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As has been the case throughout the entire NCAA Tournament, Friday’s Sweet 16 action continued to impress. Featuring a lineup of tournament mainstays like Duke, Syracuse, Kansas and Villanova, Friday night was a cast of heavy hitters. Here’s a recap of how it all broke down:
Kansas Jayhawks 80-Clemson Tigers 76
Kansas jumped out to a double digit lead on some hot shooting. With center Udoka Azubuike controlling the paint and three point shooting by Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick, the Jayhawks were making it look easy. The moment looked to big for Clemson. They led by 13 at the half. Kansas threatened to blow the game open early in the second half, but Clemson guard Gabe DeVoe singlehandedly brought them back, leading a furious comeback that would come up just short.
Duke Blue Devils 69-Syracuse Orange 64
The game was a battle the entire way through. The pace favored Syracuse and they had a slight lead. Both teams had a hard time facing each other’s zone defense. With 5:20 remaining, Duke started to find a groove and ended the half on a 10-0 run to lead by seven. In the second half, Duke flirted with taking over the game with Marvin Bagley III and Wendel Carter Jr controlling the boards. The Orange refused to go away as Tyus Battle begin to find his scoring touch. Syracuse would get as close as three but could not get over the hump. Duke would eventually hold on for the win.
Villanova Wildcats 90-West Virginia Mountaineers 78
This was a seesaw Battle from the tip. Villanova took an early lead taking quality shots. Midway through the half, West Virginia’s press started creating turnovers and put them ahead. It was vintage Mountaineer chaos with Jevon Carter heading the press and Sagaba Konate protecting the paint. The Wildcats would end the half on a mini run to lead by two. The second half would mirror the first. The Mountaineers came out fast to take back the lead. They seemed to have control up 5 with about 11 minutes to go. That’s when Villanova and Jalen Brunson took over after figuring out West Virginia’s press. They would end the game on a huge 45-18 runto earn the victory.
Texas Tech Red Raiders 78-Purdue Boilermakers 65
Purdue got off to a good start and maintained a lead throughout most of the half. The tempo was slow and the game was ugly, just the way the Boilermakers like it. Texas Tech turned up the heat on defense and ended the last 3:44 on a 10-0 run to lead by five at the half. The second half was all about the Red Raiders. They sped up the pace and used their superior quickness to keep control throughout the second half. Purdue Guard Carsen Edwards did everything he could to keep them within reach. Texas Tech pushed the lead to double digits behind guard Keenan Evans and never looked back. They cruised to a 13 point win.