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Bogut carries Utah past stubborn UTEP


UTEP's Will Kimble (52) fights for the ball with Utah forward Andrew Bogut. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
UTEP's Will Kimble (52) fights for the ball with Utah forward Andrew Bogut. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
From wire reports

It was a typical defensive play by Utah, but seemed to create a nightmare scenario. The Utes already had seen their 13-point second-half lead vanish and were defending a meager two-point advantage with less than 30 seconds to play. UTEP point guard Filberto Rivera dribbled past a high screen and found himself precisely in the matchup he wanted.

Utah’s defenders had switched and now Rivera was being covered by the Utes’ 7-foot center Andrew Bogut. “I was going to take him,” the speedy Rivera said.

Against almost every center in the nation, he’d have been to the rim in a split second, but not against Bogut. The big Aussie stayed right with Rivera and forced him across the top of the lane. There, Tim Drisdom stripped the ball away and preserved what would become a 60-54 NCAA first-round victory in the Austin Regional on Thursday in Tucson, Ariz.

Fouled, Drisdom made two free throws; then Bogut foiled the Miners’ last try by deflecting Rivera’s runner. Bogut’s offense keyed every big play for Utah down the stretch.

“Andrew can really move his feet,” said coach Ray Giacoletti, whose sixth-seeded Utes (28-5) will face No. 3 Oklahoma for a spot in the Sweet 16.

Just a four-hour drive from El Paso, UTEP got a huge crowd that rallied Omar Thomas (24 points) to bring the Miners back from a 44-31 deficit with less than 14 minutes left to a 54-54 tie on his driving layup with 1:12 to go.

Kentucky 72, Eastern Kentucky 64: Kelenna Azubuike and Chuck Hayes each scored 16 points and the second-seeded Wildcats (26-5) dominated the middle to hold off the Colonels (22-9) at Indianapolis.

Cincinnati 76, Iowa 64: Jason Maxiell had 22 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots and a pair of steals to help the seventh-seeded Bearcats (25-7) defeat the Hawkeyes (21-12) at Indianapolis.

Oklahoma 84, Niagara 67: Drew Lavender scored 17 points and the third-seeded Sooners (25-7) defeated the Eagles (20-10) at Tucson, Ariz.

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