ROSEMONT—While the Rush came out of the gates firing on all cylinders offensively this afternoon, they could not pick up a win as they fell to the Spokane Shock 76-61 to drop to 0-2 on the young season.The Rush veterans carried the load for the first ninety seconds of the game. WR Reggie Gray took the opening kick to midfield, and immediately followed that with a reception down to the two yard line. From there, Fullback JJ Payne muscled through the Shock defensive line for a quick opening score.On the other side of the ball, the Shock could not immediately get a rhythm down.Spokane’s very first offensive play from scrimmage was a neutral zone infraction. From there, Quarterback Erik Meyer’s first completion was turned into an incomplete pass after video review. Eventually Adron Tennell was there to provide a lifeline and haul in two passes to extend the drive. Partner-in-Crime Steven Black ended the drive with a touchdown catch in the middle of the end zone.After Gray returned the kickoff to the 15 yard line, it only took Rush QB Carson Coffman two plays to connect this time, finding WR Rodney Wright in the corner of the end zone for a quick six. AFL Week One MVP Meyer was able to work his magic once again, capitalizing on an Adron Tennell double-move to even the score up at 14.Coffman’s hot start cooled down on the third drive. The second-year quarterback could not connect with any receivers, and the ball went back to Spokane. The Shock capitalized on the momentum with yet another touchdown toss.After a penalty gave the Rush good field position on the resulting kickoff, Payne took the ball once again, turned a corner and was able to get in the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. The Shock were quick to respond as Eastern Illinois alumnus Terrance Sanders made his presence known, working his way through the Rush kickoff team and into the end zone.After matching touchdowns by each team, a near-exact repeat of the play that turned around the game last week against Iowa occurred as the ensuing kickoff bounced right off the bottom iron and into the hands of streaking cover man Paul Stephens, giving the Shock fourteen points in the blink of an eye. After two more matching touchdowns, the Rush went into the locker room with a fourteen point deficit.335-pound offensive lineman Ryan Cave delivered the opening salvo of the second half, as he took a screen pass down the sideline for a quick first down pickup. Jack Linebacker Kelvin Morris was injured on the play, but would return on the next drive. The Shock were quick to keep the pressure on, as they marched down and built their lead to 21 points. With life still left in the Rush, it was offensive lineman Colin Madison’s time to shine. The Villa Park native, who was eligible on the play, took a seven yard pass from Coffman into the end zone to bridge the gap to two scores.After another Shock score, their kickoff team did not allow Wright to leave the end zone, giving the ball to the Rush at their own three. The drive started out grim, as a few incomplete passes and an apparent injury to Gray had the Rush in a bad spot as the third quarter came to a close. Nate Forse turned out to be the hero of the drive, hauling in a touchdown reception to keep hope alive.Realizing that the Rush had started gaining momentum on offense, Spokane changed up their strategy on offense, resorting to shorter passes that ate up the clock. While it looked like the Rush were able to adjust and about to achieve their first stop of the night, Meyer found Jeffrey Solomon in the end zone, effectively ending Chicago’s hopes.Luckily for the Rush, Reggie was able to find his way back into the game in style, hauling in his third and fourth touchdowns of the night. Despite the highlights offensively, the Rush could still not muster a stop on defense. As a result, the Rush drop to 0-2 on the season with a 76-61 loss to the Spokane Shock.The Rush will travel to San Antonio to face the Talons for the first road game of the season next week.
DETROIT—In less than two minutes, the Blackhawks did all the damage they needed to do.Brandon Saad had two goals and an assist and Dave Bolland scored twice in the Hawks 7-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
“Especially these early games, it’s nice to get off to a good start,” Saad said. “We got a couple of bounces and got a couple of goals and it was nice to play with the lead.”
Jonathan Toews added a goal and two assists and Jeremy Morin and Nick Leddy, also scored for the Hawks. Corey Crawford made 33 saves.
