Badgers get past Tar Heels; Xavier edged by Arizona
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sam Dekker scored a career-high 23 points, Frank Kaminsky added 19 and top-seeded Wisconsin rallied in the final 10 minutes to hold off North Carolina 79-72 Thursday night and advance to the final eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Zak Showalter came off the bench to score six points in the Badgers’ 19-7 comeback run that sent them into the West Regional final Saturday against either No. 2 seed Arizona or sixth-seeded Xavier.
Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson scored 15 points each for the fourth-seeded Tar Heels (26-12), who got within one with 4:21 remaining but couldn’t retake the lead they owned for much of the second half.
Marcus Paige hit consecutive 3-pointers that again drew Carolina within one with 54 seconds to go, but Wisconsin (34-3) made all eight of its free throws over the closing seconds.
Arizona 68, Xavier 60
LOS ANGELES (AP) — T.J. McConnell scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, freshman Stanley Johnson added 12 points, and second-seeded Arizona made a dominant late rally for a 68-60 victory over sixth-seeded Xavier in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday night.
Kaleb Tarczewski had 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Wildcats (34-3) weathered a major scare from the underdog Musketeers (23-14) and clamped down defensively during a game-ending 19-7 run.
Arizona is again on the brink of its first Final Four under coach Sean Miller, who led Xavier for five years until 2009.
Arizona will face top-seeded Wisconsin (34-3) on Saturday at Staples Center in a rematch of last season’s West final.
Matt Stainbrook had 17 points and 10 rebounds in his final game for Xavier.