Arizona 70, San Diego State 64: Nick Johnson scored all of his 15 points in the last 2:45, after missing his first 10 shots, and Arizona rallied to defeat San Diego State last night and advance to the final eight of the NCAA tournament.
Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 15 points each for the top-seeded Wildcats (33-4). They next play Wisconsin in the West Regional final on Saturday night.
Xavier Thames scored 25 points and Dwayne Polee added 13 points for the Aztecs (31-5). Those two tried to bail out San Diego State in the final minute, each hitting three-pointers before Thames’ basket cut the deficit to 65-61 with 38 seconds left.
The tallest building in Ames, Iowa, is 10 floors and about 132 feet high. Madison Square Garden, the hallowed home of the New York Knicks and Rangers since 1968 and the site of the NCAA tournament’s East Regional, has as many floors.
Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim and his teammates are no doubt impressed with the city that seems to have more towering skyscrapers than Iowa has people. And the history of the Garden isn’t lost on him or his teammates.
“This is the mecca of basketball. It’s an incredible arena,” said Ejim, who was making his second visit to the city. “It’s going to be crazy and fun to go out there on the national stage. There’s going to be a lot of memories made here.”
The third-seeded Cyclones (28-7) have taken on the role of underdog despite being the higher seed against seventh-seeded Connecticut (28-8) when the teams meet tonight in the regional semifinals.
The Huskies have a second home in Madison Square Garden, where they will be playing for the 112th time.
Iowa State has played there just three times, the last in 2004.
Will this be a home game for UConn?
“I’m not sure. I guess we’ll figure it out when the fans get here,” Ejim said. “It’s closer to their state than ours.”
That’s not the only reason the Cyclones might seem to be underdogs.
They will be without 6-foot-7 forward Georges Niang, who broke a bone in his right foot in the Cyclones’ tournament opener against North Carolina Central.