“Contributions from everybody. It certainly helps when you get a quick start like that right off the bat,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Cory Emmerton scored Detroit’s goal. Jimmy Howard was pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson early in the second period. Gustavsson made nine saves.The Blackhawks led 3-0 at the end of the first period after scoring on its first three shots in a 1:39 span in the game’s first four-and-a-half minutes.Morin, who was recalled from the minor leagues on Saturday, opened the scoring when he put one in from a goal-mouth scramble at 2:33. Saad capitalized on a breakaway off left wing to beat Howard, for his fifth goal of the season, 48 seconds later and Bolland was credited with his first goal of the game, at 4:12, when Detroit defenseman Jakub Kindl accidentally flipped the puck into his own net while trying to clear it from the crease.
“We didn’t play hockey tonight whatsoever. It’s tough when you spot them a few goals right away from the start,” Red Wings’ defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “You dig a big hole for yourselves and we couldn’t find a way to get back. It was embarrassing at times.” The Red Wings didn’t manage a shot until 7:15 into the game and Detroit defenseman Brian Lashoff hit the goal post with a little under two minutes left in the opening period.
“We wanted to have a good first period,” Toews said. “We were glad to put up a lot of goals early. But we knew we couldn’t let up.”
Toews and Saad scored eight seconds apart early in the second period for a 5-0 lead.Toews got his 17 goal, at 3:52. That sent Howard to the showers and Saad collected his sixth goal of the season at 4:00, on the first shot on Gustavsson.Bolland’s second goal of the game and seventh of the season came 7:55 into the third. Leddy got his sixth goal, with 3:39 left. Emmerton thwarted Crawford’s shutout bid with 33 seconds left.
NOTES—Sunday was Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday. The Red Wings wore jerseys with Howe’s retired No. 9 during warmups. He was on hand at Joe Louis Arena signing autographs, and fans could sign a birthday card for Howe. Former Red Wings’ D Nicklas Lidstrom, who won seven Norris Trophies, was in from Sweden for the occasion. Also on hand were Red Wings Hall of Famers Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio…..Detroit C and captain Henrik Zetterberg didn’t play because of a lower-body injury after skating in warmups. He is day-to-day…. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa were both on the injured list with lower-body injuries.
ARLINGTON—Trey Burke and Michigan had the perfect response for everyone who said they were too young or not tough enough to make it all the way to Atlanta.The championship trophy for the South Region is headed back to Ann Arbor, while another fabulous group of young Wolverines is going to the Final Four.Led by Burke and sharp-shooting guard Nik Stauskas, one of three freshmen starters, Michigan controlled Florida from start to finish in a 79-59 win Sunday.
“It means the world — 20 years has passed and we haven’t been on that stage yet,” said Tim Hardaway Jr., the junior elder statesman in the starting lineup.
The last time Michigan made it this far was the Fab Five era of the early 1990s, what until now had been considered the program’s glory years.Might be time to start rethinking that.Once they got ahead Sunday, the Wolverines (30-7) maintained a double-digit lead against the experienced Gators (29-8), who won the regular-season title in the Southeastern Conference, but lost in a regional final for the third straight year.
“We’ve almost become numb to it now. Been here before,” Gators junior center Patric Young said. “I just really wish we were out there cutting the nets down.”
Stauskas scored 22 points while making all six of his 3-pointers. Burke, the South Region’s most outstanding player, scored 15 points, and 6-foot-10 freshman Mitch McGary had 11 points and nine rebounds.When the game ended, Burke and several of his teammates went to the opposite side of the court toward Michigan fans behind press row with fingers raised. Fans were chanting, “It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine!” And great to be young.
“Seeing it all come together, I don’t what to say,” sixth-year Wolverines coach John Beilein said. “I’m a little bit speechless.”
