SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – If Kevin Durant decides to leave college after one year, it will be without a championship – or even a trip into the second week of the tournament. Southern California made sure of that Sunday, getting 22 points from its more seasoned star, junior Nick Young, in an 87-68 runaway over Texas and Durant, the freshman front-runner for national player of the year. As he often has this season, Durant led everyone with 30 points and added nine rebounds for fourth-seeded Texas. But he never came close to dominating this East Regional game. Many times when he got the ball, the offense ground to a halt for the Longhorns (25-10), who fell behind by 17 early in the second half and never made a serious run. No. 5 seed USC (25-11) also got 20 points from Daniel Hackett and 17 points and 14 rebounds from Taj Gibson – a 6-foot-9 freshman like Durant. The Trojans won by playing smarter, more disciplined basketball and looking much more like a team in doing it. A team with a very good leader in Young – the scrappy swingman who had every reason to believe he’d be a USC alum by the time second-year coach Tim Floyd’s rebuilding efforts took shape. Turns out, the talent’s there now, and next week, the Trojans will make their first trip to the regional semis since 2001 – and second since 1979 – where they’ll play North Carolina. With their 25th win, they set a program record. Not bad for this so-called football school, which got a small – very small – measure of revenge for its heartbreaking loss to the Longhorns in the 2006 Rose Bowl with the national title on the line. This is a long, athletic, relentless team, one that relegated Durant – brilliant as he was at times – to the perimeter and dominated the middle against the rest of the Longhorns. Though Gibson and Durant weren’t head-to-head for much of this, the USC freshman was more effective. After taking a nasty blow to the face that benched him at the end of the first half, Gibson iced this game in the second. He dominated the boards and made 9 of 14 free throws, almost all down the stretch. The most telling sequence came earlier in the second half, after Texas had trimmed a 15-point deficit to four. Lodrick Stewart worked for and made an open 17-footer. Young came back with a 3-pointer, then swatted D.J. Augustin’s shot out of bounds on Texas’ next possession. A few moments later, Young got an easy offensive rebound and a putback. He made two free throws, then forced a steal, filled the lane and took a pass from Gabe Pruitt for a slam. By then, it was 48-33 and Texas was moving into desperation mode. Durant had nothing to be ashamed of. He added this to a 27-point, eight-rebound opener against New Mexico State in which he never quite looked in sync. But he couldn’t do it all for the ‘Horns, and it is now decision time for the 26-point, 11-rebound-a-game star who will probably win several player-of-the-year awards over the next few weeks. If he chooses the NBA and fellow freshman Greg Oden of Ohio State doesn’t, Durant will likely be the top pick – his perimeter skills giving him a chance to succeed right away while he fills out that skinny, 225-pound frame. But this won’t follow the Carmelo Anthony story of 2003 – when ‘Melo led Syracuse to a championship as a freshman and decided to move on, having done all he could at this level. Instead, maybe the storyline to follow will be that of USC, which played the season in memory of teammate Ryan Francis, the point guard who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting last year in his home state of Louisiana. Francis’ mother, Paulette, was in Spokane this weekend, and whether it was her presence or something else, the Trojans played both of their games like a team with a purpose. That they were rarely challenged by Arkansas in a 77-60 first-round win wasn’t a surprise, but this blowout over Texas certainly was. With 20 points, A.J. Abrams was the only player to join Durant in double figures for the Longhorns, who shot only 37 percent from the floor. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
ELKINS PARK, Pa. – The only synagogue ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Beth Sholom, a soaring glass-and-concrete temple just outside Philadelphia, began welcoming worshippers nearly 50 years ago. On Sunday, the National Park Service recognized it as one of the architect’s greatest achievements. “This is not just a historic site,” William Bolger, regional program manager for the park service, said of the building conceived as a modern Mount Sinai. “It is a living monument to our nation’s culture.” The towering, flat-topped spire is constructed out of concrete, steel, aluminum and glass.
Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.Download AudioAction On Same-Sex Marriage Leaves Democratic Lawmakers In Uncomfortable Spot As Attorney General Confirmation LoomsAlexandra Gutierrez, APRN – JuneauLast week, Alaska Attorney General designee Craig Richards joined 15 other states in asking the Supreme Court to uphold their bans on same-sex marriage. This comes just as legislators are deciding whether to support his confirmation in a vote later this month. The action has a left some Democratic lawmakers in an uncomfortable spot.State House Passes Surcharge On Refined FuelAlexandra Gutierrez, APRN – JuneauSince the Murkowski administration, the Alaska House of Representatives has not passed a taxation bill where the levy goes beyond the oil industry. That changed on Wednesday, when the House narrowly passed a surcharge on refined fuel. The tax amounts to one cent per gallon.Gov. Walker Issues Disaster Declaration For Dalton Highway Flooding Dan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksGovernor Bill Walker has declared a disaster in response to flooding that’s making the far northern end of the Dalton Highway impassable. The road is used to supply the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. It’s been closed south of Deadhorse since Sunday because an expanding area of overflow from the Sag River and recent blizzard conditions that have hampered Department of Transportation crews. The disaster declaration will amp up efforts to open the road.Ethan Berkowitz, Amy Demboski Heading For Mayoral Runoff Election Anne Hillman, KSKA – AnchorageEthan Berkowitz and Amy Demboski are headed to a runoff for Anchorage mayor on May 5.Long After Civil War’s End, Rebel Raiders Fought On in Bering Sea Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DCA hundred and fifty years ago this week – tomorrow, actually – General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia. Textbooks typically say this event signaled the end of the Civil War. But a few historians make the case that the last shots of the war were actually fired from a Confederate ship off of Alaska’s coast, in the Bering Sea.Rural Subsistence Hunters No Longer Need Federal Duck Stamps Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DCIt took a few years and an act of Congress, but today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced rural subsistence hunters don’t need to purchase federal duck stamps.Rie Muñoz Leaves A Legacy Of Delight, Joy And Laughter Lisa Phu, KTOO – JuneauBeloved artist Rie Muñoz passed away Monday night at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau after a stroke. She was 93. Muñoz was active until the end, a prolific artist and traveler who drew inspiration from everyday Alaskans.