Tue, Mar 22, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Wolfpack in hunt for title

SWEET 16 NC State beat Connecticut 65-62 to advance to the regionals of the NCAA tournament with 15 others

AP , WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

North Carolina's Rashad McCants, left, drives on Iowa State's Damion Staple during the second half of thier game in the NCAA tournament at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday. The Tar Heels won the game 92-65 to advance to the regionals -- the 10th trip for coach Roy Williams in 17 tournament appearances.

PHOTO: AP

Julius Hodge scored on a slashing drive through the lane with 4.3 seconds left to give North Carolina State a 65-62 victory over defending champion Connecticut on Sunday, and send the Wolfpack to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16.

North Carolina State, the 10th seed in the Syracuse Regional, advances to the regional semifinals, along with 15 other Division I college teams for the first time since 1989, and will play Wisconsin.

The Huskies' loss also was a setback for the Big East conference, which has lost four teams so far, including a No. 2 seed and two No. 4 seeds.

Hodge was fouled by Ed Nelson on his drive and completed the three-point play. Marcus Williams' desperation 3 at the buzzer fell short.

Hodge finished with 17 points and six assists. Williams led the Huskies with a career-high 22 points, and Charlie Villanueva had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Villanova 76, Florida 65

In Nashville, Tennessee, reserve center Jason Fraser scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to help fifth-seeded Villanova make the round-of-16 for the first time since 1988, where it will play North Carolina.

With leading scorer Allan Ray struggling and Curtis Sumpter sitting out much of the game with an injury, Fraser and guard Randy Foye carried the Wildcats. Foye had 18 points.

The fourth-seeded Gators were held to 38.5 percent shooting and got little offensive support for David Lee, who had 20 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and three steals before fouling out. Matt Walsh finished with 12 points, but was 4-for-13. Anthony Roberson went 1-for-8 and finished with five points.

UNC 92, Iowa St. 65

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Sean May had 24 points and 17 rebounds, and sixth man Marvin Williams finished with a career-high 15 rebounds and the top-seeded Tar Heels advanced past the first weekend for the first time in five seasons.

Williams scored 20 points -- tying his season high for the second consecutive game -- and Rashad McCants added 17 for North Carolina (29-4), which went to the Final Four in 2000 before the tournament drought. Now, coach Roy Williams has the Tar Heels back in the regional semifinals in his second season, the 10th time he's made it that far in 17 NCAA tournament appearances.

Jared Homan, playing in his final game, finished with 19 points and 20 rebounds for Iowa State.

Wisconsin 71, Bucknell 62

In Oklahoma City, Wisconsin's Mike Wilkinson and Zach Morley carried the Badgers past the Bison.

Morley, who was shut out in 28 minutes of a first-round win over Northern Iowa, was 6-of-7 from the field with three 3-pointers and 15 points. His tap-in with 8:41 left put the Badgers ahead for good, then he protected the lead with a pair of defensive rebounds.

Oklahoma St. 85, S Illinois 77

In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Ivan McFarlin scored a career-high 31 points to move Oklahoma State into the round-of-16 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1991-1992.

The second-seeded Cowboys will play third-seeded Arizona next weekend in a meeting of the two oldest coaches in the tournament. Arizona's Lute Olson is 70, and Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton is 69.

Jamaal Tatum led the Salukis with 22 points. Seventh-seeded Southern Illinois got within 72-68 on Tatum's 3-pointer, but JamesOn Curry answered with a 3-pointer of his own. Oklahoma State hit all eight of its free throws down the stretch and McFarlin added a two-handed jam with 44.3 seconds left to keep his team ahead.

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