NCAA Tournament: South Regional: Gonzaga wins in last second

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 21, 2009

Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. ó Freshman Demetri Goodson streaked the length of the court and made a short, running bank shot with 0.9 seconds left, lifting fourth-seeded Gonzaga over Western Kentucky 83-81 Saturday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga (28-5) advanced to the South Region semifinals to play top-seeded North Carolina on Friday in Memphis, Tenn. The Tar Heels defeated LSU 84-70.
Steffphon Pettigrew hit a tip-in for the 12th-seeded Hilltoppers (25-9) that tied it at 81 with 7.2 seconds left. But Goodson took the inbounds pass and went straight to the basket with little resistance, hitting from close on the left side.
Western Kentucky, which made a surprise run to the regional semifinals last year, was led by Orlando Mendez-Valdez with 25 points.
This was the 11th straight victory for the Zags, who won the West Coast Conference regular-season title and tournament. The Hilltoppers won the Sun Belt Conference.
Josh Heytvelt’s layup with 7:34 left made it 67-64, and he made a bank shot and free throw that put Gonzaga ahead 81-72 with 2:14 left.
But Orlando Mendez-Valdez hit a 3-pointer to make it 81-77 with 1:30 to go. After a Zags turnover, Mendez-Valdez hit Pettigrew for a breakaway dunk with 58.7 seconds left that made it 81-79. Pettigrew’s tip-in tied it.
Matt Bouldin had 20 points and eight rebounds for Gonzaga. Jeremy Pargo added 18 points.
Mendez-Valdez had 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, for the Hilltoppers, who had won eight straight going into the game. A.J. Slaughter had 24.
The Zags have made the round of 16 five times in the past 11 years ó this is their first trip there since 2006. They burst onto the national scene in 1999 as scrappy mid-major underdogs who reached the final eight.
Oklahoma 73, Michigan 63
KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó Blake Griffin picked up a head of steam and launched himself skyward. He soared over Michigan’s Zack Novak for a monstrous one-handed slam, then stood there for a second, chest heaving.
Even the Michigan fans rose up to cheer ó Griffin is that good.
He finished with 33 points and 17 rebounds to power Oklahoma to a 73-63 victory over Michigan.
Still sore from being dumped by Morgan State’s Ameer Ali, Griffin dominated the undersized Wolverines to help the second-seeded Sooners (29-5) advance to next week’s South Regional semifinals against the Syracuse-Arizona State winner in Memphis, Tenn.
The 10th-seeded Wolverines (21-14) pulled off a mild upset in the opening round over Clemson, but couldn’t handle Griffin’s tenacity to make it two in a row.