Okla. State ends Seton Hall's run
Posted: Saturday March 25, 2000 12:57 PM
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Eddie Sutton knew they all wouldn't be easy for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys did their usual fine job defending the 3-pointer to move within one victory of the Final Four.
The third-seeded Cowboys held Seton Hall to 7-of-34 shooting from 3-point range and beat the 10th-seeded Pirates 68-66 Friday night in the East Regional semifinals. The first two tournament wins were by a combined 28 points and were cakewalks compared with No. 3.
Oklahoma State (27-6) will meet fifth-seeded Florida on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four. Florida beat top-seeded and top-ranked Duke 87-78.
The last time the Cowboys advanced this far in the NCAA tournament was in 1995 when they reached the Final Four for the first time under Sutton.
The Pirates (22-10), who needed overtime in each of their two wins in the tournament, played without injured senior point guard Shaheen Holloway. The Pirates are the third of three Big East teams to lose in the round of 16. Syracuse and Miami also fell in the regional semifinals.
"Any time you're right there you can taste it, feel it," Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker said. "We didn't capitalize when we had the opportunities. We ran into a very good basketball team that played a heck of a game and made big plays."
Defending the 3-pointer has been of the Cowboys' strengths all season as they were eighth in the nation, allowing 29.7 percent.
They were even better against Seton Hall, which was 23-of-44 in the first two games of the tournament, including an East Regional-record 15-of-30 in the second-round upset of second-seeded Temple.
"We're a very perimeter-oriented team. That's what we do and how we've been able to get to this point," Amaker said. "We did not shoot the ball well, but we still came up just two points short. We were hoping a few of those 3-pointers would start to fall for us."
Holloway sprained his left ankle eight minutes into the victory over Temple. Ty Shine replaced him and scored a career-high 26 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in overtime. Holloway, who didn't practice all week, didn't dress for the game and had to settle for a role as a cheerleader and extra assistant coach in his final college game.
"It was tremendously hard. It was nothing like I ever felt in my life, especially when I came out there and I saw the crowd," Holloway said. "I sat back and took a deep breath because I really didn't want to be emotional. I didn't want to cry. I wanted to stay strong for the team."
Desmond Mason had 16 points for the Cowboys, and Brian Montonati and Fredrik Jonzen added 15 each.
Rimas Kaukenas led the Pirates with 17 points and Darius Lane added 16, but he was 7-for-24 from the field, including 2-for-18 from beyond the 3-point line. Shine, who was 7-for-10 from 3-point range against Temple, had 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting, including 2-for-10 on 3-pointers.
The Pirates were right there until the end and Oklahoma State needed some good interior defense as well to hold them off.
Jonzen, a 6-foot-10 sophomore center, blocked Kaukenas on a rebound layup with five minutes to go and also threw away Al Harris with 1:40 left and Seton Hall within 60-57.
"Fredrik has developed into an outstanding basketball player," Sutton said. "He's become a very good defender, our best rebounder and our best inside player."
Glendon Alexander was 4-for-6 from the free-throw line for the Cowboys over the final 16 seconds, holding off Seton Hall with his last one with 0.5 seconds to play that made it 68-66.
"Right now I'm in awe stepping to the line in front of 30,000 fans and the nation watching you and your team's destiny in your hands," said Alexander, who finished with nine points. "I didn't feel no pressure. It was a great feeling."
Doug Gottlieb had 12 assists for Oklahoma State, well above his 8.6 average for the season, and the Cowboys committed just six turnovers.
"It was good for our team to be tested," Gottlieb said. "Obviously, we didn't execute as well as we would have liked to, but they're a good team and they're playing undermanned. Three guys played 40 minutes. That shows that they've got it inside their hearts. Seton Hall played as hard as they could play."
Seton Hall was trying to reach the regional final for the third
time ever and the first time since 1991.