West Virginia 84, Clemson 76
TAMPA, FL – Darryl Bryant scored 19 points and Kevin Jones added 17 to help fifth-seeded West Virginia overcome a slow start and wear down No. 12 seed Clemson, 84-76 in the second round of the East Regional on Thursday.
The Mountaineers (21-11) advanced to play fourth-seeded Kentucky or No. 13 seed Princeton, taking advantage on a fatigued opponent playing its second game in just over 36 hours.
Bryant’s four-point play and a long 3-pointer by Jones that tied it 40-40 at the half highlighted a game-changing 28-8 run that enabled West Virginia to turn a 10-point deficit into a 57-47 lead. The closest Clemson (22-12) would get the rest of the way was three points.
Kentucky 59, Princeton 57
TAMPA, FL – Freshman Brandon Knight, held scoreless for more than 39 minutes, made a driving layup with 2 seconds remaining to lift No. 4 seed Kentucky to a 59-57 win over 13th-seeded Princeton in the second round of the NCAA tournament Thursday.
Knight missed his first seven shots and even found himself on the bench in the closing minute. But coach John Calipari, who proclaimed, “You can’t count on freshmen” a day earlier, put the ball in Knight’s hands with the game on the line. Knight delivered, and Big Blue advanced to face West Virginia in the third round Saturday.
It was the biggest contribution Kentucky got from its trio of talented newcomers. Fellow freshman Terrence Jones finished with 10 points, and Doron Lamb added seven.
Upperclassmen carried the Wildcats most of the way. Darius Miller scored 17 points, and lone senior Josh Harrellson added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Butler 60, Old Dominion 58
WASHINGTON, DC – Matt Howard scored on a tip-in at the buzzer, giving No. 8 seed Butler a 60-58 victory over Old Dominion on Thursday in the second round of the Southeast Regional.
Howard was on the left side of the basket after Shawn Vanzant missed from the right side. Howard went up with his right hand and put the ball in an instant before time expired.
A year ago, Butler’s magical run to the NCAA championship game ended with a narrow miss at the buzzer against Duke. In this game, the Bulldogs got the bounce they needed.
Howard and Shelvin Mack each scored 15 points for Butler (24-9), which will next play the winner of Thursday’s Pittsburgh-UNC Asheville game. Frank Hassell led Old Dominion (27-7) with 20 points. The defeat ended the Monarchs’ nine-game winning streak. The game featured 21 lead changes, and neither team led by more than six points.
Pittsburgh 74, North Carolina-Asheville 51
WASHINGTON, DC – Ashton Gibbs scored 20 of his 26 points after halftime, and bigger, stronger, more physical Pittsburgh kept the No. 1s perfect against the No. 16s in the NCAA tournament by beating North Carolina-Asheville 74-51 on Thursday.
The Panthers showed the scrappy Big South champions what Big East play is all about, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 50-27 to make up for so-so shooting by nearly everyone but Gibbs.
Pitt led by only three early in the second half before putting the game away with a 13-5 run.
The Panthers (28-5) advanced to play No. 8 seed Butler in the next round. Butler defeated Old Dominion in the day’s opening game at the Verizon Center.
Matt Dickey scored 21 points to lead UNC Asheville (20-14), which finished off a whirlwind week that included a win over Arkansas-Little Rock in one of the Dayton play-in games on Tuesday.
Florida 79, UC Santa Barbara 51.
TAMPA, FL – Erving Walker scored 18 points, Chandler Parsons flirted with his first triple-double and Florida coasted to a 79-51 victory over 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara in the Southeast region Thursday night.
Parsons, the Southeastern Conference’s player of the year, finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 10 assists.
Florida (27-7) made 11 of its first 15 shots, opened up a double-digit lead and kept piling on the rest of the way. The Gators were bigger, faster, more skilled and more athletic at nearly every position – and it showed in what was the most lopsided game so far on the first day of the tournament.
Florida made its opening game look like one of those preseason exhibitions. Yes, the Gators looked every bit like a No. 2 seed. Orlando Johnson led the Gauchos (18-14) with 21 points. Florida plays UCLA next.
UCLA 78, Michigan St. 76
TAMPA, FL – Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee scored 16 points apiece and seventh-seeded UCLA held off a late comeback by No. 10 seed Michigan State to win 78-76 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday night.