Michigan hadn’t reached the Final Four since consecutive finals appearances in 1992 and 1993, the freshman and sophomore seasons of the Fab Five — Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King.Webber was gone before that team’s 1994 regional final loss to Arkansas played in the now-demolished Reunion Arena in Dallas, and Howard followed him to the NBA after that.With four wins in this NCAA tourney, the Wolverines already have more tournament victories than their total from the end of the Fab Five era to this season. They had one win in 1998, and then didn’t even make the field again until 2009.Burke is from Columbus, Ohio, and grew up an Ohio State football fan while rooting for Duke basketball. The sophomore still knew of the Wolverines’ history and isn’t surprised to be back in the Final Four again so quickly after arriving in Ann Arbor.
“I said it in the summer and the coaches kind of got on me saying we can be national championship contenders. But that was coming from my heart,” said Burke, surrounded by the sons of three former NBA players. “I knew once we put the talent with the toughness and execution, then I knew this team could be special. We’re coming together at the right time.”
Despite being the only team to make regional finals each of the past three seasons, the Gators haven’t been to the Final Four since winning consecutive national titles in 2006 and 2007 for coach Billy Donovan.Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy, the four-year seniors who came in not long after those titles, will leave without one of their own. They were part of the only Gators class to win consecutive outright SEC regular-season championships, but came up short in the biggest games.Florida is the first team to make it to three consecutive regional finals without winning at least one of them. Wyoming lost in the round of eight from 1947-49, but that stretch ended two years before the NCAA tournament expanded to more than eight teams.
“I feel more upset for Boynton, [Mike] Rosario and Murphy, who don’t get a chance and have come so close,” Donovan said. “This one, we didn’t play well enough or deserve to win.”
Boynton and Will Yeguete had 13 points apiece for the Gators.The Gators were able to recover from an early deficit against Florida Gulf Coast for a 62-50 win Friday night on the raised stage at Cowboys Stadium.It was another story facing Big Blue.After McGary started the scoring with a layup, Stauskas made a behind-the-back pass to McGary for a slam before making his first 3-pointer less than a half-minute after that.Burke passed to McGary for a layup before driving for one of his own. McGary’s jumper made it 13-0 only 3:05 into the game.Stauskas, who was 2 of 12 from 3-point range the first three games of this NCAA tourney, was on target against the Gators.The 6-6 guard from Canada put the Wolverines up by 24 points with 4:08 left in the first half after two consecutive 3s from the left corner in a span of 27 seconds.Like he did on all of his makes, Stauskas came back down the court with a smile on his face, sharing the moment with the Wolverines fans who made the trip to North Texas.
“I can’t even explain the feeling. I was having so much fun,” Stauskas said. “I’ve been working and dreaming my whole life about something like this. To finally have it, I have a smile on my face and I’m enjoying the moment.”
Florida missed its first seven shots before Yeguete made a layup more than 3½ minutes into the game.It was a rough finale for Murphy, who twice thought he had easy baskets in front of him only to have the shots blocked. Murphy had eight rebounds, but finished 0-of-11 shooting and was scoreless for the first time this season.Murphy was clearly devastated, staring at the floor with slumped shoulder in the locker room after the game.
“Just missed shots,” Murphy said, barely loud enough to be heard, and answering in short spurts. “Our defense was bad.”
Even with an 11-2 run late in the first half punctuated by Boynton’s 3-pointer, the Gators were still down by 15 with a minute to go in the first half.But the Wolverines were able to score even after it appeared that the half had ended; Burke was already heading off the court pumping his right arm toward the Michigan fans.Stauskas was fouled on a 3-point attempt with .4 seconds left and, after officials reviewed the play, hit two free throws to give the Wolverines a 47-30 lead.It was that kind of day for Michigan, and for Florida, as well.
