NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT BASKETBALL ROUNDUP |Sunday’s other games
Texas A&M 86, North Carolina 65
Texas A&M had its big men relentlessly snatching down loose rebounds, its wing players knocking down shots and an entire roster full of guys playing with aggressive confidence. Stunningly, reigning national champion North Carolina found no match for any of it. And just as shockingly, the Tar Heels are heading home with the most-lopsided NCAA Tournament loss of Roy Williams’ Hall of Fame career.The seventh-seeded Aggies manhandled the Tar Heels, marking the second straight year the titleholder has been bounced from March Madness before the Sweet 16. They dominated the glass. They used their size to control the paint and block shots. And they pounced when UNC’s small-ball lineup couldn’t make an outside shot.“We had a certain togetherness today,” said the 6-foot-10 Tyler Davis, who had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Aggies. “We didn’t have the fastest start, but we were together the whole time.” It was a big upset based on the seeding, North Carolina’s tournament tradition and the fact the Tar Heels have long been practically unbeatable in NCAA games played in their home state. Yet Texas A&M — a team that peaked at No. 5 in the AP Top 25 in December before going on a wild ride due to midseason injuries and suspensions — sure made it all look, well, routine.
Florida State 75, Xavier 70 NASHVILLE, TENN.
The Florida State Seminoles are on their way to the NCAA Tournament’s round of 16 for the first time since 2011 after upsetting top-seeded Xavier with a furious comeback. PJ Savoy made a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to give Florida State its first lead of the second half, and the Seminoles rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat the Musketeers. The Seminoles made Xavier the second No. 1 seed ousted in tournament’s first weekend, sending the Musketeers out along with Virginia. Now Florida State (22-11) will play fourth-seeded Gonzaga on Thursday night in Los Angeles. Savoy also hit a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds left putting Florida State up 73-70. Kerem Kanter shot an air ball from beyond the arc at the top of the key with 7 seconds to go for Xavier, and CJ Walker added a pair of free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining. Terance Mann picked off a long pass by Paul Scruggs off Xavier’s inbound pass before running in front of Seminoles’ fans to start the party.This was sweet payback for Florida State after then-No. 11 seed Xavier routed the Seminoles 91-66 a year ago in the very same round in the same region. Xavier coach Chris Mack had four starters back from that team that wound up losing to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight, and Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton lost his top three scorers — two to the NBA Draft. The Musketeers didn’t get the chance to run away this time around after they took a 12-point lead. They led 56-44 with 10:42 left, and a free throw by Trevon Bluiett gave them a 66-57 edge. But Xavier didn’t score a field goal after Kanter’s jumper with 3:56 left for a 68-66 lead.
Nevada 75, Cincinnati 73
Josh Hall converted an offensive rebound for the tiebreaking basket with 9.1 seconds left as Nevada erased a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes. Nevada’s stirring comeback — the second-largest in tournament history — came just two days after the seventh-seeded Wolf Pack rallied from 14 points down to beat Texas 87-83 for its first NCAA victory since 2007. The Wolf Pack (28-7) move on to an all-upstart South Region semifinal matchup with 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago (30-5) on Thursday night. Cincinnati, the No. 2 seed, never trailed until Hall’s tiebreaking basket but watched its lead disintegrate as it failed to make a basket in the final 5:45. With the game tied in the closing seconds, Hall got a rebound off a missed shot by Cody Martin. Hall made a move in the paint and then hit the winning basket. Cincinnati (31-5) never got off a shot before the buzzer. Cane Broome briefly lost control of the ball and then passed to the area of Gary Clark as the final seconds ticked away
Kansas State 50, UMBC 43
The ultimate underdog story is over, but this NCAA Tournament will always be remembered for the sweetest No. 16 in college basketball history.
UMBC’s brief, but historic run ended with a loss to ninth seeded Kansas State. UMBC became the first 16 seed to beat a No. 1, destroying top-ranked Virginia 74-54 on Friday night. After pulling off an all-time sports stunner, the Retrievers ran out of magic against the Wildcats. “I’m proud of my guys, man,” UMBC senior guard Jourdan Grant. “We made history. Can’t be mad at that. I wouldn’t want to go out with another set of guys, man. I love these guys to the moon and back. This season, we’ll remember it for the rest of our lives.” As UMBC coach Ryan Odom emptied his bench with 9.4 seconds left, the crowd gave the Retrievers a standing ovation. The players hugged at midcourt. After the game ended, players walked over to the side of the court and gave their fans an appreciative wave. The dream had ended, but some players managed smiles as they left the court.
“[UMBC] played their hearts out,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “UMBC, you’ve got to give Coach [Ryan] Odom credit. What they did to Virginia was unbelievable.”
Clemson 84, Auburn 53
Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson, which closed the first half with a 25-4 run that helped it beat cold-shooting Auburn to advance to the Midwest Region semifinal. In a matchup between Southern schools better known for football, the No. 5 seed Clemson Tigers proved far more adept on the hardwood than the No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers. The blowout win put Clemson (25-9) into the Sweet 16 for the fourth time overall and the first since 1997, earning it a spot against Kansas in the regional semifinal. Auburn, which played this season under the cloud of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball, finished 26-8.
Purdue 76, Butler 73
Dakota Mathias sank a 3-pointer with 14.2 seconds left and second-seeded Purdue, minus star center Isaac Haas, held off 10th-seeded Butler reach the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year.
The Boilermakers (30-6) led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but Butler (21-14) cut the deficit to two and had the ball in the final minute. Kelan Martin missed a 3-pointer, and the shot by Mathias at the other end made it 76-71. Martin scored with 2.1 seconds remaining, and P.J. Thompson missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Butler another chance. The Bulldogs called a timeout with 1.8 seconds left, and Kamar Baldwin’s shot from near midcourt hit the rim — although it may have been waved off on a review even if it had gone in.
Vincent Edwards scored 20 points despite early foul trouble for Purdue, and Matt Haarms filled in capably for the injured Haas. The Boilermakers set a school record for victories in a season and are in the regional semifinals for the fourth time under coach Matt Painter. Purdue faces third-seeded Texas Tech on Friday in Boston.