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George Mason, Arizona Win in Thrillers

  • George Mason

    March 18: George Mason's Mike Morrison (22) and Luke Hancock celebrate a 61-57 win over Villanova in an East regional NCAA college basketball tournament second round game in Cleveland. (AP)

  • Texas Basketball

    March 18: Oakland, Mich. guard Travis Bader and Texas guard Dogus Balbay go after a rebound in the first half of a West Regional NCAA tournament second round college basketball game in Tulsa, Okla. (AP)

CLEVELAND -- George Mason has another fantastic March story to tell.

Luke Hancock hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left, capping the Patriots' comeback and keeping the one-time NCAA tournament darlings playing with a 61-57 win over Villanova on Friday.

Villanova missed its last shot and Mike Morrison slammed home one final basket for the Patriots (27-6), who will play Ohio State or Texas-San Antonio on Sunday in the East region.

This was the latest and last collapse for the Wildcats (21-12), who end the season on a six-game losing streak. They were once ranked as high as No. 5 but failed to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

Hancock scored 18 points, and Morrison had 10 points and 11 rebounds for George Mason, which won its opening tournament game for the first time since its Final Four run in 2006.

The eighth-seeded Patriots trailed by 10 in the first half only to inch their way back.

Isaiah Tate popped George Mason's first 3 of the second half with 1:57 left to make it 54-51, and the Wildcats crumbled from the free-throw line. Antonio Pena missed two and Mouphtaou Yarou clanked the front end of a one-and-one.

Morrison took advantage, dunking in a miss with 55 seconds left for George Mason's first lead since early in the game.

Corey Fisher drew a foul on a 3-point attempt and made all of them for a 57-56 lead.

Hancock, his left shoulder taped and bandaged, showed no concern about any injury. He took a couple hard dribbles to his right, as if he was going to drive the lane for the go-ahead basket, then stopped right in his tracks. He crossed over and stepped back, then calmly knocked down the 3-pointer from a foot beyond the arc on the right wing.

The crowd filled to the rafters with Ohio State fans -- most of them surely recalling George Mason's sizzling run of a few years ago -- roared in approval.

Fisher finished with 20 points and Corey Stokes had 14 for Villanova, but each went cold in the final 20 minutes after a great first half that rekindled memories of a 16-1 start to the season. The Wildcats ended up winning their final game on Feb. 19.

They went the final 3:28 without a field goal.

George Mason won its first NCAA tournament game since it knocked off Connecticut in the 2006 regional final, a run that coach Jim Larranaga said he never tires of talking about.

He's got a new story now.

George Mason can still become this year's George Mason -- although as a single-digit seed for the first time in program history, a run through March as the tournament's favorite mid-major will be a tougher sell.

That's fine with the Patriots, who just want to keep this rolling.

Villanova began the game like the team that was ranked No. 5 in the country, not the one that took a nose-dive in the second half of the season. Fisher and Stokes worked their way open and swished 3s as easy as free throws.

Fisher scored 11 straight points and Stokes followed that run with three straight 3s. The two Coreys scored 22 of Villanova's first 23 points and helped them to a 10-point lead.

Yarou scored the first non-Corey field goal with 6:55 left in the first half.

Stokes missed a late 3, but Fisher bounced on a loose ball rebound and tossed up a floater to keep it a nine-point lead for Villanova. But unlike Michigan's rout over Tennessee, this was no 8-9 mismatch. On the brink of falling into trouble, the Patriots cranked the defensive pressure and hit free throws that help get them to 35-29 at halftime.

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TULSA, Okla. -- Derrick Williams had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and blocked a potential tying shot in the final seconds to seal Arizona's 77-75 win over Memphis in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Friday.

Joe Jackson hit the first of two free throws with 5 seconds left, then missed the second to give the 12th-seeded Tigers a shot at the tie. Wesley Witherspoon grabbed the offensive rebound at the right block, but Williams came over to swat it away and send the Wildcats into a Sunday game against fourth-seeded Texas in the West Region.

Lamont "MoMo" Jones added 18 points for Arizona (28-7), including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:35 to play. He added two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game.

Antonio Barton led Memphis (25-10) with 17 points, and his brother Will Barton scored 12.

Williams, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, almost ended up at Memphis after he broke his commitment to Southern California following coach Tim Floyd's resignation. Instead, he signed on with Arizona and ended up sending the Tigers home in his NCAA tournament debut.

Williams clenched his right fist and slapped his chest after blocking Witherspoon's putback try. The Tigers fouled Jamelle Horne with 0.4 seconds left, but there wasn't time for a tying shot even after he missed both ensuing free throws.

The wild, back-and-forth tournament opener also pitted Memphis coach Josh Pastner against the school where he was a longtime assistant to Lute Olson and a reserve on the Wildcats' 1997 national championship team.

Arizona rallied from a 10-point deficit to lead 48-40 after Williams' three-point play completed a stretch of seven straight points in the first 2 minutes of the second half.

The Tigers, minus starters Tarik Black and Charles Carmouche with four fouls apiece, answered back by scoring 13 in a row. Antonio Barton hit a pair of 3-pointers during the surge, and Chris Crawford set up Will Coleman for a two-handed alley-oop jam that made it 53-48.

Arizona scored the next eight points, taking the lead back at 56-53 on a three-point play by Jordin Mayes -- only to yield a 10-2 run by the Tigers and then come back with another eight straight points of its own.

And all that only set the table for a big finish.

Jones looked on as his 3-pointer from the right wing bounced around before finally falling through the net with 1:35 left, putting Arizona up 71-68 with 1:35 remaining.

Crawford missed a 3-pointer at the other end, one of the rare times it seemed evident that Memphis -- with seven freshmen -- was the youngest team to make the 68-team bracket. Mayes got fouled on a drive to the basket and hit two free throws to push Arizona's lead to five.

That proved to be just enough of a cushion.

Memphis surged out at the start, following a free throw by Arizona's Solomon Hill with a fast-break basket that fueled a 10-0 burst.

Williams and Jones started Arizona's 19-6 comeback. Kyle Fogg hit two free throws after Black was called for an intentional foul for hacking him on a fast-break chance, and Kevin Parrom followed that with a steal in the backcourt for a layup that put the Wildcats up 35-30.

Parrom returned the favor with an intentional foul of his own, elbowing Carmouche in the face to set up a five-point possession. Carmouche hit both foul shots and Witherspoon added a 3-pointer to put Memphis ahead briefly, but Arizona led by three at halftime.