LOS ANGELES —Believe it. Wichita State is going to Atlanta, and these Shockers are no longer a surprise after the way the tenacious ninth seeds held off mighty Ohio State in the West Regional final.Malcolm Armstead scored 14 points, Fred Van Vleet bounced in a big basket with one minute left, and Wichita State earned its first trip to the Final Four since 1965 with a 70-66 victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday.Van Vleet scored 12 points as the Shockers (30-8) followed up last week’s win over top-ranked Gonzaga with a nail-biting victory over the second-seeded Buckeyes (29-8), whose 11-game winning streak ended one short of their second straight Final Four. Wichita State’s 20-point lead in the second half dwindled to three in the final minutes, but several Shockers stepped up with big plays to stop the surge, heeding coach Gregg Marshall’s halftime command to “play angry.” All that anger turned into a joyous postgame party at midcourt, even though the Shockers realize they’ve got more work to do.Wichita State is just the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to reach the Final Four since seeding began in 1979, but the second in three years following 11th-seeded VCU’s improbable run in 2011. The Shockers’ celebration was wild, if a bit disbelieving, in front of several thousand roaring fans.Wichita State roared to a 20-point lead with 11 minutes to play after Ohio State played an awful first half, but LaQuinton Ross scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime, leading a ferocious rally that got the Buckeyes within three points in the final minutes.Tekele Cotton hit a clutch 3-pointer for Wichita State with 2:20 left and grabbed a key offensive rebound moments later, allowing VanVleet to score on a shot that bounced all over the rim before dropping. Ron Baker and Cotton hit last-minute free throws to secure the second Final Four trip in Wichita State’s history and a school-record 30th win.
WASHINGTON—When played to perfection, there’s nothing quite like Syracuse’s aggressive, half-court 2-3 zone defense.It’s 40 minutes of trapping and shot-challenging, of closing off angles, of trusting teammates.
“We showed,” senior guard Brendan Triche said, “that defense wins games.”
Yes, the Orange D certainly does. With a second suffocating performance at the East Regional, No. 4-seeded Syracuse shut down No. 3 Marquette 55-39 Saturday to earn coach Jim Boeheim his fourth trip to the Final Four — and first since a freshman named Carmelo Anthony helped win the 2003 NCAA championship.Fittingly, a matchup between schools from the soon-to-break-apart, rough-and-tumble Big East became quite a struggle on the offensive end. Syracuse (30-9) was led by senior forward James Southerland’s 16 points. Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-6 guard who is out front in the zone, was named the regional’s top player after accounting for 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals and only one turnover Saturday.Marquette (26-9) hadn’t scored fewer than 47 points all season – and, indeed, put up 74 in a victory over Syracuse on Feb. 25. But this time, Marquette kept turning the ball over, seeing its shots blocked or just plain missing.The Golden Eagles’ 39 points were a record low for a team in an NCAA tournament regional final since the shot clock was introduced in 1986.
“They beat us from start to finish. We collectively tried everything we knew to try,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “It is the zone, and it is the players in the zone.”
Much like what happened Thursday in the regional semifinals, when Syracuse knocked off top-seeded Indiana by limiting it to a season-low output, too.
“I don’t think we’ve played as good defensively as these last two games,” Triche said. “We held some good teams down.”
All told, Marquette made only 12 of 53 shots – 23 percent – and was 3 for 24 on 3-pointers. Vander Blue, who carried Marquette to the round of eight, was held to 14 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
“They cover ground really good. You’ve got to get the ball in the middle, you’ve got to play inside out, you’ve got to get to the free-throw line and wear them down with the 3-pointer when you can,” Blue said. “They’re really good at what they do in that zone.”
Consider these numbers through four games in the tournament: Syracuse is averaging 6.5 blocks and 10.8 steals, while forcing opponents into 29 percent shooting, including 15 percent on 3-pointers.
“We couldn’t get one to drop in from up close,” said Marquette’s Jamil Wilson, who was 0 for 5 on 3-pointers, 1 for 9 overall. “We couldn’t get one to drop in from outside.”
The next team to try to solve that defense will be the winner of Sunday’s South Regional final between Florida and Michigan. Syracuse is 3-0 in national semifinal games under Boeheim.
