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West Virginia, Xavier Advance to US College Basketball's 'Sweet 16'


The West Virginia University Mountaineers have defeated Duke, 73-67, to reach the round of 16 in the U.S. men's college basketball tournament here in Washington, D.C. As VOA's David Byrd reports, West Virginia's defense shut down Duke's three-point shooters and stifled the Blue Devils' attempts to fight back.

Duke started the game Saturday at the Verizon Center with Greg Paulus hitting two of his first four three-point baskets. The second-seeded Blue Devils took a 34-29 lead into halftime.

But in the second half, their offense went cold, while seventh-seeded West Virginia's ignited. The Mountaineers tied the game, then took the lead and never relinquished it. Duke's three-point weapons fell silent until Gerald Henderson hit a three-point basket with less than two minutes left.

WVU Coach Bob Huggins said after the game that his team knew stopping Duke's outside shooting was key to beating them.

"The thing that they do so great, and Mike [Krzyzewski] has done such a great job every year is that they do make threes. And they get to the foul line more than their opposition does. And you kind of have to pick your poison and we really wanted to do a better job of not letting them score from behind the three [point line]," he said.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that his Blue Devils did not make the best of their opportunities and West Virginia deserved to win.

"We rely on three-point shooting, we finished five [baskets] for 22 [attempts]. I am glad my guys took them and I did not think they were bad. We just had to shoot a better percentage and finish a little bit better," he said.

This is the second year in a row that Duke has missed the round of 16. West Virginia will play the winner of the second game - Xavier - next week in Phoenix, Arizona. Xavier scored an 85-78 win over Purdue.

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