Huskies top Cyclones
NEW YORK — The Connecticut Huskies used clutch free throw shooting down the stretch, turning back the Iowa State Cyclones 81-76 in the semifinals of the NCAA East Regional on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Huskies (29-8), the seventh seed, were 11 of 12 from the line in the final 47 seconds of the game. They finished 20 of 22.
Iowa State (28-8), the third seed, closed to six points at 77-71 with 14 seconds to play before UConn forward DeAndre Daniels buried four straight shots from the stripe for an 81-73 cushion.
Daniels led the Huskies with 27 points and 10 rebounds. UConn faces the winner of Virginia-Michigan State for a spot in the Final Four.
UConn guard Shabazz Napier added 19 points and guard Ryan Boatwright chipped in with 16 points.
Iowa State, which entered the game with the country’s fifth highest-scoring offense at 83.2 points per game, was held to one of its lowest outputs of the season.
Junior forward Dustin Hogue scored a career-high 34 points for Iowa State. Cyclones forward Melvin Ejim, the Big 12 Player of the Year, was in foul trouble and struggled with his shot. Ejim finished with just seven points, well below his 18.1 average.
Guard DeAndre Kane, shadowed by Napier for most of the game, scored 16 points for the Cyclones.
The Huskies are 35-8 in their last 12 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, dating to their 6-0 run to the national championship in 1999. Included in that span are NCAA titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011.
Iowa State got to within five points at 70-65 on a layup from guard Naz Long with 1:38 to play before guard Terrence Samuel hit two free throws with 36 seconds left and Napier made two from the line with 47 seconds left for a 74-67 Huskies lead.
No. 2 Michigan 73, No. 11 Tennessee 71
INDIANAPOLIS — The team that made it out of the First Four will not be going to the Final Four.
Shooting 55.1 percent from the field, No. 2 Michigan put four players in double figures and ended the surprising NCAA Tournament run of 11th-seeded Tennessee on Friday night with a 73-71 Midwest Regional semifinal win at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Center Jordan Morgan scored 15 points for the Wolverines (28-8), who will play eighth-seeded Kentucky or No. 4 seed Louisville on Sunday for the regional title. Guard Nik Stauskas scored 14 points, forward Glenn Robinson III added 13 and guard Caris LeVert had 10 points, all in the first half.
Guard Jordan McRae bagged a game-high 24 points for the Volunteers (24-13), although he made just 6-of-11 free throws. Guard Josh Richardson contributed 19 points and forward Jarnell Stokes was good for 11 points.
Tennessee won three games last week in five days, surviving overtime with Iowa in the First Four before routing Massachusetts and Mercer in second- and third-round games. But it trailed in the last 30 minutes and fell behind by as many as 15 points with 10:55 left before mounting a late comeback.
McRae scored 13 points in the last 11 minutes as the Volunteers steadily chopped away at a 60-45 deficit. Richardson’s tough runner in the lane with 24.6 seconds remaining sliced the Michigan advantage to 72-69.
McRae converted a turnover into a transition layup with 10.8 seconds on the clock to make it a one-point game. After LeVert stepped out of bounds catching the inbounds pass with 9.6 seconds remaining, Tennessee had a chance to take the lead.
But Stokes committed an offensive foul, charging over Morgan on a drive down the left baseline with 6.0 seconds left. Stauskas made the front end of a one-and-one with 2.1 seconds left and missed the second, but all the Volunteers could get was a 55-footer by McRae that was not close as time expired.
In what was billed as a matchup of Tennessee’s strength against Michigan’s 3-point shooting, the Wolverines carried the first half by sinking 7-of-9 from outside the arc.
By hitting from deep, Michigan got driving lanes from the Volunteers defense and took advantage with a spate of layups and dunks. The Wolverines averaged 1.452 points on 31 first-half possessions.
Tennessee sank 50 percent of its shots from the field but could not establish its post game early. Stokes scored just four points on five shots from the floor in 19 minutes and forward Jeronne Maymon drew two quick fouls and went scoreless in six minutes.