Cardinals crush Arizona, Sooners sail past Syracuse
Published 11:41 am Saturday, March 28, 2009
By By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — Louisville proved it was the best in the Big East. Now, the Cardinals are showing just how mighty they might be.
Earl Clark had 19 points and nine rebounds and the top-seeded team in the NCAA tournament delivered one of the most crushing blowouts in regional round history — a 103-64 romp over Arizona on Friday night.
Coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals (31-5) topped 100 points for the first time this season, hit 13 3-pointers and nearly 57 percent from the field, moving into the Midwest final in impressive fashion. They will play either Kansas or Michigan State on Sunday.
The Big East regular season and tourney champs became the fourth team from the league to reach a regional final this season with a victory that just missed cracking the top five for most lopsided routs in regional round history. UCLA set the record with a 49-point victory over Wyoming in 1967, and all the top five were recorded before 1972.
The 12th-seeded Wildcats (21-4) got 22 points from Chase Budinger.
It was by far the Cardinals’ biggest rout in their long NCAA tournament, and easily was Arizona’s most-lopsided loss.
Oklahoma 84, Syracuse 71
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Blake Griffin bulled his way to 30 points and 14 rebounds, and Tony Crocker added a career-high 28 points as second-seeded Oklahoma beat Syracuse to reach its first regional final since 2003.
Oklahoma (30-5) will play either top-seeded North Carolina or Gonzaga in the South Regional final Sunday. The last time the Sooners made it this far, Syracuse beat them en route to their own national championship.
And all that talk of an All-Big East Final Four? That’s over with now.
Syracuse was the league’s lone representative left in the South Region. The Orange (28-10) finally ran out of the magic that helped them pull off such wins as their six-overtime marathon over Connecticut in the Big East tournament.
The Sooners began pulling away midway through the first half. Griffin mowed over Syracuse’s gutsy guard Jonny Flynn going to the basket and also banged his noggin against the bottom of the backboard while going for a rim-rocking dunk.
Flynn led Syracuse with 22 points despite playing the second half with a bruised back after that crunching collision with Griffin.