Just like 39 years ago, the hero for West Virginia was a guard named West.
Jarrod West banked in his fifth 3-pointer of the game with eight-tenths of a second to play Saturday as West Virginia, the No. 10 seed in the West, stunned No. 2 seed Cincinnati 75-74 in a second-round game in Boise.
“I shot it as high as I could and God let it fall in,” West said.
It was the first time that West Virginia had won two NCAA games in a row since 1959, when Jerry West led the Mountaineers to the championship game.
Thirty-nine years later, it was another West, a 5-foot-11 senior from Natchez, Miss., who brought down the mighty Bearcats just as Cincinnati’s D’Juan Baker seemed to have lifted his team from the edge of disaster for the second consecutive game.
Baker, whose 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left gave Cincinnati a 65-62 first-round win over Northern Arizona, hit two of them in the last 1:02 Saturday. His second one put the Bearcats (27-6) on top 74-72 with 7.1 seconds remaining.
“The first thing that flashed through my mind was all the games we had lost during the season just like that,” said West Virginia’s Damian Owens. “It seemed like a ghost was haunting us, and for a minute I saw that ghost. But we had West, the ghostbuster, on our team.”
After Baker’s last 3-pointer, the Mountaineers (24-8) had a timeout left, but coach Gale Catlett decided not to use it.
West, who scored 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting from 3-point range but had missed a 3-pointer on his team’s previous possession, flung it up from about 25 feet. The ball bounced off the backboard and cleanly through the net.
Owens scored 14 points despite 2-for-10 shooting from the freethrow line. Adrian Pledger and Brent Solheim added 10 apiece.
Baker and Rueben Patterson scored 25 points each for Cincinnati.
Utah 75, Arkansas 69
In the other game at Boise, Andre Miller scored a career-high 28 points as the third-seeded Utes defeated sixth-seeded Arkansas.
Miller, a junior, had 18 points and hit 8 of 9 free throws in the second half when the Razorbacks (24-9) came within three points three times.
The Utes (27-3) advanced to next week’s West Regional in Anaheim, Calif., to play West Virginia.
Michael Doleac finished with 16 points, going 1 for 5 from the field in the second half for Utah.
Derek Hood and Kareem Reid scored 16 points each for the Razorbacks, back in the tournament after settling for an NIT bid last year.
Maryland 67, Illinois 61
Obinna Ekezie, scoreless until the final 6 minutes of the game, hit a game-tying jumper and six free throws down the stretch as the Terrapins held off the Illini in a second-round game in Sacramento, Calif.
Maryland relied on the outside shooting of Sarunas Jasikevicius, who scored 20 points, and Rodney Elliott, who added 16, to overcome Illinois’ muscular play.
Maryland (21-10) led by as many as 13 points in the first half and 41-29 early in the second half. But the brawny Illini (23-10) worked their way back to tie the game for the first time 49-49 with 7:36 to go, then took their first lead on Kevin Turner’s 3-pointer.
Illinois tied it three more times, the last on a short jumper by Jarrod Gee that made it 61-61 with 56 seconds on the clock.
But Ekezie’s free-throw shooting down the stretch, including two with 36 seconds left and another pair with 16 seconds to go, sealed the victory.
Arizona 82, Illinois St. 49
While other teams brag about 40 minutes of hell, Arizona needed just 2 minutes of suffocating defensive pressure to turn a tie game into a second-round rout in Sacramento.
The Wildcats forced six turnovers during a 15-0 run early in the second half of a victory that sent the defending national champions to a third-round game against Maryland.
Miles Simon had 19 points and Mike Bibby added 19 with seven assists as top-seeded Arizona (29-4) reached the round of 16 for the seventh time in the last 11 years. Michael Dickerson added 14 points for the Wildcats.
Dan Muller had 17 points for ninth-seeded Illinois State (25-6), which has never advanced past the second round in the NCAA Tournament.