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News Nuggets, 03.19.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Hodge leads Wolfpack to comeback win over 49ers


03.18.05: UAB smothers 6th- seeded LSU in Round 1 shocker ... Bearcats dump Iowa, set sights on Kentucky ... Preview: (7) Charlotte vs. (10) N.C. State ... Preview: (4) Louisville vs. (13) UL-Lafayette ... More...
03.17.05: Timeline on ECU hoops coach Ricky Stokes ... Nothing heals like an NIT win for Tigers' Washington ... Horned Frogs halt RedHawks' home streak ... Davidson rips VCU for first-ever NIT victory ... More...
03.16.05: It's not the Big Dance, but it's a win for DePaul ... NCAA preview: UAB vs. LSU ... NCAA preview: Cincinnati vs. Iowa ... CORRECTED Final AP college basketball poll ... More...
03.15.05: Handicapped Marquette makes quit exit from NIT ... New arena a factor in Virginia's firing of Gillen ... Heart attack hospitalizes Tech football coach ... Final 2004-05 college basketball poll ... More...
03.14.05: 12 current, future C- USA teams earn NCAA or NIT bids ... Finney dismissed by Tulane ... More...
03.13.05: Missed free throws cost Memphis league title ... Marquette to host Western Michigan in NIT ... Pac-10 jumps on instant replay bandwagon ... More...
03.12.05: Cards stand between Memphis and NCAA bid ... Pirates' head trainer wins statewide award ... N.C. college baseball coach reaches milestone ... More...
03.11.05: Upsets spawn unexpected C-USA semifinal pairings ... Updated Conference USA Tournament brackets ... Fla. Intl. baseball coach gets win No. 1000 ... More...
03.10.05: ECU boosters anoint new leaders ... Tournament shocker: USF ambushes Houston ... Basden, Pitino cop league's highest honors ... Marshall football coach hangs up whistle ... More...
03.09.05: 49ers' Basden, Pirates' Hammonds honored by C-USA ... Gamecocks' Thompson surrenders to police ... Holiday Bowl doles out highest all-time payout ... More...
03.08.05: ECU QB derby a focus as spring drills kick off ... Pirate pitcher recognized for taming Dogs ... 2004-05 All-Conference USA basketball team ... Cards top trio of C-USA teams in hoops poll ... More...
03.07.05: ACC membership no boon for Miami baseball ... C- USA Tournament brackets and TV lineup ... C-USA Final Regular Season Standings ... More...
03.06.05: C-USA Roundup: Cards buck trend on day of upsets ... C-USA Final Regular Season Standings ... More...
03.05.05: Last chance for Cardinals to earn an outright title ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... SEC football to use instant replay next season ... More...
03.04.05: ECU sprint sensation speeds to the big bucks ... Cards thump 49ers to nail down top seed ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... Spurrier lays down law on behavior at USC ... More...

WORCESTER, MA — Julius Hodge stormed into the locker room, slapped his teammates on the back and shouted in jubilation. He would play another day.

Hodge had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds Friday and keyed a late 16-4 surge to lead North Carolina State to a 75-63 comeback victory over Charlotte in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

It was a far cry from a year ago, when Hodge fouled out of a second-round loss to Vanderbilt and left the court in tears — the lowest moment of his stellar career.

Now, the Wolfpack moves on to play Sunday against defending national champion Connecticut in the Syracuse Regional.

``Last year's in the past. I just told the guys that, 'This is it, we have to step it up,''' said Hodge, who upped his career points total to 2,009. ``We know we have to play through deficits.''

Indeed. The 10th-seeded Wolfpack (20-13) faced a big one early against the 49ers (21-8), falling behind by 14 points less than five minutes into the game.

Hot-shooting Brendan Plavich drained four straight 3s in the first nine minutes. Eddie Basden tossed in another 3, and his basket with 11:29 left put the 49ers on top 23-9.

Charlotte held a 36-29 halftime lead and stayed ahead before Hodge began to assert himself as he often does late in games.

Hodge converted a three-point play to pull the Wolfpack within 49-45 at 14:21. He then beat Basden, the two-time Conference USA defensive player of the year, along the baseline at 10:32.

After Plavich threw up an airball, Cameron Bennerman hit a pull-up jumper to give the Wolfpack its first lead since Hodge scored the first basket of the game.

Bennerman held Plavich scoreless in the second half while scoring all 12 of his points.

Louisville escapes upset bid by Ragin' Cajuns

NASHVILLE, TN — Rick Pitino warned his team.

Louisville's coach didn't expect an easy game against Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and the Ragin' Cajuns proved just as troublesome as Pitino suspected — maybe even more.

``Even at halftime, we said look guys, you think you're going to blow this team out, you're mistaken. It's coming down to last 2 minutes,'' Pitino said after his fourth-seeded Cardinals advanced in the Albuquerque Regional with a 68-62 victory Friday night.

Francisco Garcia went 7-for-7 from the foul line in the final 1:57, finishing with 27 points to help Louisville (30-4) reach the second round for the second time in three years under Pitino, who is 28-9 in the NCAA tournament.

