Michigan tops Horns, San Diego State reaches Sweet Sixteen

Michigan 79 Texas 65

Nik Stauskas and Michigan figured out the best way to overcome Texas’ advantage inside.

One sweet shooting performance.

Stauskas made four of Michigan’s 14 3-pointers, and the Wolverines beat the Longhorns 79-65 on Saturday to advance to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Aztecs 63 Bison 44

Xavier Thames sent San Diego State home. As in back to the sunshine of California and a spot in the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history

Whether he was dropping 3s, finessing floaters in the lane or leading the Aztecs’ suffocating defense, Thames would not let North Dakota State become this year’s version of Florida Gulf Coast.

Thames scored 30 points, and fourth-seeded San Diego State ended the run of No. 12 seed North Dakota State 63-44 on Saturday.

Gators Chomp Panthers, Cardinals shut down Billikens, reach sweet Sixteen

Two NCAA heavyweights took another step towards the Final Four as #1 Florida and defending champion Louisville used tight defense to shut Pitt and St. Louis down

Gators 61 Panthers 45

Scottie Wilbekin sat on the bench for the final minute, holding a bag of ice against his left knee.

It was about the only time he wasn’t giving Pittsburgh huge problems on both ends of the court.

Wilbekin scored 21 points, including 11 of the team’s 13 during a 7-minute stretch in the second half, and top-seeded Florida handled the Panthers 61-45 in the NCAA tournament Saturday. The Gators’ 28th consecutive win put them in the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year.

Louisville 66 St. Louis 51

Louisville didn’t need a big game from Russ Smith to get back to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Luke Hancock scored 21 points and the defending national champions shrugged off a cold shooting performance to beat Saint Louis 66-51 on Saturday and advance to the round of 16 for the third straight year 

The fourth-seeded Cardinals (31-5) shot under 45 percent, had 19 turnovers and only got 11 points from Smith, their star. It didn’t matter with the fifth-seeded Billikens (27-7) going 0 for 15 from 3-point range and struggling to take care of the basketball.

Louisville moves on the Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis against either No. 1 seed Wichita State or No. 8 seed Kentucky. The unbeaten Shockers and Wildcats meet Sunday in St. Louis.

UCLA whips Tulsa

UCLA 76 Tulsa 59

This is what UCLA is supposed to do in the NCAA tournament.

Win.

Jordan Adams had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Norman Powell scored 15 in his hometown to lead the fourth-seeded Bruins to a 76-59 victory over 13th-seeded Tulsa on Friday night, spoiling the NCAA tournament head coaching debut of Danny Manning.

UCLA (27-8) advanced to Sunday’s third round in the South Region against 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin, which upset No. 5 VCU 77-75 in overtime.

In his first year in Westwood, Steve Alford coached the Bruins to just their third win in the NCAA tournament since 2009. It came in the city where John Wooden won the last of his 10 national championships, in 1975. UCLA has more national titles than any other school (11), and its overall tournament record is 101-38.

Vols bash UMass, Creighton survives Rajin Cajuns, KU tops Eastern Kentucky

Vols 86 U Mass 67

Jordan McRae flew in to throw down a dunk on the break and increase Tennessee’s big first-half lead, then came down the floor to scream triumphantly toward the orange-clad fans near the court.

Confident? Check. Enthusiastic? Yep.

Maybe playing in the First Four to get the jitters out wasn’t such a bad thing for these Volunteers after all.

Jarnell Stokes scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help Tennessee beat Massachusetts 86-67 on Friday in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional, earning the program’s most lopsided win in the tournament in seven years.

Now 11th-seeded Tennessee faces 14th-seeded Mercer, which beat No. 3 seed Duke 78-71 on Friday, in the third round on Sunday. The game is a rematch of an NIT game won by Mercer at Tennessee last year.

Creighton 76 ULL 66

Doug McDermott scored in bunches and Ethan Wragge delivered the critical 3-pointers. Together they kept Creighton marching on, right back where they’d promised they’d be.

McDermott scored 30 points and Wragge made three huge momentum-changing shots in the second half, sending No. 3 seed Creighton to a tough 76-66 win over No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday in the West Regional.

And with the win, the Bluejays advance to the third round the NCAA tournament, the very spot they’ve been forced out the last two years.

“It feels great to be back,” McDermott said. “This is what I came back for.”

