Lexington, Ky. • Vander Blue had no doubt where he was going with the ball. The Marquette guard’s only concern was whether he’d have room to make it happen.
Blue needed just four seconds to make his own path. Taking Jamil Wilson’s inbounds pass at midcourt with 5.5 seconds remaining, he drove left past Jake Cohen for a layup that completed a rally from nine points down and gave the third-seeded Golden Eagles an improbable 59-58 victory over No. 14 Davidson in Thursday’s second-round NCAA tournament game.
"All I was thinking was, ‘if I get to the rim, I have to finish,’" said Blue, who scored seven of Marquette’s final 10 points including a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left. "I’m not ready to go home, I know our team’s not ready to go home.
"We got down by like seven, nobody ever panicked. ... Nobody missed a beat. We knew the game isn’t over until the clock hits zero."
Blue was there to ensure time ran out on Davidson, intercepting the last-ditch inbounds pass to seal a remarkable rally and set off a noisy celebration among players and Golden Eagles fans at Rupp Arena. Marquette advanced to Saturday’s third round against Butler, a 68-56 winner over Bucknell
It’s mostly thanks to Blue and Wilson.
Blue finished with 16 points while Wilson added 14, but their consecutive 3-pointers brought Marquette to within 58-57 with 11 seconds left. The Golden Eagles then caught a huge break when De’Mon Brooks’ long inbounds pass went out of bounds at midcourt with 5.5 seconds left, providing another opportunity.
Cal 64, UNLV 61 • In San Jose, Calif., Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and 12th-seeded California held off UNLV. Buoyed by the crowd support of a strong contingent so close to Berkeley, the Golden Bears held the Runnin’ Rebels without a basket for more than 11 minutes in the second half. Cal turned a tie game into a nine-point lead during that stretch and withstood a late UNLV push for its first tournament win since 2009.
Syracuse 81, Montana 34 • In San Jose, Calif., Brandon Triche scored 20 points, C.J. Fair added 13 and fourth-seeded Syracuse shut down No. 13-seed Montana with its zone defense. Michael Carter-Williams chipped in four points, eight rebounds and nine assists as the Orange (27-9) raced out to an early lead that grew as big as 50 points and coasted past the Grizzlies (25-7) to their most lopsided tournament win since beating Brown 101-52 in the first round in 1986.
Butler 68, Bucknell 56 • In Lexington, Ky., Andrew Smith had a double-double with a career-high 16 rebounds and 14 points, and Butler made 18 of 20 free throws down the stretch. Roosevelt Jones added 14 points for the sixth-seeded Bulldogs.
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