MARQUETTE 74, BUTLER 72
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Vander Blue scored 19 second-half points to rally third-seeded Marquette out of another hole, and the Golden Eagles beat No. 6 Butler to reach the round of 16.
Like November's first meeting between the teams at the Maui Invitational, won 72-71 by Butler on Rotnei Clarke's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, this was a back-and-forth, high-intensity affair that came down to the final shot.
Only this time, Butler missed.
Marquette (25-8) will meet the winner of Sunday's game between Illinois and Miami on Thursday in the regional semifinals in Washington, D.C.
Blue, who made a last-second layup to beat Davidson in Marquette's first tournament game, scored 29 points.
Clarke's 24 points led Butler (28-9).
After Jamil Wilson's two free throws made it 71-69, Davante Gardner deflected Clarke's pass intended for Kellen Dunham underneath and then made the first of three late free throws for a 74-70 lead with 4.7 seconds left.
After Wilson's goaltend on what would have been a layup by Andrew Smith cut the lead to two 2 seconds later, Blue almost became the goat by throwing away the inbound pass intended for Wilson with 2.9 seconds left.
The Bulldogs, who seem to win every close game this time of year, couldn't get a good last look. Smith took an off-balance 3 from up top that was way off, slamming into the backboard and setting off another Marquette celebration.
SYRACUSE 66, CALIFORNIA 60
SAN JOSE, Calif. — C.J. Fair scored 18 points, James Southerland added 14 and fourth-seeded Syracuse survived a second-half drought of more than 12 minutes without a field goal to beat No. 12 seed California.
The Orange (28-9) frustrated California with their zone defense to overcome a dismal shooting night when they made just 39 percent of their shots and missed 15 of 41 free throws.
But it proved to be enough to send Syracuse to Washington, D.C., for the regional semifinals, where the Orange will take on the winner of Sunday's game between top-seeded Indiana and Temple on Thursday.
Richard Solomon scored 22 points for the Golden Bears (21-12), who were trying to make it to the round of 16 for the first time in 16 years and just the third time since 1960.