Middle Tennessee State 81, Minnesota 72
Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points, Giddy Potts added 15 and Middle Tennessee took down another Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, beating Minnesota. Twelfth-seeded Middle Tennessee proved it was no one-year wonder after upsetting Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last March. The Blue Raiders (31-4) instead played like seasoned NCAA veterans with the way they held off the Gophers’ comeback attempt from a 17-point deficit in front of a loud and large contingent of Minnesota fans. Upshaw responded with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer and a reverse layup during a 7-3 run to help give Middle Tennessee a 10-point lead with 3:40 left. Coach Kermit Davis’ club will move on to face No. 4 seed Butler in the second round on Saturday. A season of redemption came to an end for fifth-seeded Minnesota (24-10), which bounced back from an eight-win season in 2015-16 to return to the NCAAs.
Virginia 76, UNC Wilmington 71
London Perrantes scored 24 points, Marial Shayok added a career-high 23 off the bench and No. 5 seed Virginia rallied from 15 points down to beat 13th-seeded UNC Wilmington. Perrantes scored 19 points in the second half as the Cavaliers (23-10) got their slow-paced offense going. His biggest bucket was a driving bank shot with 1:37 remaining, which put the Cavs up 71-66. UNCW (29-6) wouldn’t go away, though. Chris Flemmings drained a 3-pointer from the elbow and then Devontae Cacok hit a layup to make it 73-71 with less than a minute to play. But Shayok answered on the other end, banking in a runner that gave the Cavs some breathing room in the closing seconds. Virginia advanced past the first round for the fourth consecutive year and won as a No. 5 seed for the first time in four tries. The Cavs can thank Perrantes and Shayok for making it happen.
Florida 80, East Tennessee State 65
Devin Robinson tied his career-high with 24 points, Kasey Hill added 14 and No. 4 seed Florida used a second-half surge to beat 13th-seeded East Tennessee State. Robinson, an NBA prospect who had been relatively quiet late in the season, scored his most points in nearly two months. He made 10 of 17 shots and chipped in seven rebounds. The speedy Hill reached double figures for the fourth consecutive game. He also added six rebounds and five assists for his most complete game in a month. Kevarrius Hayes, filling in for injured center John Egbunu, finished with seven points, seven rebounds and six steals. He broke the school record for steals in an NCAA Tournament game.
Xavier 76, Maryland 65
Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and Sean O’Mara had 18 to help No. 11 seed Xavier upset sixth-seeded Maryland. The Musketeers move on in the West region, marking the third straight year they have advanced to the second round. Maryland, which has started three freshmen for much the season, lost in the first round for the first time since 1997. After a slow start, Bluiett came through with 18 second-half points to help the Musketeers rally from an early 6-point deficit. Freshman Kevin Huerter led the Terps with 19 points while star guard Melo Trimble had 13 points, but made only one-third of his shots.
West Virginia 86, Bucknell 80
Nathan Adrian had 12 points and 10 rebounds, leading West Virginia to a win over Bucknell. Tarik Phillip scored 16 points for the West Region’s fourth-seeded Mountaineers, who struggled at times with the outside-shooting Bison. West Virginia (27-9) avoided a repeat of last year’s first-round meltdown when the third-seeded Mountaineers lost to Stephen F. Austin. This win sets up a meeting against the region’s fifth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who hung on for a 60-58 win over Princeton earlier on Thursday. Kimbal Mackenzie made 5 of 7 3-point attempts and led the Patriot League-champion Bison with 23 points. Bucknell (26-9) entered the tournament having won six straight and 14 of 16.
Villanova 76, Mount St. Mary’s 56
Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points and NCAA Tournament top seed Villanova shook off a slow start and stumbled forward in the East region with a victory over No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s. The Wildcats (32-3) weren’t themselves for much of the first half before they opened the second half with a 21-6 run to take the first step toward defending their championship. Villanova is trying to be the first back-to-back titlist since Florida in 2007. Since the NCAA went to seeding in 1985, No. 1 seeds are 130-0 against No. 16s. The historic upset remains elusive, but for a while it looked like it could happen inside KeyBank Center. The Mountaineers (20-16), who edged New Orleans in a First Four matchup on Tuesday, gave the defending champions all they could handle for 20 minutes. Freshman Miles Wilson scored 22 to lead Mount St. Mary’s.
