Defending NCAA champs return to Final Four
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Inside, outside, early, late. It doesn't matter how Florida does it.
At tournament time, nobody's better than the Gators.
Joakim Noah and his buddies are heading back to the Final Four, looking for a second straight national championship that was worth more to them than NBA millions.
Noah had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Lee Humphrey made seven 3-pointers, and Taurean Green added 21 points to lead the Gators to an 85-77 victory over third-seeded Oregon in the Midwest Regional final Sunday. It was their 16th straight postseason victory, a stretch that includes one national championship and two Southeastern Conference titles.
Next stop for the top-seeded Gators: Atlanta, where they'll play UCLA in the national semifinals in a rematch of last year's championship game. Georgetown plays Ohio State in the other semifinal.
Florida beat UCLA last year in a rout, 73-57, for its first national championship - and the first half of what would turn out to be the Gator Slam. When Florida beat Ohio State for the national football title in January, the Gators became the first school to be champs in both sports at the same time.
Now Florida (33-5) would like to win both crowns in the same calendar year. And make a little history as the first team since Duke in 1991-92 to win back-to-back basketball titles - and the first ever to do it with the same five starters.
Oregon was trying to get to the Final Four for the first time since winning it all in 1939, the first year of the NCAA tournament. But the Ducks (29-8) were done in by foul trouble the entire game and Tajuan Porter going cold.
Porter, the 5-foot-6 guard who went off for eight 3s and 33 points in Friday night's regional semifinal, didn't make his first field goal until there were 40 seconds left in the game. He finished with 10 points but was just 2-of-12 from the field.
Aaron Brooks led Oregon with 27 points, and Malik Hairston added 18.
North Carolina 84
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - In an NCAA tournament full of tremendous rallies, it was the Hoyas' turn - against North Carolina, of all teams.
Georgetown overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half, then ripped off 14 straight points in overtime to stun the top-seeded Tar Heels Sunday for its first trip to the Final Four since 1985, when the coach was John Thompson and the star player was Patrick Ewing.
The Hoyas (30-6) did it this time with coach John Thompson III calling the backdoor plays he learned at Princeton and Patrick Ewing Jr. making key contributions.
They were helped by an amazing collapse from Carolina (31-7), which made only one of 23 field goal attempts, including its first 12 in overtime, over a 15 minute-span.
The Tar Heels actually had a chance to win in regulation, but freshman Wayne Ellington missed an open jumper from the wing right before the buzzer.
This time, there would be no game-winning shot for the Tar Heels as there was in 1982, when freshman Michael Jordan's jumper ended one of the most thrilling games in college basketball history and lifted Carolina over the elder Thompson, Ewing Sr. and Georgetown.
Jeff Green led Georgetown with 22 points and freshman DaJuan Summers added 20.
Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels.
The Hoyas will play Ohio State in the semifinals next Saturday at the Georgia Dome.