|Closing in||03.27.09 at 12:12 am ET|
Villanova is closing in on its second Elite Eight appearance in fourth years. They lost to eventual national champion Florida in 2006. Villanova would play fellow Big East rival Pittsburgh on Saturday for a chance to go to Detroit and the Final Four.
Villanova hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1985 when they won it all. Pittsburgh has never made the trip.
By the way, Gerald Henderson drilled his first field goal, a three with 5:20 remaining to bring Duke to within 64-49 but Villanova maintained control and answered when Dante Cunningham hit a layup.
|Ice cold||03.26.09 at 11:38 pm ET|
It’s no secret that Duke is a significantly better team when they hit their threes.
Duke started out 2-for-13 from beyond the arc before Greg Paulus came off the bench to drill his first three point attempt. It was Paulus’ first action of the game and the three came with over 15 minutes remaining in the second half.
On the Gerald Henderson watch, he is now 0-for-7 from the floor, with just two first half free throws to show for his efforts. He picked up his fourth personal fould with 13:53 remaining in the second half and went immediately to the bench.
|Catching up… Villanova 26, Duke 23 Halftime||03.26.09 at 11:18 pm ET|
Having returned from the press conference following Pittsburgh’s win over Xavier, some notes to pass along about Villanova and Duke.
First, Villanova made just 10 of 29 shots and lead, 26-23 at the break.
Duke shot 7-for-25 in the first half for 28 percent.
Villanova is outrebounding Duke, 22-17.
Gerald Henderson was 0-for-5 in the first half and missed his first shot of the second half.
|Pittsburgh 60, Xavier 55||03.26.09 at 9:46 pm ET|
Levance Fields stole the show in the final minute for the No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Panthers as he drained a desperation three from straightaway as the shot clock expired and then followed that up with a steal and a length-of-the-court drive and layup as the Panthers prevailed over No. 4 Xavier, 60-55.
Pittsburgh outscored Xavier 33-18 in the second half.
The Panthers advance to face the winner of the Villanova-Duke game in the nightcap. The East Regional championship will be played on Saturday at TD Banknorth Garden.
|Fielding a prayer||03.26.09 at 9:32 pm ET|
Levance Fields, with the shot clock winding down, just drilled a high-arcing three-point shot with 47.1 seconds remaining to give Pittsburgh the lead, 55-54. Fields then stole a pass and went the length of the court for an easy layup.
Pittsburgh leads 57-54, with 23.9 remaining.
|Big Break||03.26.09 at 9:16 pm ET|
A big break just went Xavier’s way and in a close game, it may be the difference.
B.J. Raymond took a long jumper from the right wing with four seconds remaining on the shot clock. The shot was off the mark but Derrick Brown collected the ball and put it in. The shot clock was at zero but the basket was ruled good.
The video board was showing the CBS replay with a telestrator circling the shot clock at zero but they faded to black. The basket with just under seven minutes put Xavier up, 47-46.
Jermaine Dixon moments ago missed a layup when it appeared he was going to style on a dunk, but Levance Fields was Johnny on the Spot and put back the miss for an easy two Panther points.
|Finally X marks the spot||03.26.09 at 8:58 pm ET|
Derrick Brown’s turnaround in the lane at 13:40 was not only Xavier’s first field goal of the second half, it marked their first points of the second stanza.
It also gave Xavier the lead again after Pittsburgh scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 38-37 advantage when Sam Young hit one of two free throws.