The Bruins (23-10) won despite missing 17 free throws, nine of them in the final 3:40 while the Spartans were making a barrage of 3-pointers to get back into the game. The Bruins advanced to a third-round matchup against No. 2 seed Florida, which beat 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara 79-51.
UCLA led 42-24 at the half and by as many as 23 in the second half before nearly letting the game slip away against a team hoping to make an improbable run in the tournament to a third consecutive Final Four. The Bruins were 30 of 47 from the foul line and only made two field goals over the final eight minutes.
Draymond Green led Michigan State (19-15) with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Durrell Summers added 15 and Kalin Lucas finished with 11 after going the first 32 minutes without scoring.
Brigham Young 74, Wofford 66
DENVER – Jimmer Fredette lived up to his billing, scoring 32 points to lift third-seeded Brigham Young to a 74-66 victory over No. 14 Wofford in the NCAA tournament.
Hounded, double teamed and trapped by Wofford defenders much of the night, the nation’s leading scorer still got off 25 shots and made 12 trips to the free-throw line to help the Cougars win their school-record 31st game. They’ll play the winner of a later game in the Southeast region between St. John’s and Gonzaga.
Wofford, making its second straight NCAA appearance, shut down Fredette through most of the first half and led 25-21 with 5 minutes left. But Fredette made two free throws and a 3-pointer during a 9-0 run and BYU (31-4) never relinquished the lead. Noah Dahlman led the Terriers (21-13) with 22 points. BYU plays Gonzaga next.
Gonzaga 86, St. John’s 71
DENVER – Marquise Carter scored a career-high 24 points, lifting 11th-seeded Gonzaga to an 86-71 victory over sixth-seeded St. John’s on Thursday night to cap a stellar day for the underdogs at the Pepsi Center in the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs (25-9) were the third lower seed to spring an upset, joining No. 12 Richmond and No. 13 Morehead State. These days, Gonzaga can hardly be considered an underdog, especially with its rich history of tournament upsets. The Bulldogs move on to face third-seeded BYU, the only team that survived a scare on this floor. The Jimmer Fredette-led Cougars knocked off Wofford, 74-66.
The Bulldogs used their size and strength to muscle around the
Red Storm (21-12), who were back in the tournament for the first
time since 2002. Gonzaga outrebounded St. John’s by a 43-20 margin.
Wisconsin 72, Belmont 58
TUCSON, AZ – Jon Leuer scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half and Wisconsin methodically dispatched Belmont 72-58.
That’s the Badgers’ fifth consecutive NCAA tournament-opening victory.
Jordan Taylor added 21 for the fourth-seeded Badgers (24-8), 14 in the first half.
There was much talk of Belmont, a No. 13 seed, being a surprise tournament team, but the Bruins never hit their stride against the Badgers, who made 12 of 22 3-pointers, led by Taylor’s 5 of 9.
It was an impressive rebirth of the Wisconsin offense after a 36-33 loss to Penn State in the lowest-scoring game in Big Ten Tournament history. Wisconsin was 2 of 21 on 3-pointers in that one.
Mike Hedgepeth scored 17 and Kerron Johnson 13 for the Atlantic Sun champion Bruins (30-5), still searching for their first NCAA tournament berth after four tries.
Kansas State 73, Utah State 68
TUCSON, AZ – Jacob Pullen scored 22 points and hit some big free throws down the stretch, helping Kansas State hold off Utah State 73-68 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Thursday night, the Aggies’ seventh straight opening loss.
Pullen didn’t show any ill affects from the flu that kept him out of practice Wednesday, scoring 10 points in the first half as fifth-seeded Kansas State (23-10) built an 11-point lead. The Wildcats allowed Utah State (30-4) climb back in it with a string of late mistakes, but closed it out from the free throw line to squelch the 12-5 upset. Kansas State moves on to face Wisconsin on Saturday in the Southeast Regional.
Tai Wesley overcame early foul trouble to score 18 points, Brockeith Pane added 17 and Pooh Williams 16 in what was a gritty-but-disappointing finish to a superb season at Utah State.
Morehead State 62 Louisville 61
DENVER – Demonte Harper made a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 4.2 seconds left Thursday to lead 13th-seeded Morehead State to the first upset of the NCAA tournament, a 62-61 victory over No. 4 Louisville in the Southwest regional.
After Harper’s go-ahead basket, the Cardinals had a chance to win it, but Morehead’s Kenneth Faried blocked Mike Marra’s attempt before the buzzer and Louisville was gone after its first game for the second straight year.
