Davidson stuns Georgetown; Tar Heels pound Razorbacks

Published 1:53 pm Monday, March 24, 2008

By By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH — Stephen Curry looked tired. His soft, feathery shot was clanging off the rim. The slender, baby-faced sophomore seemed to be just another in a long line of stars bottled up by Georgetown’s ferocious defense.
Davidson’s run was certainly over. A good season was coming to a fitting end against one of college basketball’s elite programs.
Then, as quick as Curry can get off a turnaround 3-pointer, the Wildcats staged a comeback.
Curry scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half and little Davidson rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to stun No. 2 seed Georgetown 74-70 on Sunday, sending the Wildcats to an improbable spot in the round of 16.
Davidson (28-6), which hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in 39 years before Friday, will face No. 3 seed Wisconsin in the Midwest Regional in Detroit.
So is Georgetown (28-6), which was shooting 71 percent from the field early in the second half, had forced Curry to miss 10 of his first 12 shots and were in total command in its quest to make the Final Four for the second straight year.
But despite 14 points from Jessie Sapp, 12 from Jonathan Wallace and 63 percent shooting, Georgetown was undone by 20 turnovers — and Curry’s brilliance.
The son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry and the player the big schools didn’t want took over, fueled by a partisan crowd just 160 miles from campus.
Curry scored 30 of his 40 points in the second half of Davidson’s comeback win over Gonzaga in the first round, and put together a fitting encore against the Hoyas. Only this time he did it against the nation’s stingiest defense. Georgetown came in allowing only 57.6 points per game and 37 percent shooting.
After his awful start, Curry hit six of his last nine shots. He made five of six free throws in the final 23 seconds.
Curry started rolling during Davidson’s 16-2 run in the second half. He converted a four-point play, buried a 3-pointer from the right wing and fed Andrew Lovedale for a layup to cut Georgetown’s lead to 50-48 with 8:47 left.
Not even Thompson could draw up a defense to stop him now. Showing his lightning-quick release, Curry drilled a 3, then had a three-point play with 4:40 left that put Davidson ahead 60-58, its first lead since 2-0.
After picking up his fourth foul, Curry scored on a nifty scoop shot in the lane and hit a deep 3 to make it 65-60 Davidson with 2:56 left.
Davidson was picking up extra support from the partisan crowd by now. North Carolina fans adopted the in-state school ahead of the Tar Heels’ later game against Arkansas.
Even Curry’s missteps in the second half turned out OK for Davidson. He had a 3-point attempt partially blocked, but it landed in Lovedale’s hands for a layup to make it 67-60.
The Hoyas’ comeback bid was foiled by Curry’s free-throw shooting, allowing Davidson to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 24 in the most improbable fashion.
The comeback ended the college careers of 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert and Wallace, instrumental in Georgetown’s recent return to prominence.
As the final seconds ticked down, Curry jumped at midcourt, did a chest bump with Richards and was mobbed by the rest of his teammates.
Then, the team gathered in front of the band and sang Neil Diamond’s ‘‘Sweet Caroline,’’ which had become the theme song during Davidson’s memorable season. The Wildcats hadn’t been a player in the NCAA tournament since Lefty Driesell led them to two regional finals in the 1960s.
North Carolina routs Arkansas
By AARON BEARD, AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH — North Carolina put on a show for its home-state fans in its first two NCAA tournament games. Now the overall No. 1 seed is off and running to the round of 16, where another comfortable setting awaits.
Wayne Ellington scored 20 points and the Tar Heels raced to a double-digit lead in the first 5 minutes of a 108-77 second-round win over Arkansas on Sunday, sending North Carolina to Charlotte for the East Regional semifinals.
Ty Lawson had 19 points and seven assists for the Tar Heels (34-2), who followed their first-round rout of Mount St. Mary’s with another impressive offensive display. North Carolina will face fourth-seeded Washington State on Thursday night in the same arena where they won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last weekend.
The Tar Heels scored the first nine points, led 51-26 at halftime and shot 68 percent for the game. They became the first team to score 100 points in their first two NCAA games since Loyola Marymount did it against New Mexico State and Michigan in 1990.
The ninth-seeded Razorbacks (23-12), which upset Vanderbilt and Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Atlanta last week, never got closer than 21 points after the break.
It marked only the third time in the past 25 years that the Tar Heels won both of their first two NCAA games by 20 or more points. The only other teams to do it — 1993 and 2005 — went on to win the national championship. The Tar Heels also tied the school’s single-season record for victories, matching the ’93 team and the 1998 squad that reached the Final Four in San Antonio.
The Tar Heels looked every bit like the tournament’s top overall seed in its first two games at the RBC Center, located about a half-hour from the Chapel Hill campus and home to rival North Carolina State. Playing in front of a blue-clad crowd, North Carolina made Arkansas look as helpless as the 16th-seeded Mountaineers did in Friday night’s 113-74 win.
Making the win even more impressive was that the Tar Heels didn’t need a big day from All-American Tyler Hansbrough to do it. He finished with 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting while also going 5-for-7 from the line, which allowed him to surpass Duke’s Christian Laettner for the most made free throws in a career for an ACC player.
Deon Thompson finished with 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting for North Carolina, and frontcourt mate Alex Stepheson had 10 on 5-for-5 shooting. And by the end, coach Roy Williams was able to empty his bench and give his regulars plenty of time to cheer from the sideline again.
The Razorbacks looked nothing like the team that beat Indiana 86-72 in the first round to secure the program’s first NCAA win since 1999. Sonny Weems had a career-high 31 points on 12-for-14 shooting in that game, but finished with 19 on 8-for-20 shooting against the Tar Heels.
ARKANSAS (23-12)
Weems 8-20 2-2 19, Hunter 0-2 0-0 0, Townes 5-8 5-10 15, Ervin 2-8 4-5 9, Beverley 6-8 1-2 14, Thomas 3-4 2-2 9, Britt 1-2 2-2 5, Welsh 0-1 0-0 0, Washington 2-5 0-0 4, Rakestraw 0-0 0-0 0, Patsatsia 0-0 0-0 0, Cox 1-1 0-0 2, Hill 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-59 16-23 77.
Ginyard 2-3 0-0 4, Thompson 8-8 0-0 16, Hansbrough 6-14 5-7 17, Lawson 6-9 5-5 19, Ellington 8-12 2-4 20, Campbell 1-1 0-0 3, Thomas 3-3 0-0 6, Graves 1-1 0-0 3, Green 3-7 0-0 8, Tanner 0-0 0-0 0, Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Wooten 0-0 0-0 0, Stepheson 5-5 0-1 10, Moody 0-1 0-0 0, Copeland 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 44-65 12-17 108.
Halftime—North Carolina 51-26. 3-Point Goals—Arkansas 5-18 (Thomas 1-1, Britt 1-2, Ervin 1-3, Beverley 1-3, Weems 1-6, Washington 0-1, Welsh 0-1, Hunter 0-1), North Carolina 8-16 (Ellington 2-4, Lawson 2-4, Green 2-5, Campbell 1-1, Graves 1-1, Ginyard 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Arkansas 27 (Townes 9), North Carolina 32 (Hansbrough 10). Assists—Arkansas 11 (Ervin 4), North Carolina 28 (Lawson 7). Total Fouls—Arkansas 13, North Carolina 18. A—19,477.