Smith, Louisville trounce Villanova
NEW YORK — Russ Smith scored 28 points in a bittersweet homecoming, leading No. 4 Louisville into the Big East tournament semifinals with a 74-55 victory over Villanova on Thursday night only hours after the death of his esteemed high school coach.
Smith and the defending champion Cardinals (27-5) harassed Villanova into 25 turnovers and advanced to play Notre Dame in the late game Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Luke Hancock added 12 points off the bench for second-seeded Louisville, which has won eight straight — seven by at least 14 points. Peyton Siva, the tournament MVP last year, scored 10.
JayVaughn Pinkston had 21 points for the seventh-seeded Wildcats (20-13), who are confident they’ll receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament Sunday thanks to a string of high-profile wins against top-notch opponents this season. Mouphtaou Yarou added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
NO. 5 GEORGETOWN 62, CINCINNATI 43
NEW YORK — Conference player of the year Otto Porter Jr. scored 18 points as top-seeded Georgetown advanced to the Big East tournament semifinals by pulling away from Cincinnati.
Porter made all 11 of his free throws to offset a 3-for-9 performance from the field.
Markel Starks had 14 points, and reserve D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 13, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer that sparked a game-turning run for the Hoyas (25-5).
Georgetown, looking to land a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, squandered an early 16-point cushion and fell behind briefly in the second half before clamping down with its signature defense.
Cashmere Wright hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points for ninth-seeded Cincinnati (22-11).
NO. 19 SYRACUSE 62, NO. 17 PITTSBURGH 59
NEW YORK — James Southerland had a second straight great effort from 3-point range, and Michael Carter-Williams scored Syracuse’s last seven points as the 19th-ranked Orange held off Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
Southerland had 20 points as he did in the second-round win over Seton Hall. The senior was 6-for-6 on 3s against Pittsburgh, a day after going 6-for-9 from beyond the arc against Seton Hall.
Carter-Williams had 11 points and seven assists for the fifth-seeded Orange (25-8), who will meet top-seeded Georgetown in the semifinals Friday night.
Lamar Patterson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Panthers (24-8).
NO. 24 NOTRE DAME 73, NO. 12 MARQUETTE 65
NEW YORK — Pat Connaughton scored 18 points on six 3-pointers, and Jack Cooley had two big offensive rebounds in Notre Dame’s game-changing run as the Fighting Irish beat Marquette to reach the Big East tournament semifinals for the fourth straight year.
Unfortunately for the Irish (25-8), the road has ended there each time — the last two times against No. 4 Louisville, who they will face in Friday night’s semifinals.
Jamil Wilson had 16 points, and Junior Cadougan added 14 for the third-seeded Golden Eagles (23-8), who shared the regular-season title with Louisville and top-seeded Georgetown.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
NO. 6 MICHIGAN 83, PENN ST. 66
CHICAGO — Trey Burke scored 21 points to lead Michigan over Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, avenging a shocking loss to the Nittany Lions during the regular season.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas each added 15 points for the Wolverines (26-6), who will play fourth-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals Friday. Freshman reserve Mitch McGary chipped in with 10 points and 11 rebounds, helping Michigan to a 28-15 advantage in second-chance points.
D.J. Newbill scored 20 points for Penn State (10-21), which faded after a fast start. Sasa Borovnjak scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half, and Ross Travis finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Nittany Lions.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT
NO. 7 KANSAS 91, TEXAS TECH 63
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ben McLemore scored 24 points to lead Kansas to a rout of Texas Tech, setting up an intriguing date with Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
The regular-season co-champion, Kansas was pushed by Texas Tech in their meeting in Lubbock earlier this season but used a big run early in the second half to put this one away early.
The Jayhawks (27-5) shot 66 percent from the field (31 of 47), the best mark by any team in a Big 12 tournament game, advancing to face the Cyclones on Friday night. Kansas needed overtime to beat them in both of their regular-season games.
Dejan Kravic scored 20 points and Dusty Hannahs added 15 for the Red Raiders (11-20).
NO. 11 KANSAS ST. 66, TEXAS 49
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rodney McGruder scored 24 points and sparked an 11-0 run in the second half, lifting Kansas State past Texas in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
McGruder also had a team-leading seven rebounds as the second-seeded Wildcats (26-6) whipped the Longhorns for the third time this year. Kansas State, which tied No. 7 Kansas for its first regular-season conference title since 1977, faces No. 14 Oklahoma State in the semifinals Friday.
Julien Lewis scored 13 points and Jonathan Holmes had 10 for Texas (16-17).
Sheldon McClellan and Lewis hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 58-47 with 6:20 remaining, but that was as close as the Longhorns got.
NO. 14 OKLAHOMA ST. 74, BAYLOR 72
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Phil Forte hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left, and Oklahoma State survived after blowing a 20-point lead to beat Baylor in the Big 12 quarterfinals.
Marcus Smart scored 21 points, and LeBryan Nash had 14 for the Cowboys (24-7), who built a big first-half lead and then watched it all disappear as the Bears (18-14) desperately fought back.
Jackson, who finished with 31 points, got a good look at a potential winning 3-pointer after Forte’s two free throws. Racing up the sideline, he pulled up from the wing and let go a shot that clanked off the back iron as the backboard lit up to signal the end of the game.
The Cowboys advanced to play No. 11 Kansas State in the semifinals.
NO. 21 UCLA 80, ARIZONA ST. 75
LAS VEGAS — Shabazz Muhammad scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, Travis Wear hit a jumper with 11 seconds left, and UCLA rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Arizona State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.
Muhammad scored 10 points during a 17-4 second-half run, and Wear hit a long jumper to put the Bruins up 78-75 before Arizona State’s Jonathan Gilling missed a 3-point attempt from the corner.
Larry Drew II had 20 points, and Wear finished with 15 to send the Bruins (24-8) into the semifinals against No. 18 Arizona on Friday night.
Jahii Carson had 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds for No. 9 seed Arizona State (21-12).
NO. 18 ARIZONA 79, COLORADO 69
LAS VEGAS — Nick Johnson scored 18 points and hit a contested shot with 34 seconds left, helping Arizona beat Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals.
Arizona (25-6) led by 14 in the second half, but had trouble shaking the Buffaloes (21-11).
Johnson hit his shot between three defenders to put the Wildcats up four and followed teammate Mark Lyons’ two free throws by swatting Askia Booker’s 3-point attempt into Colorado’s bench.
Lyons had 14 points, and Solomon Hill added 13 for Arizona, which faces No. 21 UCLA in the semifinals.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 18 points, and Andre Roberson added 15 points and 11 rebounds for fifth-seeded Colorado, which now must wait to see it if makes the NCAA tournament.
CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT
NO. 20 MEMPHIS 81, TULANE 68
TULSA, Okla. — Chris Crawford scored 24 points, and Adonis Thomas added 17 to lead Memphis past Tulane in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament.
The top-seeded Tigers (28-4) took control by scoring the final 14 points of the first half, with Crawford hitting a pair of 3-pointers and then soaring for a dunk to make it 44-27.
Memphis, seeking its seventh conference title in eight years, won its 22nd straight in the series between the teams. The Tigers will face either East Carolina or Tulsa in the semifinals.
Josh Davis had 21 points and 15 rebounds to lead eighth-seeded Tulane (19-14), which never got closer than 10 in the second half.