Terrance Hill scored a career-high 23 points for the Eagles (25-9), who advance to play the winner of the Vanderbilt-Richmond game. Faried finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds for Morehead State, which won its first NCAA game since 1984. Chris Smith had 17 points for Louisville (25-10), which ends on its first two-game losing streak of the season.
Richmond 69, Vanderbilt 66
DENVER – Kevin Anderson scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half, including a floater with 18.7 seconds remaining that helped seal 12th-seeded Richmond’s 69-66 win over No. 5 seed Vanderbilt on Thursday in the Southwest regional.
The Spiders (28-7) sprang the second upset of the day at Pepsi Center after tiny Morehead State, the 13th seed, used a 3-pointer by Demonte Harper in the waning seconds to upset fourth-seeded Louisville, 62-61, in the early game.
Vanderbilt had a chance to tie the game with 2.5 seconds left, but Rod Odom’s desperation heave was nowhere near the hoop as time expired.
So much for the Commodores (23-11) vanquishing their tournament demons. They have now stumbled in their last three appearances in the NCAA, also losing to No. 13 seed Murray State on a last-second shot last season and falling to Siena, another 13th seed, in 2008. Richmond next plays Morehead State.
Temple 66 Penn State 64
TUCSON, AZ – Juan Fernandez sank an off-balance 18-footer with under a second to play Thursday to give Temple a wild 66-64 victory over Penn State and end coach Fran Dunphy’s NCAA tournament record 11-game losing streak.
Fernandez, double-teamed as time was running out, got off a shot off his right foot while fading to his left just inside the 3-point line.
Neither team had led by more than four points and there were 10 lead changes in an intense second half. Talor Battle’s 3-pointer from far behind the arc for Penn State tied it at 64-64 with 12.2 seconds to go.
Fernandez and Ramone Moore scored 23 points each for the seventh-seeded Owls (26-7). Battle scored 23 for the 10th-seeded Nittany Lions (19-15) in their first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade.
San Diego State 68, Northern Colorado 50
TUCSON, AZ – Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and second-seeded San Diego State survived Devon Beitzel’s scoring burst to win its first NCAA tournament game, 68-50 over Northern Colorado on Thursday.
The Aztecs (33-2) had their hands full with the Bears of the Big Sky early, looking like that NCAA winless streak would hit seven games. San Diego State pulled away behind its defense in the second half, holding Northern Colorado (21-11) scoreless for nearly 7 minutes to avoid the upset.
Billy White had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Aztecs, who will face Temple in the West regional Saturday.
Beitzel scored eight of his 25 points during a flurry to start the second half, but it wasn’t enough to keep the 15th-seeded Bears from going one-and-done in their first NCAA tournament.
Connecticut 81, Bucknell 52
WASHINGTON, DC – Kemba Walker had 18 points, a career-high 12 assists and eight rebounds, and No. 3 seed Connecticut cruised past Bucknell 81-52 Thursday night to earn coach Jim Calhoun his 850th career victory.
Roscoe Smith scored 17 for the Huskies (27-9), who showed no signs of fatigue after winning five games in five days last week to capture the Big East tournament. Connecticut led by 17 at halftime and upped the margin to 32 with just over 15 minutes left.
Walker’s 12 assists were a school record for an NCAA tournament game. The Huskies will next face Cincinnati.
Mike Muscala scored 14 points for 14th-seeded Bucknell (25-9). The Patriot League champions came in with a 10-game winning streak and on a 19-1 roll, but proved no match for Connecticut’s quickness, size and athleticism.
Cincinnati 78, Missouri 63
WASHINGTON, DC – Yancy Gates had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Cincinnati made a successful return to the NCAA tournament with a 78-63 win over Missouri.
The sixth-seeded Bearcats used their stalwart defense to hold the run-all-the-time Tigers to 29 percent shooting in the first half and 38 percent for the game. Missouri went some 11 minutes without scoring a field goal to fall behind by 15 early in the second half and finished well below their average of 81.4 points per game.
Cincinnati (26-8) will face Connecticut on Saturday in a rare early round matchup of Big East teams, necessitated by the conference’s record 11 bids to this year’s tournament.
The Bearcats last played in the NCAAs in 2005 – before coach Bob Huggins’ messy departure. Ricardo Ratliffe scored 13 points for the Tigers (23-11).