SOUTHEAST\Eastern Michigan knocks off Duke.
His name is Earl Boykins. He is 5-foot-7 and waterbug-quick, bears a slight facial resemblance to Tyus Edney and even wears the same number, 11, as Edney.
And Thursday afternoon at the RCA Dome, he dominated like the former UCLA point guard. Boykins scored a game-high 23 points and had five assists and four steals in leading Eastern Michigan to a 75-60 victory over Duke in a Southeast Regional first-round game.
"We thought the key to this game would be who had the best backcourt," Boykins said. "We knew we could play with them."
Boykins and backcourt mate Brian Tolbert combined for 43 points - 17 more than Duke's Chris Collins and Jeff Capel.
Tolbert made several crucial baskets as Eastern Michigan built a double-digit lead midway through the second half. Then Boykins, with his subterranean center of gravity, scooted past the frantic Blue Devils defenders until they had no recourse but to foul.
He made six free throws in the final two minutes to secure a win that was only a surprise to those unfamiliar with Eastern Michigan.
"At first, I think we were looking at the name 'Duke' on their shirts and playing the name 'Duke,' instead of playing the guys in the shirts," said Tolbert, whose Eagles handed Texas Tech its only loss of the season.
Duke has failed to reach the Sweet 16 in three of the past four years, and this was the first time Duke, which hammered UCLA this season, lost a first-round game since 1955.
"Eastern Michigan is very well coached, much deeper than we are and, today, much quicker than we were," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Connecticut 68, Colgate 59: Ninth-seeded Eastern Michigan will play top-seeded Connecticut, which won behind 24 points from Big East Player of the year Ray Allen.
"For an opening-round game for us, this would have to be a 'B,' " Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said.
Allen scored 17 points in the first half as Connecticut built a 43-26 lead and then coasted.
But Connecticut reserve point guard Ricky Moore injured his right shoulder for the second time this season and is questionable for Saturday and beyond. His availability is critical to Connecticut's success in the later rounds.
"He provides a spark, and without him that's another dimension gone from our game." Allen said.
Mississippi State 58, Virginia Commonwealth 51: Darryl Wilson scored 15 points as the Bulldogs survived a miserable shooting slump and beat the Rams.
Wilson, the Bulldogs' scoring leader for the season, had only three points until the closing minutes, when he scored 12 of their final 16 points.
"I stepped up and made some big shots, but our defense was the turning point of the ballgame," Wilson said.
The only thing that saved Mississippi State (23-7) was its defense, which forced the Rams (24-9) to shoot even worse, limiting them to 31 percent for the game. The victory sent the fifth-seeded Bulldogs into Saturday's second round against Princeton.
"I don't think it was the prettiest win we've ever been involved in, but we'll take it," coach Richard Williams said. "When you get to this time of the year, you don't worry how pretty it is. It's not a beauty contest."
Photo Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski consoles Chris Collins during the loss to Eastern Michigan. Associated Press