LOS ANGELES — T.J. McConnell scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and freshman Stanley Johnson added 12 points as the second-seeded Arizona men's basketball team made a dominant late rally for a 68-60 victory over sixth-seeded Xavier in the West Regional semifinals Thursday.
Kaleb Tarczewski had 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Wildcats (34-3) weathered a major scare from the underdog Musketeers (23-14) and clamped down defensively during a game-ending 19-7 run.
Arizona is again on the brink of its first Final Four under coach Sean Miller, who led Xavier for five years until 2009.
Arizona will face top-seeded Wisconsin (34-3) on Saturday at the Staples Center in a rematch of last season's West final.
Matt Stainbrook had 17 points and 10 rebounds in his final game for Xavier.
WISCONSIN 79, NORTH CAROLINA 72
LOS ANGELES — Sam Dekker scored a career-high 23 points, Frank Kaminsky added 19 and the top-seeded Badgers (34-3) rallied in the final 10 minutes to hold off the Tar Heels (26-12).
Reserve Zak Showalter scored six points in the Badgers' 19-7 run that sent them into the West Regional final Saturday against Arizona.
Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson scored 15 points each for the fourth-seeded Tar Heels, who got within one point with 4:21 remaining but couldn't retake the lead they owned for much of the second half.
Marcus Paige hit consecutive 3-pointers that drew Carolina within one with 54 seconds to go, but Wisconsin made all eight of its free throws — four by Kaminsky — over the closing seconds.
Paige added 12 points for the Tar Heels.
CLEVELAND — Trey Lyles scored 14 points, Andrew Harrison added 13 and the unbeaten and top-seeded Wildcats (37-0), chasing history and a ninth national title, rolled to a victory over the Mountaineers (25-10).
The tourney's top seed and an overwhelming favorite to cut down the nets next month in Indianapolis, Kentucky (37-0) advanced to Saturday's regional final to play third-seeded Notre Dame, an 81-70 winner over Wichita State in the other semifinal.
The Fighting Irish may need to call Rudy, consult with Digger Phelps and wake up the echoes from some of those stunning upsets in football and hoops they have pulled off in the past.
West Virginia didn't eclipse 20 points until the 11:41 mark of the second half.
NOTRE DAME 81, WICHITA STATE 70
CLEVELAND — Demetrius Jackson scored 20 points and the third-seeded Irish (32-5) dominated the Shockers (30-5) to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in 36 years.
The Irish shot 75 percent (18 of 24) in the second half, easily pulling away from the seventh-seeded Shockers. Pat Connaughton added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame and Jerian Grant had nine points and 11 assists as the Irish won their eighth straight.
Fred VanVleet led Wichita State with 25 points, Darius Carter had 19 points and eight rebounds but guard Ron Baker had just nine points and went scoreless in the second half.