There were eight lead changes in the second half before Louisville finally went ahead for good, 56-55, on two free throws by Larry O'Bannon with 3:43 to go. The Cardinals were held to one field goal the rest of the way — Otis George's tip-in — but made eight more free throws to pull away.

O'Bannon scored 13 points and Taquan Dean has 12 for Louisville, which erased memories of a first-round loss to Xavier a year ago.

Brian Hamilton led Louisiana-Lafayette (20-11) with 19 points before fouling out. Tiras Wade had 15 points and Chris Cameron added 11.

Preview: (7) Cincinnati vs. (2) Kentucky

Cincinnati's Jason Maxiell isn't happy the Bearcats haven't played area rival Kentucky in 14 years. With a dominant first-round performance in the NCAA tournament, Maxiell made sure that the matchup finally happened.

Seventh-seeded Cincinnati faces No. 2 Kentucky for the first time in the tournament when the teams meet Saturday in a second round in Indianapolis (8:10 p.m.)

To the relief of coach Bob Huggins, the Bearcats were focused and defeated Iowa 76-64 on Thursday night. Huggins had worked hard to get his team to take care of business in the first round amid the Bearcats' excitement over a possible matchup with the Wildcats, who are just 94 miles south in Lexington.

``If they spend all that time thinking about that, they'll be watching Kentucky play Iowa on TV,'' Huggins said before Cincinnati's opener.

Instead, Maxiell helped Cincinnati overpower the Hawkeyes inside as it advanced to the second round for the 10th time in 11 years.

Now Cincinnati gets to face Kentucky, a team that Maxiell has been fixated on playing throughout his college career.

``I came here four years ago, and each year I've asked coach Huggs, 'Can we play Kentucky?' and they couldn't arrange for that game to happen,'' Maxiell said last week.

For the Bearcats to get a win against the Wildcats, they'll have to keep up their intensity level under the basket in what's sure to be another physical battle. Kentucky also used its inside power to advance, defeating Eastern Kentucky 72-64 on Thursday.

Kentucky and Cincinnati haven't met since Nov. 28, 1990, in Cincinnati, a 75-71 Wildcats victory. Kentucky leads the series 26-10.

The winner advances to face third-seeded Oklahoma or sixth-seeded Utah in Friday's regional semifinals.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Cincinnati - F Hicks (13.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg), F Maxiell (15.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg), F White (10.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg), G Kirkland (10.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg), G Williams (8.7 ppg, 1.9 apg). Kentucky - F Hayes (10.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.8 spg), F Azubuike (14.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg), C Morris (8.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Sparks (11.1 ppg, 3.8 apg), G Rondo (7.8 pgp, 3.4 apg, 2.6 spg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Cincinnati - At-large berth, Conference USA; beat Iowa 76-64, first round. Kentucky - At-large berth, SEC; beat Eastern Kentucky 72-64, first round.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Cincinnati - 40-22, 24 years. Kentucky - 96-41, 46 years.

Preview: (11) UAB vs. (3) Arizona

Some observers felt UAB didn't belong in the NCAA tournament. For the second consecutive year, the Blazers are proving that they do.

UAB looks to pull off another big second-round upset and make its second straight trip to the regional semifinals when it meets third-seeded Arizona in Boise (5:40 p.m.)

UAB received one of the more controversial at-large berths awarded by the selection committee, considering it went through a four-game losing streak in February and failed to beat a ranked team all season.

The 11th-seeded Blazers quieted their critics in the opening round by dominating No. 6 seed LSU, 82-68. With an attacking defense that got the Tigers out of rhythm from the outset, UAB went ahead by double digits midway through the first half and led by as many as 25 points after halftime.

``I thought our guys were clicking on a lot of different cylinders,'' Blazers coach Mike Anderson said. ``We've been playing some pretty good basketball and now you're seeing some of the parts starting to come together.''

That's what happened for Anderson's team in last year's tournament, in which UAB beat Washington in the first round before stunning top-seeded Kentucky. A victory Saturday over the Wildcats, who could have been a No. 1 seed if they hadn't lost the Pac-10 title game, would be nearly as impressive.

While the Blazers have no starter taller than 6-foot-8, Arizona star center Channing Frye is 6-11 and starting forward Ivan Radenovic is 6-10.

What UAB lacks in size it makes up for with defensive intensity. The team's relentless pressure forced LSU into 21 turnovers, slightly more than the Blazers' season average that led Conference USA. They also were tops in C-USA with 11.8 steals per game.

Arizona is coming off an impressive defensive performance of its own, holding Utah State to 8-for-30 from the field (26.7 percent) in the second half en route to a 66-53 victory Thursday.

Arizona and UAB are meeting for the first time.

PROBABLE STARTERS: UAB - F Lewis (8.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg), F Eddins (12.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg), G Johnson (5.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 2.3 spg), G Taylor (15.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.0 spg), G McDonald (11.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg). Arizona - F Adams (12.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 spg), F Radenovic (8.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg), C Frye (15.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg), G Stoudamire (18.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg), G Shakur (8.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.7 apg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: UAB - At-large berth, Conference USA; beat LSU 82-68, first round. Arizona - At-large berth, Pac-10; beat Utah State 66-53, first round.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: UAB - 9-11, 12 years. Arizona - 38-22, 24 years.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:22 PM


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