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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Let’s Go Red!
That is the chant you’ll hear Sunday inside Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in the second round of the NCAA Tournament when fourth-seeded Wisconsin and 12th-seeded Cornell meet for a berth in the Sweet 16 of the East Regional.
Upstart Cornell established an eight-point halftime lead and thoroughly outplayed No. 5 Temple en route to a 78-65 victory in a first-round game Friday.
The Big Red, which gave top-ranked Kansas a scare in Lawrence, Kan., earlier this season, improved to 28-4. Temple finished the season 29-6.
Wisconsin (24-8) advanced with a 53-49 victory over No. 13 Wofford (26-9).
Senior guard Louis Dale scored 21 points to lead three Cornell players in double figures.
“Going into the game, I think our mentality was we wanted to be the toughest team,” Dale said. “We knew that it was going to be a hard-fought game, and that we just needed to stay poised and be tough. You know, we were able to do that today and get a win.”
Senior forward Ryan Wittman, the son of former Indiana star Randy Wittman, added 20 points. He hit 4 of 6 three-pointers, including 3 of 4 in the second half when the Big Red pulled away. Jeff Foote, the Big Red’s 7-foot senior center, added 16.
The trio combined to hit 19 of 31 field-goal attempts as Cornell shot 56.3 percent (27 for 48) against the No. 4 field-goal percentage defense nationally (37.9 percent).
Guards Ryan Brooks and Juan Fernandez scored 14 points to lead Temple.
“I thought Cornell just played terrific basketball,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “I thought they looked like a very fresh basketball team. I thought we battled for the most part and then the early part of the second half when Wittman goes on that little run … that kind of stemmed the tide.”
The Owls pulled within 46-40 with 16 minutes 22 seconds remaining on a jumper by Fernandez, but Cornell responded with a 10-4 run to build a 56-44 lead to re-establish control. Dale had two assists and a basket in the run.
“We were just real confident in ourselves,” Foote said. “We had been here twice before, and we knew our offense and we knew that we could win this game.
“When Louis and Ryan are doing their thing like tonight, we’re a real tough team to stop.
“It was just tremendous confidence in all of us, and we were just ready to play.”
No. 2 West Virginia 77, No. 15 Morgan State 50
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kevin Jones scored 17 points and the Mountaineers overcame an early scare to beat the Golden Bears.
Devin Ebanks added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Big East champion Mountaineers (28-6), who started the game missing their first 11 shots and trailing 10-0. With star guard Da’Sean Butler shut down by Morgan State, Jones stepped up to score 9 points during a decisive 21-4 run near the end of the first half.
No. 4 Wisconsin 53, No. 13 Wofford 49
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jon Leuer scored 20 points and Trevon Hughes added 19, and the Badgers held off the Terriers.
Leuer’s baseline jumper with 17 seconds remaining snapped a 51-51 tie, and the 6-foot-10 forward added a pair of free throws to finish the victory.
No. 10 Missouri 86, No. 7 Clemson 78
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kim English and Keith Ramsey each scored 20 points, and the Tigers’ swarming defense lived up to their reputation.
Missouri (23-10) won its fifth straight opening-round game and sent Clemson (21-11) home for the third consecutive year after a first-round loss. Clemson coach Oliver Purnell is winless in six trips to the NCAA tournament with three schools.