Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012 Bilas Invitational Tournament: West Region Rounds 1 & 2

In the previous post, you saw the BIT get started with results both expected (Kentucky stomping through two rounds) and unexpected (Duke tanking, Belmont and UNLV reaching the Sweet 16). Now, the tournament moves to the West Region, which will be paired against the East in the Final Four.

In case you don't care to refresh by looking at the prior post, each of these games is simulated seven times at WhatIf Sports, two on each team's "home court" and three on "neutral sites." Depth chart changes, such as Fab Melo's ineligibility for Syracuse, are accounted for.

Once again, the full S-Curve is here, and the up-to-date bracket is here. Let's see if West top seed Ohio State survives.

Play-In Game:
St. Joseph's 71, Davidson 60
Davidson had five players in double figures, but terrible 33 percent shooting doomed the Wildcats against St. Joseph's.

Of Davidson's 60 shots, 27 were from behind the arc. Unfortunately, only five of those connected. A hot streak of seven straight baskets pulled Davidson within three points with nine minutes to go, but the Wildcats made only one field goal after that.

Carl Jones led all scorers for St. Joe's with 20 points, 16 in the first half. Chris Wilson scored nine of his 13 points in a torrid two-minute span to answer Davidson's surge.

J.P. Kuhlman led Davidson with 11 points, adding six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Chris Czerapowicz scored 10 points and tore down eight rebounds, but he missed six of his eight shots from deep.

Round 1:
#16 St. Joseph's 74, #1 Ohio State 71
Ohio State accomplished something that no team in the real NCAA tournament has ever managed, bowing out in its opening game as a number-one seed. Put on the line to nurse a narrow lead in the final minute, St. Joseph's converted all their attempts to hold off the Buckeyes.

OSU trailed by nine points with 5:28 to go, but fought back to within one in the final 90 seconds on a pair of baskets from Amir Williams and two threes by Deshaun Thomas. Carl Jones knocked down a 15-footer, but Jared Sullinger answered with a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left. The Buckeyes then began fouling intentionally, with Aaron Craft putting Jones on the line twice. Jones made all four shots, but baskets by Sullinger and Jordan Sibert kept the margin at one.

C.J. Aiken was put on the line for two shots, missing the second. Sullinger missed a runner, only to see Ronald Roberts Jr. collect the rebound. Sullinger fouled Roberts, who split a pair of shots with one second left for the winning margin.

The Hawks' lead peaked at 13 points with 12 minutes remaining before Ohio State began chipping away.

Aiken led the Hawks with 23 points, also tearing down seven rebounds and swatting six shots. Roberts added seven points and 11 rebounds.

Sullinger contributed 22 points and nine rebounds, but was only 7-of-19 from the floor. He was victimized by four of Aiken's blocks and two from Halil Kanacevic. William Buford added 17 points and six assists.

#8 Kansas State 65, #9 San Diego State 49
A tight first half gave way to a 14-3 Kansas State run midway through the second. San Diego State gave away seven second-half turnovers and could only shoot 35 percent.

The Aztecs made only 3-of-11 from the floor after the 10:09 mark of the second half, when a Jamaal Franklin jumper cut the lead to 42-38. Franklin led all scorers with 18 points, making 4-of-6 from long range. His teammates rendered little support, making 12-of-36 from the floor and only 3-of-10 from deep.

The Wildcats dominated the glass, outrebounding SDSU 46-25. Jamar Samuels ripped 11 caroms and Thomas Gipson added eight off the bench.

Will Spradling scored 13 points and Rodney McGruder scored 12, the only Wildcats in double figures.

#12 NC State 68, #5 Florida 44
Florida needed a good game from its shooters to advance in this tournament. What it got was the farthest possible thing from good, as the Gators shot a disturbing 26 percent in crashing to a first-round defeat.

Bradley Beal, Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton took a combined 29 shots and missed 24 of them. The trio went a combined 3-for-17 from three-point range. For their part, NC State made 52 percent of its shots and cultivated a 39-26 advantage on the glass.

Already trailing by seven at halftime, Florida was outscored 31-14 in the second, making only four of 29 field goal attempts. None of those baskets came in the final 12:14, with two free throws by seldom-used reserve Jacob Kurtz accounting for the only points in that span.

Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie produced matching double-doubles for the Wolfpack, combining for 27 points and 26 rebounds. Patric Young led Florida with 11 points and 12 rebounds, having a "hot" shooting night at 4-of-8.

#4 Wisconsin 59, #13 Middle Tennessee State 49
A tight battle remained in doubt until the final three minutes, but Wisconsin managed to extend a four-point lead and hold off the tenacious Blue Raiders.

