Oregon’s Jordan Bell is a mild-mannered forward from Long Beach Poly who has a curious effect on opponents on the basketball court. Eyes widen. Limbs stiffen. The body does things the brain does not want.
With nine minutes left in Oregon’s program-quaking, 74-60, win over No. 1 seeded Kansas that sent the Ducks to the Final Four on Saturday, Bell elicited only one palpable emotion: abject fear.
Oregon was up 13 but looked shaky on offense. A heavy pro-Kansas crowd was latching to any signs of life when Landen Lucas, the Jayhawks’ 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward, raced alone toward the basket. He soared. Bell appeared from behind like a boogeyman. He rejected the layup, hard, his hand somewhere near the square on the backboard.
Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier, 83-59, on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.
Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.
On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.
Chris Chiozza went end to end and made a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Florida an 84-83 victory against Wisconsin on Friday night in the first overtime game of this NCAA Tournament.
Nigel Hayes had given the Badgers (27-10) a 2-point lead with four seconds left on two free throws. With no timeouts left, the Gators inbounded to Chiozza and the point guard stopped right at the top of the arc and dropped in the winner for Florida (27-8).
Wisconsin's Zak Showalter forced overtime with a leaning 3-pointer off one leg with 2.1 seconds left in regulation as the Badgers wiped out a 12-point deficit in the last 4:15.
The nation’s highest-scoring team found out what it felt like to get overrun at the worst possible time.
UCLA was trampled in the second half Friday night, its star freshmen unable to keep pace with their Kentucky counterparts. Now the Wildcats will move on while at least two Bruins may play their next games in the NBA.
The third-seeded Bruins were no match for the second-seeded Wildcats in a rematch between the teams, an 86-75 setback in an NCAA tournament South Regional semifinal ending their season far short of the intended destination.