Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Miss. State Marches Past Uconn

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Miss. State Marches Past Uconn

Article excerpt

Darkness would drape over minuscule Kennedy, Ala., and Darryl Wilson, then a child, kept shooting. And shooting.

"All I could see was the square on the backboard," said Wilson, whose hoop was in the backyard, not off the garage. "Didn't have a garage where I lived."

Didn't have much of anything besides 500-600 townsfolk. Not even a full-fledged traffic signal.

"Caution light," said Wilson, the Mississippi State guard.

Humble as that may sound, the Connecticut basketball team can only wish it had heeded warning signs about Wilson. In an NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional semifinal on Friday at Rupp Arena, Wilson's 27 points propelled fifth-seeded Mississippi State past No. 1 seed Connecticut 60-55.

"Who'd have ever thought Mississippi State would be in the Elite Eight?" said Wilson, whose team on Sunday will take on the winner of Friday's late game between second-seeded Cincinnati and No. 3 Georgia Tech.

The Huskies, whose game has been predicated on scavenging their opponents with pressure defense, were relegated to yet another unfulfilled promise as Mississippi State throttled the game to its preferred deliberate pace. Connecticut's output was a season low.

"Every time we pressed them, they made a 3-pointer," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "They actually made four 3-pointers off our press."

Only "they" was just "he." Wilson, a senior, heaved in five of six 3-pointers in the first half to prop the Bulldogs (25-7) to a 37-21 lead on the way to a 37-25 halftime advantage. Connecticut (32-3) was behind by double-digits until just over six minutes remained as Wilson went on to tie his season high of seven 3-pointers (in 11 tries).

So much for all the ruckus about Connecticut's backcourt of Doron Sheffer and Ray Allen, lauded by many as the best tandem in the nation. Although Allen scored 22 points, it came on nine-of-25 shooting - and he missed UConn's final chance to tie in the late seconds. …

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