WASHINGTON -- No. 15-seed Belmont came tantalizingly close to stunning second-seeded Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night in a game that will most likely leave two distinct legacies.
The first will be that Belmont may have redefined the near-upset in the NCAA Tournament, after leading with less than a minute to go and having three chances to take the lead in the final five seconds.
Instead, Belmont did not score in the game's final two minutes and was one bungled inbounds play from becoming America's team in falling to Duke 71-70 in the West Regional.
It may not be a stretch to think years from now people may see a team come close to an upset in the NCAA Tournament and say that it "pulled a Belmont."
"We'll be remembered as the team that almost did it," Belmont guard Justin Hare said, "and it's hard going out that way."
Duke sophomore Gerald Henderson scored on a pretty finger roll for the eventual winner with 11.9 seconds left.
NCAA Tournament West Regional
No. 7 WEST VIRGINIA 75, No. 10 ARIZONA 65, at Washington -- West Virginia's prowess from long range made Arizona's 24th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament another one-and-done performance. Alex Ruoff scored 21 points, and Da'Sean Butler had 19 for the Mountaineers. West Virginia took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Ruoff with 17:43 left, and another jumper by Ruoff from beyond the arc made it 48-39. After Arizona closed to 60-59, two 3-pointers by Darris Nichols and another by Ruoff sealed the victory.
No. 3 XAVIER 73, No. 14 GEORGIA 61, at Washington -- Derrick Brown's 19 points and 11 rebounds led a balanced-as-usual offense. The Musketeers used a 22-6 run to overcome an 11-point second-half deficit.
No. 6 PURDUE 90, No. 11 BAYLOR 79, at Washington -- Keaton Grant scored 17 points and Purdue built a 19-point halftime lead, then cruised to its 10th consecutive victory in the first round since 1993.
No. 9 TEXAS A&M 67, No. 8 BYU 62, at Anaheim -- Josh Carter scored 26 points, matching his career high, as the Aggies handed the Cougars their sixth consecutive opening-round loss.
No. 1 UCLA 70, No. 16 MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE 29, at Anaheim -- The Delta Devils scored the fewest points in the tournament since 1946, when Baylor had 29 in a loss to Oklahoma State. Mississippi Valley State also set a tournament record for fewest points in a first-round game, breaking the mark of 32 by Wisconsin against Missouri State in 1999.
NCAA Tournament South Regional
No. 6 MARQUETTE 74, No. 11 KENTUCKY 66, at Anaheim -- Jerel McNeal scored 20 points and Wesley Matthews hit eight free throws in the final 31 seconds to help Marquette, which next faces Stanford. The Golden Eagles overcame 35 points by Wildcats senior Joe Crawford, who matched a career high before fouling out.
No. 4 PITTSBURGH 82, No. 13 ORAL ROBERTS 63, at Denver -- The Panthers, who got 23 points from Levance Fields, now have an intriguing matchup Saturday against Michigan State, a team with a big-and-brawny reputation like Pittsburgh.
No. 5 MICHIGAN STATE 72, No. 12 TEMPLE 61, at Denver -- Raymar Morgan led a balanced attack with 15 points and the Spartans advanced despite a sudden shooting slump from spark plug Drew Neitzel (2 for 11, five points).
NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional
No. 1 KANSAS 85, No. 16 PORTLAND STATE 61, at Omaha, Neb. -- Brandon Rush scored 18 points as the Jayhawks led all the way against the Vikings, the Big Sky champs.
No. 8 UNLV 71, No. 9 KENT STATE 58, at Omaha, Neb. -- Joe Darger scored 18 points, and the Rebels tied a tournament record by holding the Golden Flashes to 10 points in the first half. The Mid-American Conference champions averaged a turnover per minute the better part of the first half, went almost 8 minutes without a point and trailed 31-10 at halftime.
No. 11 KANSAS STATE 80, No. 6 USC 67, at Omaha, Neb. -- Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo weren't the only freshmen on the court. Redshirt freshman Bill Walker scored 22 points, true freshmen Jacob Pullen and Ron Anderson also reached double figures, and the Wildcats' Kiddie Corps moved on, beating the Mayo-led Trojans. Beasley overcame early trouble to have another big game for Kansas State, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for the 27th double-double of his brilliant -- and likely only -- college season. Mayo scored 20.
No. 3 WISCONSIN 71, No. 14 CAL STATE FULLERTON 56, at Omaha, Neb. -- The Badgers, who won for the 24th time in 26 games, couldn't shake the Titans until deep into the second half.
NCAA Tournament East Regional
No. 4 WASHINGTON STATE 71, No. 13 WINTHROP 40, at Denver -- The Cougars broke away from a halftime tie to whip the Eagles behind 19 points and eight rebounds from Aron Baynes. Kyle Weaver and Robbie Cowgill each had 14 for Washington State. The Pac-10 went 3-2 in Thursday's first-round games, with Washington State, Stanford and UCLA winning, and USC and Arizona losing.
No. 5 NOTRE DAME 68, No. 12 GEORGE MASON 50, at Denver -- Luke Harangody had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Irish to its first tournament victory in five years.
National invitational Tournament
FIRST ROUND -- James Harden had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists and teammate Jeff Pendergraph flirted with the NIT record for blocked shots with eight to lead Arizona State past visiting Southern Illinois 65-51. The tournament blocks record is nine. ... Jonny Flynn had 23 points to lead four Syracuse starters in double figures as the host Orange advanced to the quarterfinals with an 88-72 victory over Maryland.