Kansas 80 Eastern Kentucky 69

Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis had double-doubles and second-seeded Kansas pulled away down the stretch to beat pesky Eastern Kentucky 80-69 on Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Traylor finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Ellis had 14 points and 13 boards for the Jayhawks (25-9), who trailed 56-53 with 9 minutes to go before their game-ending charge.

They advanced to play No. 10 seed Stanford, a 58-53 winner over seventh-seeded New Mexico, on Sunday in the third round of the South Regional.

 

Baylor Shucks Huskers, Zona survives Weber State, Stanford holds off Lobos

Baylor 74 Nebraska 60

In January, Baylor couldn’t have even counted on making the NCAA tournament. This kind of March hot streak is starting to look familiar to the Bears.

Cory Jefferson scored 16 points and the sixth-seeded Bears coasted in their first tournament game since falling in the Elite Eight two years ago, beating No. 11 seed Nebraska 74-60 in the second round Friday.

Arizona 78 Weber St. 69

Arizona opened the NCAA tournament with a victory, exactly what a No. 1 seed is supposed to do.

The way it happened, with that jittery start and ease-off-the-gas-pedal finish, the Wildcats will likely hear those upset picks even more now.

Anxious early and a bit too comfortable late, top-seeded Arizona pulled out a 69-59 win over Weber State in the West Regional on Friday, a victory that’s unlikely to change predictions that the Wildcats will lose in the next round.

“We are fortunate to advance and I know the next game will be a terrific game,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “One of my hopes is, (having) one of these under our belts, we will be more ourselves and better on Sunday.”

Stanford 58 New Mexico 53

Stanford made the most of its first NCAA appearance since 2008, starting fast and finishing strong.

New Mexico made another hasty exit.

“We came out energetic and ready to go,” guard Chasson Randle said after the Cardinal led almost start to finish and knocked off the seventh-seeded Lobos 58-53 on Friday. “We knew how big this game was. We definitely had enough confidence to finish out the game.”

Randle scored 23 points for 10th-seeded Stanford (22-12), which built an early 16-point lead then held on after New Mexico rallied to tie it midway through the second half. They got four crucial free throws from reserve walk-on Robbie Lemons and Randle in the final half-minute after New Mexico had cut the deficit to two points. They will play the Eastern Kentucky-Kansas winner on Sunday in the third round.

Mercer upends Duke 78-71

A 14 seed besting a 3 seed is big. When the 3 is Duke? HUGE!

Daniel Coursey scored 17 points and Mercer pulled off the biggest upset in the NCAA tournament so far by knocking off Duke 78-71.

Jakob Gollon added 20 points for the 14th-seeded Bears (27-8).

The Atlantic Sun champions — the same league that produced 2013 tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast — shot 56 percent.

The Bears were simply too much for a Duke team with stars Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood.

As I hate Duke, I cannot be impartial here! I must say YAFREAKINGHOO!

Nova rips Milwaukee, Horns edge Sun Devils at buzzer, Cardinals escape Manhattan

Villanova 73 UWM 53

That hangover from the Big East tournament is gone for Villanova.

Darrun Hilliard scored 16 points, JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 and the Wildcats beat Milwaukee 73-53 on Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Villanova (29-4), the No. 2 seed in the East Region, will play seventh-seeded Connecticut (27-8) in the third round Saturday. The Huskies held off Saint Joseph’s 89-81 in overtime.

No. 15 seed Milwaukee (21-14), the surprise champion of the Horizon League, made it a game all the way, leading much of the first half before fading late.

Villanova was eager to get back on the court after being upset last week by Seton Hall in the Big East quarterfinals, but the effect of that loss seemed to linger.

Texas 87 Arizona State 85

It was just like old times for Rick Barnes and Texas.

The Longhorns made a successful return to the NCAA tournament when Cameron Ridleyconverted a tiebreaking layup as time expired Thursday night, lifting his team to an 87-85 victory over Arizona State.

Jonathan Holmes missed badly on a long 3-pointer for the Longhorns in the final seconds, but Ridley emerged from the scrum and banked it in as the buzzer sounded. The call stood after a video replay, handing Texas its first tourney win since 2011.

“I went to the glass as hard as I could,” Ridley said.

Ridley finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Longhorns (24-10), who led by 14 with 12 minutes left. Freshman reserve Martez Walker had 16 points andDemarcus Holland scored 14 on 6-for-6 shooting from the field.

