Insider Only NCAA Tournament: Xavier ends Pitt’s season; Butler leads No.2 West Virginia into the Sweet 16

Crawford leads No. 6 Xavier past No. 3 Pitt

The Pittsburgh Panthers season came to an end on a disappointing note today as Xavier’s Jordan Crawford scored 27 points, including a breakaway dunk with less than two minutes remaining to lead No. 6 Xavier past No. 3 Pitt 71-68 in the West Regional.
History has shown during Pitt previous eight appearances in the NCAA tournament that on most occasions Pitt loses to a team that has a player who can take over a game and history repeated itself in Milwaukee Sunday evening.
Crawford who became a known name during the summer after dunking on NBA star Lebron James, was 9-for-15 from the field and 4-for-7 from three point range in the win.

Jason Love added 14 points and a key block down the stretch for the sixth-seeded Musketeers (26-8).
For the Panthers, Ashton Gibbs led the way with 19 points and Brad Wanamaker had 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Panthers nearly rallied with two 3-pointers by Gilbert Brown in the final 28 seconds of the game.
Brown who was pointless in the first half, had 14 second half points and was 3-for-4 from three-point range.
Questions after the game centered around the Panthers not getting Brown enough looks, who played a total of 22 minutes off the bench.
Despite an up and down game the Panthers had an opportunity to send the game to overtime.
Ashton Gibbs missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with less than a second left but the ball went out of bounds off of a Xavier player and Pittsburgh had one last chance to inbound the ball with 0.4 seconds left, but Brad Wanamaker left the shot short on what was an open look.

Butler leads WVU into the Sweet 16

West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler, who has six game-winning baskets already this season, played his best during the first 20 minutes for the second-seeded Mountaineers on Sunday.
That’s when he scored 19 of his 28 points in leading the Big East Conference champions to a 68-59 victory over the 10th-seeded Tigers in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“He’s the ‘Magic Man,'” Mountaineers point guard Darryl Bryant said of Butler. “He shows up when we need him. That’s really the only thing that counts.”
Butler accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Mountaineers 30 points in the first half, and played a key role in breaking down Missouri’s high-pressure defense, which was dubbed “The Fastest 40 Minutes of Basketball.”
“We didn’t really panic,” Butler said. “We just stepped up to the challenge and played like men and broke the press.”
West Virginia (29-6) advanced to face No. 11 seed Washington in the East Regional semifinals at Syracuse on Thursday. It marks the fifth time the Mountaineers reached the final 16, and first since 2008.
Kevin Jones had 13 points and nine rebounds and Devin Ebanks added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Mountaineers. With the win, West Virginia matched a school record for victories set in 1958-59, the season the Mountaineers, led by Jerry West, went 29-5 and lost in the NCAA championship game.
Butler was the key, especially in the early going when the Mountaineers scored the first eight points and never trailed. He opened by hitting four of his first seven 3-point attempts and then closed the half by hitting seven of eight free throws.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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