Butler 76, Winthrop 64
Avery Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers in his NCAA Tournament debut to lead Butler to a win over Winthrop. Woodson, a graduate transfer from Memphis, hit five 3s in the first half to help the fourth-seeded Bulldogs build a 14-point halftime lead. A 12-2 run in the middle of the second half gave Butler a 60-43 lead with less than 8 minutes left and put the game out of reach for the 13th-seeded Eagles. Xavier Cooks had 23 points to lead Big South champion Winthrop (26-7). Butler (24-8) looked comfortable all afternoon at the Bradley Center, the home of Big East rival Marquette.
Purdue 80, Vermont 70
Vincent Edwards scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and Purdue held off Vermont for its first victory in the NCAA Tournament in five years. Caleb Swanigan added 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers (26-7), who were upset by Arkansas-Little Rock in double-overtime in the first round of last year’s tournament. Dakota Mathias made three of Purdue’s nine 3-pointers and finished with 13 points. It was Vermont’s first loss this calendar year. The Catamounts (29-6), the regular-season and tournament champions in the America East, had the nation’s longest active win streak at 21 games. But they were unable to make up for a huge disadvantage inside against the bigger, stronger Boilermakers.
Gonzaga 66, South Dakota State 46
SALT LAKE CITY
Jordan Mathews scored 16 points to help Gonzaga slowly pull away from South Dakota State for a victory and avoid the first 1 vs. 16 upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament. It looked possible for a while. The Jackrabbits (18-17), champions of the Summit League, led for the first 17 minutes of Thursday’s game in the West region and stayed in range for most of the game. They did it without a breakout game from Mike Daum. The nation’s second-leading scorer finished 7 for 16 from the floor with 17 points — more than eight below his average. Daum did a nice job on Gonzaga’s 7-foot-1 center, Przemek Karnowski, holding him to four points over the first 32 minutes. But Karnowski , who finished with 10 points, scored three straight buckets for the Bulldogs (33-1) to help them expand the lead to 20 with 5 minutes left, and it was over.
Saint Mary’s 85, VCU 77
SALT LAKE CITY
Jock Landale had 18 points and 13 rebounds as seventh-seeded Saint Mary’s held on for a victory over No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth. The Gaels led most of the way, but had to fight to hold on after the VCU defensive pressure started to become too much in the second half. Joe Rahon and Calvin Hermanson finished with 16 points apiece for Saint Mary’s. JeQuan Lewis paced VCU with 30 points.
Wisconsin 84, Virginia Tech 74
Bronson Koenig made a school-record eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points and Nigel Hayes added 16 as NCAA Tournament-tested Wisconsin advanced in the East Region with a victory over Virginia Tech. The eighth-seeded Badgers (26-9) made all the big plays in the closing minutes to set up a meeting with top-seeded Villanova on Saturday. No team understands the survive-and-advance mentality in this tourney better than Wisconsin, the only team in the country to make the Sweet 16 last three years. And the Badgers counted on Koenig and Hayes, two of their four senior starters, to get them within one win of another trip to the third round. Zach Leday scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half to pace the Hokies (22-11), making their first NCAA visit since 2007.
Iowa State 84, Nevada 73
Monte Morris had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Iowa State outlasted Nevada to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Deonte Burton added 14 points and eight rebounds as the fifth-seeded Cyclones won for the 10th time in their last 11 games, building off their impressive run through the Big 12 Tournament. Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas had 13 points apiece. Iowa State (24-10) will try for its third Sweet 16 appearance in four years when it takes on No. 4 seed Purdue on Saturday. Cameron Oliver scored 22 points for Nevada (28-7), which had won nine straight by an average of 15 points.