As his teammates buzzed around him during warmups, Sam Young lost himself in the funky sounds pumping through his headphones. Young, Pittsburgh's poet in...
DAYTON, Ohio — As his teammates buzzed around him during warmups, Sam Young lost himself in the funky sounds pumping through his headphones.
Young, Pittsburgh’s poet in motion whose words are his second love after basketball, let the sweet, sweet music carry him far away.
And deeper into the NCAA tournament.
Young scored 32 points — one shy of his career-high — and colossal center DeJuan Blair had another double-double as top-seeded Pittsburgh advanced to the round of 16 for the fifth time in eight years with an 84-76 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday in the East Regional.
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Pitt (30-4) will play Xavier in the semifinals in Boston on Thursday.
“It’s a tough bracket we’re in,” said Blair, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, some of them with three defenders hanging on him. “We’re just fighting through it.”
Oklahoma State threw every punch it had.
Obi Muonelo scored 19 points for the eighth-seeded Cowboys (23-12), a scrappy bunch who gave the Panthers all they could handle before losing their touch in the final minutes.
Xavier 60, Wisconsin 49
In Boise, Xavier needed only a small window to crack Wisconsin’s plodding defense and finally pull ahead.
Once the Musketeers broke through, they smothered any comeback, holding the Badgers to 25 percent shooting in the second half.
“We didn’t lose faith in what got us here,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said. “We reminded our team that we have been against styles like that and it requires a lot of tough-mindedness and patience.”
Wisconsin controlled the pace for the first 30 minutes before Xavier pulled away with a 13-4 run, then hung on with free throws and defense even tighter than Wisconsin’s.
The Badgers (20-13) were 16 for 56 from the floor and made three of 20 three-point attempts.
“Defense. That’s our identity. We’re not going to score 90 points and outshoot people and we realize that,” said Derrick Brown, one of two Xavier players to score in double figures.
B.J. Raymond was the other with 15 points, scoring 12 in the second half, and C.J. Anderson pulled down eight rebounds for No. 4 seed Xavier, which advanced despite a poor shooting day. The Musketeers were 18 for 46 from the floor and 18 for 26 from the foul line.
The Musketeers (27-7), an Elite Eight team a year ago, advances to play top-seeded Pittsburgh — Miller’s alma mater — Thursday in the round of 16 in Boston.
Wisconsin (20-13) kept Xavier off balance, but the tight defense wasn’t quite enough to overcome 29 percent shooting.