St. Joe's pounded by No. 18 Saint Louis

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St. Joe's pounded by No. 18 Saint Louis

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS -- Saint Joseph's got a season-best 25 points from Ronald Roberts. The rest of the stat sheet was pretty sad.

The Hawks got routed in the second half and ended up on the wrong end of a 70-53 loss at No. 18 Saint Louis on Wednesday night. They shot a season-worst 32.6 percent and were outrebounded 41-29, giving up 15 on the offensive end.

"In the second half, I know it sounds like a simple game, but they made layups and we didn't," coach Phil Martelli said. "The rebounding margin is a cause of concern. You can't have a plan for a putback. Those putbacks killed us."

Dwayne Evans had 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in one of his most complete games of the season for Saint Louis, which has won 10 in a row and leads the Atlantic 10.

Rob Loe had 11 points and six rebounds and Mike McCall Jr. contributed 10 points, five assists and four rebounds for the balanced Billikens (22-5, 11-2).

Saint Louis cracked the Top 25 this week for the first time this season after beating a pair of ranked opponents on the road. The Billikens have won by double digits eight times during their winning streak.

Coming off an eight-point effort in a victory over George Washington, Roberts was a standout with three dunks.

But Carl Jones, the Hawks' leading scorer with a 14.7-point average, missed his first seven shots, including two airballs, and finally got on the board midway through the second half. He finished with three points.

Langston Galloway added 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting for Saint Joseph's, which was just 3 for 17 from 3-point range and has lost seven straight in the series by an average of 10 points.

"They had a whole bunch of offensive boards," Roberts said. "They rotate well and had a man open it seemed like all the time to get those offensive boards. Give them credit."

Saint Louis outscored Saint Joseph's 21-5 over the first 9 minutes of the second half to go up 50-32. The Billikens locked down on defense, holding the Hawks to a 2-for-10 start.

"Their defense was what we thought it would be, but we had no fast-break points," Martelli said. "We've got to get our pace up.

"I thought we were a little bit passive."

Evans leads Saint Louis with averages of 12 points and 6.8 rebounds, and he averaged 15.6 points during the first nine games of the streak. McCall is averaging 14 points over the last three games.

Saint Louis hit its first three 3-pointers and led by 10 after four straight points by Evans made it 27-17 with 4:03 to go, but the Billikens finished the half 1 for 6.

Saint Joseph's shot just 33 percent in the half but was 11 for 13 at the free throw line and outscored Saint Louis 5-0 in the final minute to narrow the gap to two points. Roberts had 12 points with a pair of dunks in the first half, topping his average by a point four days after he was held to eight points in 16 minutes against George Washington.

The Billikens' depth was tested in the first half with Kwamain Mitchell, Jordair Jett and Cody Ellis each getting called for two fouls.

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NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left, and top-seeded North Carolina held off Kentucky 75-73 to earn the Tar Heels' second straight trip to the Final Four and 20th all-time in Sunday's showdown of college basketball's elite in the South Regional.

The Tar Heels (31-7) will play Midwest champ Oregon on Saturday in Phoenix in the national semifinal.

North Carolina took control with a 12-0 run within the final 5 minutes. Kentucky's freshmen De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk hit three quick 3s, the last two by Monk and his second with 7.2 seconds left tied it up at 73.

Theo Pinson brought the ball down, passed back to Maye. The sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina, knocked it down for the win with his feet on the 3-point line.

The Wildcats had one last chance, but Derek Willis' inbound pass went out of bounds on the far end.

Kentucky (32-6) will miss out on the Final Four for the second straight year.

South Carolina beats Florida to reach first Final Four
NEW YORK -- It's only right that South Carolina's first trip to Final Four was earned through its defense.

A team known for a swarming zone used it effectively down the stretch to beat Florida 77-70 on Sunday and win the East Regional at Madison Square Garden.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points for the seventh-seeded Gamecocks (26-10) against the fourth-seeded Gators (27-9) in the all-Southeastern Conference matchup.

South Carolina will face Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed from the West Regional, in the Final Four on Saturday at Glendale, Arizona.

"Gamecock Nation, we heard you loud and clear," coach Frank Martin roared as the team prepared to cut down the nets. "We'll see you in Phoenix."

The game was as close as expected until the final minute. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The last lead change came on two free throws by Thornwell with 2:24 left that made it 65-63. Florida managed just three field goals over the final 3:55.

Thornwell, the regional MVP, followed the deciding free throws with a nice assist to Maik Kotsar for a 4-point lead. It seemed Thornwell, who scored eight straight points for the Gamecocks, was always where he needed to be including making a steal with 40 seconds left that turned into a 73-68 lead.

"I just made plays," Thornwell said. "Plays needed to be made down the stretch and I stepped up and made plays."

"Thornwell was just being Thornwell," Florida coach Mike White said of the SEC player of the year. "He's one of the best players in the country."

PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva had 13 and Kotsar 12.

It all totaled to a Final Four trip for Martin, he of the booming voice and terrifying faces.

Justin Leon had 18 points for the Gators who managed a 40-33 halftime lead on 7-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. But that was it. Florida was 0 for 14 from beyond the arc in the second half, a lot like the 0-for-17 effort the Gators had in their first meeting with South Carolina this season.

South Carolina, which forced Florida into 16 turnovers, finished 23 for 31 from the free throw line, including a 9-for-10 effort from Thornwell.

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tyler Dorsey poured in 27 points, Dillon Brooks added 17 and plucky Oregon ended Kansas' romp through the NCAA Tournament with a 74-60 victory Saturday night that gave the Ducks their first Final Four trip in nearly 80 years.

Dylan Ennis added 12 points for the Ducks (33-5), who took the lead with 16 minutes left in the first half and never trailed again, giving coach Dana Altman his first trip to the national semifinals.

They'll face the winner of Sunday's game between North Carolina and Kentucky in Glendale, Arizona.

Player of the year front-runner Frank Mason III had 21 points in his final game for the Jayhawks (31-5), who had rolled to the Elite Eight by an average margin of 30 points. But their dream season ended with a thud just 40 minutes from campus on a night where very little went right (see full recap).

Gonzaga beats Xavier to reach 1st Final Four
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona (see full recap).