of quick baskets that so infuriated Coach Mike Krzyzewski that he ripped his jacket off in frustration – drawing oohs and aahs from a crowd full of blue-clad Blue Devils fans.
– Luke Meredith reporting from Omaha, Nebraska.
Duke is making a run.
The second-seeded Blue Devils have built a seven-point lead on 11th-seeded Syracuse with about 11 minutes to go in a Midwest Region semifinal.
The pace has picked up a bit in a game between two Atlantic Coast Conference tournament teams that play zone defense. Duke is 5 of 19 from the 3-point arc but has a decided advantage at the foul line, outscoring Syracuse 13-4.
The winner plays top-seeded Kansas on Sunday in the Elite Eight.
Texas Tech scored 10 straight points to finish the first half and take a 30-25 halftime lead in its Sweet 16 matchup with Purdue.
The third-seeded Red Raiders trailed most of the first half. It was 25-20 Purdue with 3:43 to play when the second-seeded Boilermakers went cold.
The teams are hoping for a spot in Sunday’s East regional final against top-seeded Villanova, which beat West Virginia 90-78 earlier Friday night.
Justin Gray had eight points and five rebounds in the half for the Red Raiders.
P.J. Thompson and Vincent Edwards each had eight points for Purdue, and Edwards also pulled down seven boards.
No Isaac Haas for Purdue.
Not much scoring overall in the East Region semifinal between the second-seeded Boilermakers and third-seeded Texas Tech.
The game slowed to a defensive crawl for much of the first half tied at 15 before both teams finally found the bucket again. Purdue led 25-20 with 3:27 left in the first half.
Texas Tech is shooting 33 percent overall and 2 of 9 from 3-point range.
For Purdue, Haas as expected has not played because of an elbow injury. Haas is one of the best big men in the tournament.
Despite a sterling start from upset-minded Syracuse, second-seeded Duke is slowly taking control of things in Omaha.
Grayson Allen calmly buried a 3 from the top of the key to cap a 10-0 run and put the Blue Devils ahead 34-27 at halftime in the first half of the Midwest Region semifinal.
Duke is attacking Syracuse’s post players and it’s working, as the Blue Devils have already hit 11 free throws.
Syracuse hit 8 of its first 12 shots, but after Duke’s defense settled down the Orange missed 11 of their next 14 shots – and stellar freshman big man Marek Dolezaj has been a victim of Duke’s aggressiveness, picking up three fouls in just two minutes.
Syracuse certainly isn’t intimidated by their ACC rivals as other teams might be in such a big spot. But if the Blue Devils open the second half like they closed the first, things could get ugly in a hurry.
__Luke Meredith reporting from Omaha, Nebraska.
Can another No. 11 seed join Loyola-Chicago in the Elite Eight?
The 11th-seeded Orange can do it if they can overcome a 34-27 halftime deficit to second-seeded Duke in a Midwest Region semifinal in Omaha, Nebraska. It was a tight game before the Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run to finish the first half.
The winner of this all-Atlantic Coast Conference affair meets Kansas on Sunday for the right to go to the Final Four.
Syracuse is giving second-seeded Duke all it can handle in Omaha.
The 11th-seeded Orange hit eight of its first 12 shots, all but one of them from inside the 3-point line, to pull within 19-17 on the heavily-favored Blue Devils midway through the first half.
That’s nearly half of the 44 points Syracuse scored in an ugly 16-point loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 24. But Duke, which made just two 3s in that victory, has already knocked down a few from beyond the arc – a key in defeating Syracuse’s headache-inducing 2-3 zone.
The winner faces Kansas in the Midwest Region final on Sunday.
– Luke Meredith reporting from Omaha, Nebraska.
The all-Atlantic Coast Conference matchup in the Sweet 16 is underway in Omaha. Second-seeded Duke and No. 11 seed Syracuse have tipped off for the right to face top-seeded Kansas in the Elite Eight.
There was only one regular-season meeting, and it wasn’t a high-scoring one.
Duke beat Syracuse 60-44 at home on Feb. 24, holding the Orange to 31.5 percent shooting that included going 6 of 25 (24 percent) from behind the arc. The 44 points matched a season-low for Syracuse.
