Thursday's NCAA regional semifinal summaries - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Thursday's NCAA regional semifinal summaries

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Hasheem Thabeet scored 15 points and had 15 rebounds, and Connecticut overcame a sluggish first half to defeat Purdue 72-60 in the NCAA West Regional semifinals.

One day after an Internet report alleged UConn committed NCAA recruiting violations, the top-seeded Huskies reached the regional finals for the fourth time since 2002.

UConn jumped out to an early 11-point lead, then went cold and let the fifth-seeded Boilermakers pull within 30-25 at halftime before Thabeet took over.

Robbie Hummel had 17 points for Purdue, but only two in the second half. The Boilermakers ended their longest NCAA run since 2000, when they lost to Wisconsin in the West Regional final.

Missouri 102, Memphis 91.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - A career night by J.T. Tiller put Missouri one win away from its first trip to the Final Four. Memphis' 27-game winning streak, meanwhile, is history.

Tiller scored a career-high 23 points - 15 more than his season average - and Missouri held off Memphis' frantic rally for a 102-91 win in the semifinals of the West Regional.

Third-seeeded Missouri led by 24 points four minutes into the second half, then saw Memphis close within six with 2:14 to play. Free throws put it away for Missouri.

Dynamic point guard Tyreke (ty-REEK') Evans scored 33 for Memphis (33-4). The second-seeded Tigers shot only 18 for 32 from the foul line - last year, a poor showing at the foul line cost them dearly in an overtime championship game loss to Kansas.

Missouri, the No. 3 seed, faces No. 1 seed Connecticut for the West title on Saturday.

East Regional

Pittsburgh 60, Xavier 55.

BOSTON (AP) - Levance Fields gave Pittsburgh the lead with a 3-pointer with 50.9 seconds left, then scored off his steal as the Panthers advanced to the regional finals for the first time in 35 years with a 60-55 win over Xavier.

Top-seeded Pitt (31-4) trailed 54-52 before Fields connected. Then he poked the ball away from B.J. Raymond and went in for the layup with 23.9 seconds to go.

Sam Young led Pitt with 19 points. Fields had 14, and DeJuan Blair had 10 points and 17 rebounds in the East semifinal victory.

Fourth-seeded Xavier (27-8) was led by Raymond with 15 points and Derrick Brown with 14.

Villanova 77, Duke 54.

BOSTON (AP) - Dante Cunningham scored 14 points with 11 rebounds and third-seeded Villanova beat Duke for the first time in more than 50 years, taking advantage of the Blue Devils' poor shooting to win 77-54 and advance to the NCAA regional final.

The Wildcats (29-7) will play Big East rival Pittsburgh (31-4), the top seed in the East, on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.

Duke (30-7), which spent a week at No. 1 in the nation earlier this season, failed to reach the round of 8 for the fifth consecutive year.

Kyle Singler scored 15 and Jon Scheyer had 13 for the second-seeded Blue Devils. But Scheyer and Gerald Henderson combined to make just 4 of 32 attempts as Duke shot a season-low 26.7% from the floor.

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