LaRon Dendy led all scorers with 13 points, pouring in nine in the second half. He was the only MTSU player in double figures as the Raiders struggled from the outside. A 2-for-13 shooting effort from deep and nine second-half turnovers doomed the comeback effort.

Jordan Taylor led Wisconsin with 12 points. Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz each scored 11, combined for 21 rebounds and, perhaps most importantly, conspired to keep Dendy off the glass. The Sun Belt Player of the Year was held to only one rebound on the game.

#6 Vanderbilt 86, #11 Brigham Young 85 (OT)
BYU fought back from a 26 percent shooting effort in the first half, scoring 52 points in the second and getting a buzzer-beating three to force overtime. Vanderbilt still had a little extra left, though, and survived a wild finish for the overtime victory.

Vanderbilt led 73-68 after a pair of Lance Goulbourne free throws with 23 seconds left. Charles Abouo drained a three, then the Cougars put Jeffery Taylor on the line for a one-and-one. Taylor made the first, but missed the pivotal second shot. BYU's Brock Zylstra won a frantic battle for the rebound, but it all appeared for naught when Matt Carlino hit the front of the rim on a right-wing three. The ball caromed directly to Abouo, who only had time to rise and fire as the buzzer sounded.

Abouo's basket sent the game to overtime, where Vanderbilt once again built a five-point lead on John Jenkins' free throws with 3:49 left. Jenkins made another pair with 1:43 left, giving Vandy an 84-80 lead. Zylstra missed a pair of free throws, but a Brandon Davies offensive rebound led to Noah Hartsock draining his second basket of the overtime session.

Taylor then missed a pair of free throws, but Carlino threw the ball away in response. Carlino then blocked a shot from Brad Tinsley, but missed a potential winning three at his own end. Tinsley pulled down the rebound and made a pair of free throws after being fouled by Brandon Davies. Zylstra made a consolation three as the buzzer sounded to set the final margin.

The Cougars shot 61 percent in the second half, including 8-of-10 in the final four minutes to erase an 11-point Vanderbilt lead. Abouo scored 10 of his 17 in that span and Davies added six. Carlino led the Cougars with 20 points.

John Jenkins led all scorers with 37 points, dropping 26 of those in the second half and overtime. Jenkins made 6-of-9 from three-point range in the second half and OT, 7-of-11 for the game. Festus Ezeli added 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

#3 Indiana 88, #14 Drexel 75
Drexel kept the game tight for 36 minutes, trailing by six after a pair of Dartaye Ruffin free throws. Indiana chose that moment to demonstrate why they were one of the nation's top three-point shooting teams, drilling four in less than two minutes to build a 13-point lead with two minutes left.

The Hoosiers shot 56 percent on the day, drilling 12 of 18 from long range. Matt Roth drilled two of his five threes in that late spurt, and Derek Elston made one of his three during that span as well.

Roth and Will Sheehey led IU with 15 points each. Roth knocked down 12 of his in the second half, and Sheehey added eight. Jordan Hulls produced 13 points and six assists.

For Drexel, Chris Fouch led with 18, making four of his eight long shots. Damion Lee added 16 points, and star point guard Frantz Massenat added 13. Massenat, however, only made four of his 13 shot attempts.

#10 Virginia 72, #7 St. Mary's 69 (OT)
Saint Mary's fought back from a nine-point halftime deficit to have a chance to win at the buzzer, but a miss forced overtime. The Gaels then had a chance to tie again and force a second session, but another miss doomed them to defeat.

Rob Jones made back-to-back baskets to cut Virginia's lead to one with 1:13 left, but the Cavaliers' star forward Mike Scott slammed home an alley-oop in response. Scott had only made two of eight shot attempts to that point.

Clint Steindl tied the game with a quick three, leaving 39 seconds on the clock, aiming to get an extra possession. Scott missed a fadeaway, giving St. Mary's a chance to finish the game, but Brad Waldow missed a shot from the right wing, mandating overtime.

The overtime dagger may have come when Virginia's Sammy Zeglinski drained his third three-pointer of the game, opening up a four-point lead with 1:53 left. Both teams traded empty possessions before Waldow tipped in his own miss with 45 seconds left. The Gaels elected not to foul, and Joe Harris capitalized by scoring from the left block. Steindl responded with another clutch three, but this time, St. Mary's was forced to foul.

Scott calmly sank both ends of his one-and-one with seven seconds left. With time to draw up a play, the Gaels managed to get Rob Jones open for a potential tying three, but it clanked off the back iron.

Harris led all scorers with 26, producing 17 of those in the second half and overtime. Scott shot only 3-of-12 from the floor for 12 points, but he made all six of his free throws, including the four in OT.