The Blue Devils didn’t find a lot of freedom against the Orange’s zone. Duke shot 41.5 percent and made 2 of 18 3s despite playing in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Top-seeded Villanova beat the press of West Virginia and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Jalen Brunson scored 27 points to lead the Wildcats to a 90-78 victory over fifth-seeded West Virginia. Villanova will play the winner of the regional semifinal later Friday night between No. 2 seed Purdue and third-seeded Texas Tech for a spot in the Final Four.
Villanova trailed by 6 before scoring 11 straight points to take a 65-60 lead with 9:03 remaining. The 2016 national champions led 68-64 before scoring 10 of the next 14 points to pull away.
Omari Spellman scored 18 with eight rebounds for Villanova, which overcame Press Virginia’s well-known defense by hitting 13 of 24 shots from 3-point range.
Daxter Miles Jr. scored 16 for the Mountaineers before fouling out with just over two minutes left. Sagaba Konate added 12 points with nine rebounds.
Kansas made it through the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row as a No. 1 seed after surviving a late scare and beating fifth-seeded Clemson 80-76 in a Midwest Region semifinal.
Now the Jayhawks will try to get through the Elite Eight for the first time since 2012, when they lost the national title to Kentucky. They’ll play Sunday against the winner of Friday night’s second semifinal between No. 2 seed Duke and 11-seed Syracuse.
Clemson, in a regional semifinal for the first time since 1997, had a six-minute field goal drought and shot 36 percent in the first half. The Tigers trailed by 20 early in the second half.
But a 26-12 run fueled by Gabe DeVoe got Clemson within 74-68. DeVoe’s two free throws pulled the Tigers to 78-74 with 14 seconds left, but the Jayhawks were able to hang on.
Malik Newman scored 17 points to lead Kansas, Devonte Graham added 16 and Udoka Azubuike had 14 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 2:30 left.
DeVoe finished with a career-high 31 points.
– Eric Olson reporting from Omaha, Nebraska.
Villanova has turned back a West Virginia run and retaken the lead midway through the second half.
The Mountaineers held the Wildcats without a basket for more than three minutes while opening up a six-point lead with 11 minutes to play. But top-seeded Villanova roared back will 11 straight points to make it 65-60.
After Mikal Bridges gave Villanova the lead with a 3-pointer, Omari Spellman produced an emphatic dunk on James Bolden. At the other end, Spellman slammed in a putback after Phil Booth’s miss to make it a five-point game.
West Virginia cut the lead to three before the under-eight minute timeout.
Down by 20 points at one point in the second half, Clemson has used a 26-12 surge to pull within 74-68 in its Midwest Region semifinal against Kansas.
Shelton Mitchell’s thunderous dunk forced the Jayhawks to call timeout with 2:27 left.
The lineups are out for the Purdue-Texas Tech game and Isaac Hass isn’t in it.
The Boilermakers center broke his elbow in their NCAA tournament opener and hasn’t played since. That hasn’t stopped him from trying, though.
He’s been out on the court practicing with his teammates, trying to prove to coach Matt Painter that he can contribute at least a few minutes. The Purdue engineering department was even on the job, working up a special brace that was approved by the NCAA.
But Painter said Haas can’t play unless he can rebound with two hands and shoot a free throw right-handed. Haas couldn’t do that, as of Thursday.
Redshirt freshman Matt Haarms was listed in the lineup instead.
The players are getting a bit of a history lesson at this year’s East regional in Boston.
The banners honoring the Celtics and Bruins championships and retired numbers were allowed to remain in the rafters at the TD Garden this year – a change from previous events here.
“Part of the allure of being in Boston is playing beneath our championship banners,” TD Garden president Amy Latimer said. “We are proud to have them on display and part of the student-athlete experience.”
When NCAA tournament last came to town in 2012, the banners were replaced by ones noting past college basketball champions. The 17 Celtics championship banners and six for the Bruins were brought to a Salvation Army facility, where fans lined up to take pictures with them.
The Celtics also have three banners to honor their 23 retired numbers. The Bruins have retired 10 numbers.
Clemson is trying to get back into its Midwest Region semifinal game against Kansas after falling behind by 20 points.
The lead was down to 13 with 5:57 left. Malik Newman led Kansas with 16 points. The Jayhawks were shooting 51 percent from the floor to 43 percent for Clemson.
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