NCAA TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP: Florida Gulf Coast makes history
Florida Gulf Coast went from shocking the college basketball world to downright impressing it. And the Eagles were smiling the whole time.
Playing loose and easy, FCGU beat San Diego State 81-71 to become the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in the South Regional at Philadelphia.
The next opponent for the upstart school will be the state’s flagship university, third-seeded Florida, on Friday night in the regional semifinal in Dallas.
Bernard Thompson had 23 points and Sherwood Brown added 17 for FGCU, the 16-year-old school in just its second season being eligible for postseason play.
In its first NCAA tournament game Friday, the Atlantic Sun champion busted brackets everywhere with an upset win over No. 2 Georgetown, a game the Eagles took control of with a 21-2 run in the second half.
It went much the same way against San Diego State (23-11).
Jamal Franklin had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Aztecs.
FLORIDA 78, MINNESOTA 64: Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the NCAA tournament round of 16 for third consecutive year in South Regional at Austin, Texas.
The No. 3 seed Gators (28-7) shot 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 by halftime. The win earns Florida a return trip to the Lone Star State to play its next game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the No. 11-seed Gophers (21-13). Hollins’ 3-point shooting sparked a second-half rally that pulled Minnesota within seven points, but Rosario’s sixth 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pushed the Gators’ lead back to 16.
KANSAS 70, NORTH CAROLINA 58: Kansas got the best of ’ol Roy and his Tar Heels once again.
Behind the impassioned play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, the top-seeded Jayhawks shook themselves out of a first-half slumber and blitzed No. 8 seed North Carolina down the stretch in the South Regional at Kansas City.
Withey had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Releford finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks (31-5), who also knocked former coach Roy Williams’ team out of the NCAA tournament during their 2008 title run and again last season, when Kansas marched to the Final Four.
The Jayhawks play Michigan in Arlington on Friday.
P.J. Hairston scored 15 points and James Michael McAdoo had 11 for the Tar Heels (25-11).
OHIO STATE 78, IOWA STATE 75: Aaron Craft made a last-second, tie-breaking 3 and Ohio State remained the lone high seed left in the NCAA tournament’s most-busted bracket in the West Regional at Dayton, Ohio.
Ohio State (28-7) needed Craft’s only 3-pointer of the game — an arching shot over 6-foot-7 defender Georges Niang from the top of the key — to avoid yet another upset in the wild West Regional. Four of the top five seeds fell fast and hard in the first weekend.
Craft left the Buckeyes in position to fritter away a late lead with some missed free throws, then saved them in the final second.
Craft also drew a charge on Iowa State’s Will Clyburn near the basket with 1:41 on a play that could have put the Cyclones up by three. It was a close call. Replays showed Craft’s right heel was at the semicircle restricting the area where players can take a charge.
Ohio State’s 10th straight win sent the Buckeyes into the round of 16 for the fourth straight year, a school record. They’ll play sixth-seeded Arizona on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Tenth-seeded Iowa State (23-12) overcame a late 13-point deficit by hitting 3s — the Cyclones’ specialty.
Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 22 points, and Craft had 18. LaQuinton Ross scored 10 straight for the Buckeyes as they built that second-half lead.
Korie Lucious led Iowa State with 19 points.
LA SALLE 76, MISSISSIPPI 74: Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left and 13th-seeded La Salle is deeper into the NCAA tournament since it played for the championship in 1955.
Ramon Galloway had 24 points for the upstarts from the Atlantic 10. The Explorers (24-9) played their third game in five days but showed no sign of fatigue in the West Regional at Kansas City.
In the round of 16 in Los Angeles on Friday, the Explorers will meet ninth-seeded Wichita State.
No. 12 Ole Miss (27-9) led 74-72 with 1:58 left. After Tyreek Duren’s two foul shots tied it 74-all at the 1:07 mark, Mississippi star and team lightning rod Marshall Henderson missed an off-balance bank shot that would have given the Rebels the lead. Henderson had 21 points in a game with 11 lead changes.
INDIANA 58, TEMPLE 52: On the verge of being the second No. 1 knocked from the NCAA tournament, Indiana finally stopped Temple’s No. 1 in the East Regional at Dayton, Ohio.
Victor Oladipo hit a key 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, their season moments from ending in disappointment, shut down Owls star Khalif Wyatt in the final three minutes to hold on.
The Hoosiers (29-6) trailed by four with 2:56 left, but closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year.
Indiana will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.
Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10).
Oladipo, who spent the afternoon doing all he could to slow down Wyatt, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers.
MIAMI 63, ILLINOIS 59: Shane Larkin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left and Miami gained possession on a ball knocked out of bounds that probably should have gone to Illinois, helping the Hurricanes advance to the round of 16 for the second time in school history in the East Regional at Austin, Texas.
After Larkin’s first field goal in about 9ﾽ minutes, D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer. In the fight for the rebound, the ball appeared to ricochet off the hands of Miami’s Kenny Kadji out of bounds. But the Hurricanes kept the ball, and Durand Scott made two free throws after that.
The Hurricanes (29-6) play Marquette in Washington on Thursday night.
Larkin, the only non-senior starter for Miami and the ACC player of the year, finished with 17 points. Rion Brown had 21 with five 3s.
Brandon Paul had 18 points for Illinois (23-13).
DUKE 66, CREIGHTON 50: Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry scored had 17 and No. 2 seed Duke held off seventh-seeded Creighton to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years in the Midwest Regional at Philadelphia.
A year after they lost their NCAA tournament opener, the Blue Devils (29-5) are back in the regional semifinal for the 23rd time. They’ll play No. 3 seed Michigan State (27-8) Friday in Indianapolis.
Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly battled foul trouble that could have doomeed the Blue Devils. Creighton (28-8) went cold and never made a serious run in the second half. Doug McDermott scored 21 points but made only four baskets.
With McDermott slumping, the Bluejays were knocked out in the third round by an ACC team for the second straight season.