SMC got 18 points and nine rebounds from Jones, plus 14 and seven from Waldow. Steindl scored 11 points, nine of them on three long jumpers after halftime.

#2 Michigan State 89, #15 Washington 71
Both teams played solid games, but Washington simply had no answer for the Spartans' senior leader Draymond Green. Green led all scorers with 29 points as Michigan State kept Washington at arm's length all day long.

The Huskies were within eight points with 6:25 left, but could not capitalize on three chances to get closer. Spartan reserve Russell Byrd drained a straight away three with 4:58 left to push the lead to 80-67. From there, the Huskies had no more answers.

Green added 13 rebounds and five steals to his scoring. Keith Appling supported Green with 18 points and eight assists, and Adreian Payne added 12 points, nine boards and three blocks.

For Washington, Tony Wroten Jr. led with 22 points, and Terrence Ross contributed 16.

Round 2:
#16 St. Joseph's 74, #8 Kansas State 62
The Kansas State Wildcats were overjoyed not to see top-seeded Ohio State stepping onto the court with them, but that joy was short-lived. St. Joseph's got out to a 10-point lead late in the first half, surrendered it early in the second, then used an 8-0 spurt to blow the game open and earn an improbable Sweet 16 trip.

Carl Jones scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half, personally outscoring Kansas State 10-4 in a two-minute span that put the Hawks ahead by nine with 11 minutes left. The 'Cats never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Jones frustrated KSU's ballhandlers with six steals, and his four three-pointers were the only ones his team made on the night.

The Wildcats were led by Rodney McGruder with 15 points and Will Spradling with 14.

#12 NC State 69, #4 Wisconsin 67
C.J. Leslie's jumpshot beat the buzzer and beat the Badgers, sending the 12th-seeded Wolfpack into a Sweet 16 battle with the 16th-seeded Hawks of St. Joseph's.

The score sat at 66-63 in Wisconsin's favor for nearly three minutes as the two teams traded missed shots, rebounds and turnovers. With 25 seconds left, NC State guard Lorenzo Brown got into the lane and tipped in a C.J. Williams miss to cut Wisconsin's lead to one.

Brown immediately fouled Jared Berggren, sending him to the line for a one-and-one. Berggren could only convert the front end, and the Wolfpack capitalized with a Williams jumper from the left wing. Mike Bruesewitz attempted a floater from the right side, only to see Richard Howell reject it. The Pack were able to snatch the rebound and call a timeout with one second left on the clock, getting the ball inbounded at halfcourt.

Leslie caught Howell's inbound pass, turned and fired over Bruesewitz, draining the shot as the buzzer sounded.

The Badgers held a nine-point lead as late as 9:24 in the second half, but NC State outscored them 16-5 from then on. Their shooting went ice cold, with only two of 16 shots falling in that final span. Nine of those misses were on three-pointers. Wisconsin shot 40 percent for the game, 28 percent from deep.

Brown led NC State with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Howell had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Leslie added 11 and seven.

For Wisconsin, Jordan Taylor recorded 14 points and seven assists. Ryan Evans chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds.

#3 Indiana 83, #6 Vanderbilt 63
Indiana's offensive efficiency overwhelmed a second straight opponent, as the Hoosiers shot 53 percent from the floor and 58 percent from deep in easily dispatching the Commodores.

Indiana extended the lead to 10 points with 2:50 remaining in the first half, and Vanderbilt was never able to get any closer.

Vandy's first-round hero, John Jenkins, was held to 14 points on 3-of-11 shooting. The Commodores shot 40 percent as a team. Jeffery Taylor led all scorers with 19, 11 of those coming in the second half.

All five IU starters scored in double figures, led by Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford with 16 each. Cody Zeller added 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals.

#2 Michigan State 64, #10 Virginia 49

In a battle of gifted senior forwards, Draymond Green and Mike Scott played each other to a standstill, but Michigan State's supporting cast was much more efficient. The Spartans rode 55 percent shooting to a Sweet 16 battle with Big Ten foe Indiana.

The first 16 minutes were tight, but MSU launched a 9-0 run to extend its lead to 12. The Cavaliers fought back to within eight at halftime, but an Austin Thornton three-pointer eight seconds into the second half blew the lead back out. Virginia would never get within single digits again.

Scott led all scorers with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting, but the rest of his team made only 13 of their 40 shots. For Michigan State, Green recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Thornton added 10 points, six boards and four assists, finishing as the only other Spartan in double digits.

The BIT's West Region Sweet 16 Participants: #16 St. Joseph's, #12 NC State, #3 Indiana, #2 Michigan State

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