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Duke tops Creighton 66-50, advances to Sweet 16 round

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POSTED March 25, 2013 1:09 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Let upsets take down other heavy favorites. Duke is back to business as usual.

Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry scored had 17 and No. 2 seed Duke held off seventh-seeded Creighton 66-50 on Sunday to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.

A year after they lost their NCAA tournament opener, the Blue Devils (29-5) are back in the regional semifinal for the 23rd time. They’ll play No. 3 seed Michigan State (27-8) in the regional semifinal Friday in Indianapolis.

Mason Plumlee, Josh Hariston and Ryan Kelly battled foul trouble all game long that could have doomeed the Blue Devils. Creighton (28-8) went cold and never made a serious run in the second half. Doug McDermott scored 21 points but made only four baskets.

With McDermott slumping, the Bluejays were knocked out in the third round by an ACC team for the second straight season.

Florida Gulf Coast beat San Diego State 81-71 in the opener in Philadelphia that had the crowd of more than 20,000 buzzing after the upset win.

Duke’s win could not match it in excitement and intensity.

But that’s OK for the Blue Devils. They’re not in it for style points. They’re here to win coach Mike Krzyzewski’s fifth national championship.

La Salle 76, Mississippi 74

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Marshall Henderson says if Mississippi fans want to take it out on anybody, they can take it out on him.

Mississippi’s swaggering shooting guard, who draws about as much attention as anyone else in college basketball, said he’s to blame for La Salle’s 76-74 victory in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

“We should still be playing. I’m not satisfied with this,” Henderson said. “We should have done better. That’s just kind of me and how I always think. I’m a perfectionist in a way. I always think you should do better.

“We’ll just move on, go back home, go to class tomorrow and just see what happens from there.”

Henderson’s 21 points led the Rebels (27-9), who fell one win shy of setting a single-season team record. Murphy Holloway had 14, Jarvis Summers had 12 and Nick Williams had 10.

“This is my fault,” said Henderson, a 6-foot-2 junior. “This is my fault because I didn’t make plays.”

Miami 63, Illinois 59

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Shane Larkin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left and Miami gained possession on a ball knocked out of bounds that probably should have gone to Illinois, helping the Hurricanes hold on for a 63-59 victory Sunday night to advance to the NCAA round of 16.

After Larkin’s first field goal in about 9 1/2 minutes, D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer. In the fight for the rebound, the ball appeared to ricochet off the hands of Miami’s Kenny Kadji out of bounds. But the Hurricanes kept the ball, and Durand Scott made two free throws after that.

Miami (29-6) is in the round of 16 for only the second time in school history. The Hurricanes play Marquette (25-8) in Washington D.C. on Thursday night.

Florida Gulf Coast 81,San Diego State 71

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Florida Gulf Coast became the first 15 to reach the Sweet 16, and the Eagles not only made it look easy, they made it look fun.

Little-known FGCU beat San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday night, its second NCAA tournament upset of the weekend. Just like in their opening win over second-seeded Georgetown — the Eagles’ calling card to the nation — there were plenty of laughs, dunks and dances.

With its campus in Fort Myers, Florida Gulf Coast opened its doors to students in 1997. The university only became eligible for postseason play last year. Now the next opponent for the upstart state school will be the system’s flagship university, third-seeded Florida, on Friday night in the South Regional semifinal in Dallas.

The Aztecs, like the Hoyas two nights earlier, could only watch Florida Gulf Coast celebrate an upset win at the NCAA tournament. This was an historic one — the 81-71 victory made the Eagles the first No. 15 seed to reach the NCAA tournament’s round of 16.

In its first-ever NCAA tournament game on Friday, the Atlantic Sun champion busted brackets everywhere by taking control with a 21-2 run in the second half.

Florida 78, Minnesota 64

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Just as he did two days earlier, Andre Hollins was hitting 3-pointers from just about anywhere he got an open look.

Only this time, Minnesota was chasing a lead, not building one.

And while the No. 11-seed Golden Gophers rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit to pull within seven of third-seeded Florida, the Gators eventually pulled away for a 78-64 win Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament South Regional.

Hollins scored 25 points — he had 53 in Minnesota’s two tournament games — and his hot shooting in the second half dug the Gophers out of a huge hole before foul trouble sidelined him for about four minutes. Without their floor leader and scorer, Minnesota let the Gators get away and reach the tournament round of 16 for the third consecutive year.

Kansas 70, North Carolina 58

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The losses to Kansas aren’t getting any easier for North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

Of course, they aren’t getting any harder, either.

Every loss in the NCAA tournament stings, and that’s why Williams can recall in vivid detail just about all of them, going back to his own days leading the Jayhawks — and why he’ll certainly remember Sunday night’s second-half meltdown against the school he once coached.

The Tar Heels (25-11) scrapped and clawed and fought their way to a 30-21 lead at the break, only to watch Kansas roar back behind seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford, seizing control midway through the second half and then pouring on the pressure down the stretch.

Indiana 58, Temple 52

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Temple’s players huddled near midcourt, their emotions still raw after letting an historic upset slip away in the final minutes.

So close.

The Owls couldn’t finish what they started.

As they consoled each other, Indiana coach Tom Crean joined them to offer some comfort.

“He told us we were the toughest team he played all year,” Temple star guard Khalif Wyatt said. “He just wanted us to keep our heads up.”

Temple pushed Indiana’s season to the brink before folding in the final minutes and losing 58-52 on Sunday to the top-seeded Hoosiers, who were lucky to advance in the East Regional.

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