Anthony Wilson, the hero of Louisiana State’s double-overtime victory over Purdue Thursday night, hit an off-balance 10-foot jumper at the buzzer Saturday to give LSU an 83-81 victory over 12th-ranked Memphis State in the second round of the Southeast Regional at Baton Rouge, La.
Wilson made only 2 of 9 field-goal tries until his final desperation attempt. His bank shot clanked around the rim before dropping and propelling the Tigers (24-11) into a regional semifinal game at Atlanta Thursday night against Georgia Tech, which ousted defending NCAA champion Villanova.
LSU’s John Williams and Don Redden brought the Tigers back from a 12-point deficit, and Redden gave his team its first lead since early in the game with a layup at the 2:20 mark.
Redden sneaked inside for a another layup with 59 seconds to go, putting the Tigers in front, 81-79. But Memphis State’s William Bedford hit a baseline jumper with 32 seconds remaining to tie it.
LSU again went to Redden for a bid at the game-winner, but his jumper from the lane with six seconds left bounced off the rim and was followed by a scramble on the floor for the rebound.
The ball squirted from the pile into the hands of the 6-4 Wilson, who heaved the ball toward the basket with a second to go. More than 13,000 LSU fans roared as LSU players mobbed Wilson in the middle of their home court.
Redden had 15 points for LSU, and John Williams had 19.
Memphis State (28-6), a Final Four team last year, was led by Baskerville Holmes’ 20 points and Bedford’s 15.
Of his game-winning shot, Wilson, who had 11 points in Thursday night’s second overtime against Purdue, said: “The ball just came to me, and all I could do was put it up. I didn’t think there was any question about it going in. I just didn’t know if I got it off before the buzzer.”
Memphis State had little argument about the fact the ball was shot in time, but the Tiger coaches were not pleased with the officials.
One of the assistants of Memphis State Coach Dana Kirk made courtside inquiries after the game concerning the conference affiliation of one of the officials.
“We got in foul trouble and that was hard to live with,” said Kirk, whose 7-footer, Bedford, and streak-shooting Dwight Boyd were benched early in the second half with four fouls.
Said LSU Coach Dale Brown, after the Tiger comeback: “Memphis State is the best team we’ve faced this year. But if I had to describe it all in one word, it’s guts. Guts won the game.”
Georgia Tech 66, Villanova 61--The sixth-ranked Yellowjackets built an 18-point second-half lead on the scoring of Mark Price and Duane Ferrell, then had to rely on the free-throw shooting of Price and Bruce Dalrymple to beat the defending national champions.
Georgia Tech, 27-6 and seeded second in the regional, led Villanova, 52-34, with 14 minutes left in the game. But Villanova, led by Doug West and Kenny Wilson, went on a 21-5 scoring spree over the next 11 minutes, cutting Georgia Tech’s lead to 57-55 with 3:24 to go.
Ferrell converted two free throws at the 2:46 mark and John Salley made a basket, forcing Villanova to foul in an effort to get the ball back.
Dalrymple scored three points from the line and Price two, and Villanova’s bid to repeat as champion was over.
Price finished with 20 points for Georgia Tech, 15 in the first half, and Ferrell had 14.
Doug West had 20 points and Harold Pressley 19 for Villanova (23-14).
Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Cremins said: “The thing that disappointed me was that we blew a great lead. “We had an opportunity to put Villanova away and didn’t. But I never expected an easy game--never.
“We broke down on leadership. Mark Price got tired, and I took him out for a couple of minutes. We had some bad breaks and got fouled a couple of times, and they kept coming back.”
Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino said the fact that two of his key players got in foul trouble in the opening minutes of the game was “obviously very significant. Mark Plansky and Harold Jensen picked up three personals in the first half.”
“It’s unfortunate we had that stagnation, or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “I thought we could win it (the national championship) again. I really did. I believed that from day one.”
But he added: “We have done a great job this year, and I don’t think we should hold our heads any way but up.”