With President Barack Obama — a basketball fan who picked Indiana to win the title — and NFL Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins sitting in the crowd, Syracuse harassed Marquette into missing 14 of its first 15 tries from beyond the 3-point arc.Marquette started 1 for 10 overall on field-goal tries, with Blue’s 3-pointer about 1½ minutes in the only make. He celebrated as though it came at the end of the game, not the outset, punching the air and tapping defender Triche on the back while heading to the other end of the court.After Blue’s 3, Marquette missed its next seven shots. There would be other such stretches. Six misses in a row. Six misses in a row. Even nine in a row.The Golden Eagles also went nearly 6½ minutes without a single field-goal attempt in the first half.
DALLAS—Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Bulls 100-98 on Saturday. The Bulls defense in the last few minutes of Nowitzki was horrible. They kept leaving him wide open. The Mavericks trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki scored Dallas’ last eight points in a closing 15-1 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes of the game. He finished with a season-high 35 points.After Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds remaining, Nowitzki connected on the winning 3 with Luol Deng running at him. Nate Robinson then missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it.Robinson scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth in the Bulls first game since ending the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak.
INDIANAPOLIS—Seth Curry shot Duke right into the regional finals — and put Mike Krzyzewski on the verge of another milestone. “Seth was just at a different level than anyone else on the court offensively tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “To get 29 points in a game like this against a good team is just incredible.”
If No. 2 seed Duke (30-5) beats top-seeded Louisville (32-5) in Sunday’s regional final, Krzyzewski would tie John Wooden’s record with 12 Final Four trips.Curry scored 29 points and the Blue Devils beat Michigan State 71-61 on Friday night to advance to the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA tournament. Third-seeded Michigan State (27-9) just couldn’t keep up with Curry and Duke’s shooters. Keith Appling had 16 points for the Spartans, and Adreian Payne finished with 14.Curry’s sixth 3-pointer of the game broke a 38-38 tie early in the second half, sending Duke on a 9-0 run. It also matched the school record for most 3s in an NCAA tourney game, most recently accomplished by Jason Williams on March 22, 2001, against UCLA.The Blue Devils never trailed again.Rasheed Sulaimon had 16 points and Mason Plumlee finished with 14 for Duke.The win comes 16 months after Duke beat Michigan State to give Krzyzewski the NCAA record for wins. Now, one year after falling to Lehigh in the second round of the tournament, Krzyzewski is on the verge of breaking a second-place tie with North Carolina’s Dean Smith and matching Wooden’s mark.Louisville coach Rick Pitino has made six appearances in the Final Four. Another win would tie him for fourth with Roy Williams in a game that likely will be played in front of another highly partisan Cardinals crowd.
ARLINGTON—Trey Burke shook off one of his worst starts with the best shot of his life.Burke bounced back from a scoreless first half to score 23 points, including a long, never-a-doubt 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, and Michigan rallied to beat Kansas 87-85 in overtime in the South Regional semifinals Friday night. The fourth-seeded Wolverines wiped out a 10-point Kansas lead in the last 3 minutes of regulation, and Burke gave them their first lead since early in the game with another long 3 to open Michigan’s scoring in overtime.
“This guy was a champ all the way through it,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.
They’ll certainly remember this one in Ann Arbor for a while.The Wolverines (29-7) reached the regional finals for the first time since the Fab Five era 19 years ago, the last time they were in the round of 16.Ben McLemore had 20 points to lead the Jayhawks (31-6), who looked to be on their way to a third straight regional final before Michigan’s improbable rally. Instead, they became the third No. 1 seed to fall in this tournament, joining Gonzaga and Indiana.The Wolverines were down five when Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left, but Glenn Robinson III won a scramble for the ball and hit a reverse layup to force Kansas to win the game at the free throw line.The Jayhawks couldn’t do it. Burke’s tying shot — he pulled up from well beyond the arc just right of key — came with 4.2 seconds left after Elijah Johnson missed a free throw moments after hitting two to keep the Kansas lead at five. Burke had scored on a layup to get Michigan back to within three.
