Fi­nal Four

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

“Some games I hit a shot early, in other games I’d just get a re­bound or make a good pass. I’m just try­ing to go out there and help my team win as best I can.”

The 6-foot-9 Maye en­tered last week­end as a player who has had some good mo­ments — in­clud­ing 15 re­bounds against Florida State, 13 points at ri­val North Carolina State — but gen­er­ally played to spell starters Kennedy Meeks or Isa­iah Hicks up front.

Yet he had shown a soft shoot­ing touch and the abil­ity to pull de­fend­ing big men out to the perime­ter. And when Hicks got in early foul trou­ble against But­ler in the Sweet 16, Maye be­came much more than a sub for the Tar Heels (31-7).

The guy who came in av­er­ag­ing 5.1 points in 13.8 min­utes per game went for 16 points and 12 re­bounds in the win against the Bull­dogs.

Then, with Hicks strug­gling against the Wild­cats in the Elite Eight, Maye scored 17 points — the last two com­ing on that jumper with 0.3 sec­onds left for the 75-73 win.

Maye made 12 of 19 shots and 5 of 8 3-point­ers — 63 per­cent in both cases — dur­ing the two-game stop in Mem­phis, Tenn., to lift the South Re­gion’s No. 1 seed to a record 20th Fi­nal Four to face Ore­gon on Satur­day.

“When he sets a screen, most of the time (de­fend­ers) are hedg­ing long,” Jackson said. “So when­ever he pops, it’s hard for them to find him. So that’s huge. And then out­side of that, be­cause he’s a stretch-4 there’s much more room in­side for the

guards to drive. .. So when he’s in there, I think that re­ally helps us.”

Here’s a look at play­ers who could emerge from the shad­ows this week­end in Phoenix:

Gon­zaga: The West Re­gion’s top seed has fresh­man Zach Collins, a 7-foot McDon­ald’s All-Amer­i­can, com­ing off the bench be­hind cen­ter Prze­mek Karnowski. Collins is av­er­ag­ing 9.9 points and 5.7 re­bounds while shoot­ing 65.4 per­cent, and he’s do­ing it in just 17.2 min­utes per game en­ter­ing the semi­fi­nals against South Carolina in a matchup of two first-time Fi­nal Four pro­grams. Ore­gon: On a team led by Dil­lon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey, 6-9 ju­nior Jor­dan Bell is av­er­ag­ing 10.9 points and 8.6 re­bounds. But af­ter the Ducks lost shot-blocker Chris Boucher to a knee in­jury dur­ing the Pac-12

Tour­na­ment, Bell proved his abil­ity to dom­i­nate in­side by fin­ish­ing with 11 points, 13 re­bounds and eight blocks in the Mid­west Re­gion fi­nal to help the Ducks beat No. 1 seed Kansas for their first Fi­nal Four since win­ning the 1939 NCAA ti­tle.

South Carolina: Rakym Felder is the “New York City point guard” coach Frank Martin says he wanted. The 5-10 fresh­man has started just once all year and plays 14.5 min­utes per game, but has had some key pro­duc­tion in the NCAA Tour­na­ment — most no­tably by tal­ly­ing 15 points, four re­bounds and three as­sists in the up­set of No. 2 seed Duke in the East Re­gion’s sec­ond round. Felder is shoot­ing a teambest 43 per­cent from 3-point range while av­er­ag­ing 5.7 points en­ter­ing the Gon­zaga game. AP All-Amer­i­can team: Frank Ma­son III was a last-minute re­cruit for Kansas. He turned into the Jay­hawks’ lat­est All-Amer­i­can.

The se­nior guard was the only unan­i­mous se­lec­tion to the 2016-17 AP All-Amer­ica team Tuesday, re­ceiv­ing all first-team votes from the same 65-mem­ber na­tional me­dia panel that se­lects the weekly AP Top 25.

“I love the kid and I think he knows how I feel about him, but I’ve never been more proud — not that he’s won a post­sea­son award — but he’s done ev­ery­thing that he’s sup­posed to do,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He’s been a great team­mate, he’s been tough as nails, he’s worked his butt off, he’s loved by ev­ery­one in the aca­demic de­part­ments, grad­u­ated, and to see him reap th­ese ben­e­fits af­ter putting in so much time is an un­be­liev­able honor.”

The rest of the All-Amer­ica team in­cludes guards Josh Hart of Vil­lanova and Lonzo Ball of UCLA, plus for­wards Caleb Swani­gan of Pur­due and Justin Jackson of North Carolina. Votes were based on the reg­u­lar sea­son and con­fer­ence tour­na­ments.

Ma­son av­er­aged 20.8 points, 4.1 re­bounds and 5.1 as­sists while shoot­ing 48.7 per­cent from 3-point range.

Hart, a se­nior who was key to Vil­lanova’s 2016 na­tional cham­pi­onship, av­er­aged 18.9 points and 6.5 re­bounds. He re­ceived 62 first-team votes.

The sopho­more Swani­gan led the na­tion with 26 dou­ble-dou­bles, and fresh­man Ball al­ready has de­clared for the NBA draft af­ter av­er­ag­ing 14.6 points, 6.1 re­bounds and 7.9 as­sists a game for the Bru­ins.

Jackson, a ju­nior, av­er­aged 18.1 points and 4.6 re­bounds this sea­son.

BRAN­DON DILL / AP

North Carolina sopho­more Luke Maye was av­er­ag­ing just 5.1 points in 13.8 min­utes per game, but had 17 points and the win­ning bas­ket on Sun­day.

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