Louisville 71 Manhattan 64

Luke Hancock hit two huge 3-pointers in the final 1:19 to help Louisville finally shake free from tenacious Manhattan, 71-64 in the NCAA tournament Thursday night.

The defending national champion Cardinals were down 58-55 with less than 4 minutes to play before coming alive from the 3-point line.

Silky smooth guard Russ Smith, who finished with 18 points, got things going with a game-tying 3 from the wing. Hancock delivered the knockout blows. He stole an inbound pass, got fouled and made both free throws. He hit the first dagger with 1:19 remaining and sank a wide-open look from behind the arc with 28 second left.

UConn, St. Louis, and North Dakota State survive in OT

UConn 89 St. Joes 81

Turns out, Jim Calhoun left Connecticut in good hands.

With Calhoun watching from the stands, the Huskies continued their winning NCAA tournament tradition thanks to a hold-over player in senior guard Shabazz Napier and a new coach, Kevin Ollie.

Napier shook off several misses — including a 3-point attempt at the second-half buzzer — to score nine of his 24 points in overtime in UConn’s 89-81 win over Saint Joseph’s in the second round of the tournament on Thursday night. It came in Ollie’s tournament debut behind the bench, two years after health issues forced Calhoun to step down, and a year after the Huskies were barred from postseason play because of academic sanctions.

SLU 83 NS State 80 

At least one No. 5 stayed alive.

Saint Louis, seeded fifth in the Midwest Region, worked five extra minutes Thursday night to avoid joining fellow No. 5’s Cincinnati and Oklahoma in falling to 12th seeds in the NCAA tournament. The Billikens advanced by wiping out a late double-digit deficit and beating North Carolina State 83-80 in overtime.

Rob Loe led the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Atlantic-10 Conference player of the year Jordair Jett overcame a slow start to score 18, doing most of his damage while Saint Louis (27-6) was escaping a 59-45 hole over the last five minutes of regulation.

NDSU 80 OU 75 

The guys in green raced off the court and into the locker room where they danced and sang, compared whose shot was most likely to end up featured on “One Shining Moment,” and checked Twitter to see who was giving them a shoutout.

North Dakota State pulled off yet another 12 seed stunner and enjoyed every moment of it.

“I just want to keep coaching this team,” NDSU coach Saul Phillips said. “I don’t want to have to say goodbye to this locker room.”

Lawrence Alexander’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left forced overtime and Carlin Dupree came off the bench to score four unlikely points in the final 75 seconds of the extra session, and the Bison knocked off No. 5 seed Oklahoma 80-75 Thursday night.

NDSU (26-6) picked up its first NCAA tournament win by rallying in the final minute and outlasting the Sooners in overtime. Alexander finished with a career-high 28 points, but it’ll be his falling-down, fist-pumping celebration after the tying 3-pointer that will be replayed in Fargo for years

Spartans, Wolverines roll

MSU 93 Deleware 78

Adreian Payne sent Tom Izzo a text. He wants to leave a legacy.

Consider it done.

The 6-foot-10 senior played the game of his life Thursday, scoring a career-high 41 points to help fourth-seeded Michigan State look every bit like a March Madness favorite in a 93-78 victory over Delaware.

“He was playing in another zone, not even in the ozone,” Izzo said. “He was in Pluto and beyond.”

This marked the first 40-point performance in the NCAA tournament since Stephen Curry did it for Davidson in a win over Gonzaga in 2008. Payne set a school tournament scoring record, surpassing the 34 points Greg Kelser scored during Michigan State’s 1979 title run led by Magic Johnson.

Michigan 57 Wofford 40

While Michigan didn’t have a particularly pretty start to its NCAA tournament, coach John Beilein felt his team proved a point to the rest of the field on Thursday night.

Yes, they can play defense too.

Glenn Robinson III scored 14 points in the arena his father used to call home in the NBA,Jordan Morgan added 10 points and 10 rebounds, and the second-seeded Wolverines held No. 15 seed Wofford to 34 percent shooting in a 57-40 win.

“We were able to get a win basically with our defense today,” Beilein said, “and that’s something a lot of people wouldn’t say if they watched us this year.”

However the method, what mattered most was that Michigan is still in the hunt to return to the Final Four in spite of pesky Wofford’s best efforts.

Michigan (26-8) capitalized on its decisive edge in athleticism on the undersized Terriers (20-13) but had some nervous moments after missing 15 of their first 18 shots in the second half.