“I’m so proud of my team because a lot of people say we’re young, but we stuck with it tonight,” Burke said. “I’m just so happy right now. We stayed together and we got the win.”
The lead changed hands five times in overtime — the first OT game of the tournament — the last when Mitch McGary, who led Michigan with 25 points and 14 rebounds, hit a short jumper with Johnson in his face to put Michigan ahead for good 83-82.The Jayhawks got a stop and had about 9 seconds to tie or win, but a jumbled possession ended with Naadir Tharpe missing a running jumper at the buzzer.
“Well, this will go down as one of the toughest games obviously that we’ve been a part of … and I’ve been a part of,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
The Wolverines wiped out a 10-point Kansas lead on a 14-4 run in the final 2:52 of regulation. Burke had eight points, including two 3-pointers, in the stretch.Burke gave Michigan its first lead since early in the game with his long 3-pointer to make it 79-78 early in overtime. He hit a jumper on the next possession as well.Burke was scoreless in the first half for the Wolverines, then got his team going by scoring eight straight points early in the second half to momentarily cut the deficit to two.
“In the second half, coach told me to be more aggressive so I looked for my shot more,” he said.
But Kansas restored a 10-point lead built on dominating inside in the first half, this time with a 3-pointer and a tomahawk dunk on a breakaway by McLemore and a three-point play from Johnson.Johnson, who picked up three fouls in just three minutes of playing time in the first half, gave Kansas its biggest lead at 68-54 with a 3-pointer from the corner with just under 7 minutes left.Travis Releford had 16 points for the Jayhawks, while Jeff Withey had 12 points and eight rebounds.Kansas pushed out to a 10-point lead early by dominating around the basket. McLemore’s first basket was the first outside the paint as the Jayhawks scored 34 of their 40 first-half points from inside while shooting 69 percent.Withey put Kansas ahead 29-19 with a turnaround shot that had McGary shrugging at a teammate and saying, “I’m trying.” McGary wasn’t having nearly as much trouble on the offensive end, leading the Wolverines with 11 points and five rebounds in the first half. He picked up where he left off in the third round against Virginia Commonwealth, when he had season highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds. Michigan pulled within 40-34 at the half when Nik Stauskas hit a 3-pointer and had chance for a four-point play when McLemore bumped him on the shot. But he missed the free throw.The game was stopped less than 2 minutes in so officials could go to video review to call a flagrant foul against Johnson for a hit below the waist on McGary.
A stronger start and tight defensive effort led to a better result for the Anaheim Ducks.And it was bad news for the Blackhawks.Sheldon Souray scored with 2:08 left in regulation to break a tie, Jonas Hiller made 25 saves and Anaheim defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 on Friday to end a four-game losing streak. Souray’s drive through a screen from the left point hit the stick of Niklas Hjalmarsson and deflected past Ray Emery, who suffered his first loss of the season.During their slide, the Ducks were outscored 9-1 in the first period of the four games and never recovered.Friday’s game was scoreless after 20 minutes.Anaheim’s Corey Perry scored at 1:15 of the second period in the meeting of the top two teams in the Western Conference, played before a season-high of 22,105 at the United Center.Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal at 2:26 of the third to tie it at 1 and extend his point streak to eight games. He has six goals and nine assists during the span.With the win, Anaheim (23-7-4) improved to 50 points, three behind conference-leading the Blackhawks (25-5-3).
“I think we gained confidence the longer the game went without them scoring,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It was a really good test for us. We’re not out of the woods by any stretch.”
Anaheim, which had been outscored 15-6 during its losing streak, tightened up defensively and checked closely through much of the game.
“Everybody was ready to work a little harder, to do a little more than the last games,” Hiller said. “We were winning the one-on-one battles again, and that makes a huge difference.”
Emery, 12-1-0 this season, made 22 saves.
“We battled back and got it to 1-1 and then, you know, the last couple minutes, just a funny bounce,” Emery said. “It happens every once in a while. But I thought we played pretty well for the most part.”
The Ducks hadn’t won since March 20, when they rallied late in the third period to beat Chicago 4-2. Anaheim swept its season series from the Hawks, winning all three games.
“We had a chance,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It looked like you might get something out of the game and you come up empty three games in a row. The exact same time of the game. It’s disappointing.”
The Blackhawks played again without two of their top forwards, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, who are out with upper-body injuries. Hossa missed his fourth game and Sharp sat out his ninth.Both Emery and Hiller made a handful of tough saves in an evenly played, scoreless first period in which both teams had nine shots.After keeping the Hawks off the board in the first on Friday, the Ducks jumped in front 1-0 on Perry’s goal 1:15 into the second.After skating down the right wing, Perry fired from the outside of the right circle and fooled Emery with a shot that slipped between his pads.Once they got the lead, the Ducks tightened their defensive coverage and the Blackhawks’ top players struggled to find space in the second period.Brandon Saad was set up for a prime attempt by Kane about seven minutes into the second, but his shot was blocked by Ryan Getzlaf.The Balckhawks’ Nick Leddy hit the left post with a drive from the left point midway through the second.Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan hit the post with a backhand shot with 5:03 left in the period, and then was stopped in-close by Emery’s quick pad save about two minutes later.Jimmy Hayes missed a point-blank chance in the final minute of the second when Souray deflected his shot.The Blackhawks broke through on Kane’s power-play goal at 2:26 of the third, scored moments after Emery had made a sprawling save on Daniel Winnik’s short-handed attempt.After taking a quick pass from Duncan Keith, Kane skated in unchecked halfway from the right point and beat Hiller with high shot into the upper right corner of the net.Hiller stopped Saad from the slot about seven minutes into the third. Emery made a quick glove save on Ryan, who was left alone 15 feet out in the slot, about three minutes later.
NOTES—Following a 4-0 loss to the Sharks on Wednesday, the Ducks remained in San Jose on Thursday and practiced before traveling to Chicago. The Ducks had planned to fly to Chicago early and practice here, but a flight delay forced them to reschedule.
WASHINGTON—After sweating through a pair of edge-of-your-seat comebacks, Marquette’s first Sweet 16 victory in a decade was as straight and smooth as the 15-foot step-back jumper that Vander Blue nailed at the end of the first half.It helped that the Golden Eagles ran into an out-of-sorts Miami team that, in an echo of its bus ride to the Verizon Center, was able to make as much headway as a frustrated commuter in rush-hour traffic. Marquette is in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003, getting there with an emphatic 71-61 win over Miami on Thursday night. The Golden Eagles were never threatened after taking a double-digit lead in the first half, quite the contrast from their rallies that beat Davidson by one and Butler by two earlier in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s fantastic. It feels good not to have to worry about, are you going to lose on a last-second shot or are you going to win on a last-second shot?” said Jamil Wilson, who had 16 points and eight rebounds. “To have a cushion like that, these guys played with tremendous heart, and we did it all game.”
Blue, who made the shot that beat Davidson and led the comeback against Butler, finished with 14 points. He wasn’t Marquette’s leading scorer, but his offensive and defensive energy pushed the Golden Eagles to a big lead early. It’s a good thing he got his buzzer-beater before halftime — for a change, Marquette didn’t need one at the end of the game.
“We’re so used to people not giving us credit. … That fuels our fire,” Blue said.
The third-seeded Golden Eagles (26-8) will face No. 4 seed Syracuse in the East Regional final on Saturday, aiming for a spot in the Final Foul for the first time since the 2003 team lead by current Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. Marquette was knocked out in the round of 16 the past two years.
“after 3 tries in the sweet 16 we finally figured it out. Congrts,” Wade tweeted after the game.
This one wasn’t hard to decipher. Marquette could shoot; Miami couldn’t. The Hurricanes (29-7) had sentiment on their side, returning to the arena where coach Jim Larranaga led mid-major George Mason to the Final Four seven years ago, but they made only 35 percent of their field goals and missed 18 of 26 3-pointers.