Northern Iowa takes down top-seeded Kansas
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – In an NCAA tournament full of upsets, Northern Iowa pulled off the biggest one: The Panthers took down mighty Kansas.
Playing with poise down the stretch and getting another big 3-pointer from Ali Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa knocked No. 1 overall seed Kansas from the bracket with a program-defining 69-67 win Saturday.
Northern Iowa (30-4) won the tempo tug-of-war, grounding the high-flying Jayhawks with in-their-jersey defense, then withstood a furious rally to become the first team to beat a No. 1 seed in the second round since UAB and Alabama did it to Kentucky and Stanford in 2004.
There have been 10 double-digit seeds to pull upsets this year – eight in the first round. But the ninth-seeded Panthers delivered the shocker of them all.
Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa’s first-round hero, buried an open 3-pointer with the shot clock still in the 30s to give the Panthers a four-point lead with 35 seconds left.
The gutsy shot capped a dominating start-to-finish win that sent the Panthers to the round of 16 for the first time. UNI will face Sunday’s Michigan State-Maryland winner in the Midwest Regional semifinals in St. Louis.
Kansas (33-3) fell behind early and never caught up, bowing out of the tournament with another disappointing loss to a mid-major. Cole Aldrich had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Marcus Morris added 16 points.
No. 6 Tennessee 83, No. 14 Ohio 68
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – J.P. Prince scored 18 points, and Brian Williams and Wayne Chism had 12 rebounds apiece to lead sixth-seeded Tennessee over No. 14 Ohio.
It’s the third time in four years Bruce Pearl’s Volunteers have reached the NCAA’s second weekend. Tennessee (27-8) will play the winner of Sunday’s Ohio State-Georgia Tech game in the round of 16.
Tommy Freeman scored 23 points for Ohio, which was the lowest seed to get out of the first round. But he got little help from Armon Bassett and freshman D.J. Cooper, the guards who starred in the first-round victory over third-seeded Georgetown. They combined for 23 points on 7-of-23 shooting against Tennessee.
The Bobcats (22-15) trailed by six midway through the second half before the Vols went on a 10-1 run to put it away.
No. 10 Saint Mary’s 75, No. 2 Villanova 68
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Omar Samhan was an unstoppable Gael force, and Saint Mary’s earned a surprising spot in the NCAA tournament’s round of 16.
Samhan played the game of his career on college basketball’s biggest stage, finishing with 32 points and seven rebounds to lead 10th-seeded Saint Mary’s past No. 2 Villanova and on to Houston for the South Regional semifinals.
Mickey McConnell stopped and fired an arcing 25-footer that banked high off the glass to give the Gaels (28-5) a 68-65 lead with 1:15 left.
Samhan used a two-handed block to turn back Reggie Redding, and McConnell made both ends of a 1-and-1 to make it 70-65.
Star guard Scottie Reynolds struggled again, and the Wildcats (25-8) made an early exit a year after they played in the Final Four. They started 20-1 and collapsed at the end.
No. 3 Baylor 76, No. 11 Old Dominion 68
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – With its first NCAA tournament victory in 60 years out of the way, Baylor has now earned an extended stay.
LaceDarius Dunn scored 26 points and the third-seeded Bears outlasted No. 11 Old Dominion in the second round of the South Regional.
Baylor squandered a 14-point first-half lead but went on a late 8-1 run to pull away. Now, the Bears (27-7) head back to their home state to play Saint Mary’s in Houston in the round of 16.
Baylor struggled to beat Sam Houston State in the first round for its first NCAA tournament win since 1950, but the Bears arrived loose and confident against Old Dominion, taking a double-digit lead amid a barrage of early 3-pointers and alley-oops.
After the Monarchs (27-9) rallied to take the lead in the second half, Baylor received a big lift from 7-footer Josh Lomers, who tied a career high with 14 points, 12 in the second half.
No. 5 Butler 54, No. 13 Murray State 52
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Murray State got awfully close to a second straight bracket-busting upset before Butler reminded the Racers which small school almost always plays big in March.
Ronald Nored’s three-point play snapped a tie with 25.4 seconds left, and Butler narrowly evaded a second stunner by the 13th-seeded Racers in three days.
Nored scored 15 points and Gordon Hayward had 12 before making the decisive defensive play for the fifth-seeded Bulldogs (30-4), who extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 22 games and advanced to the regional semifinals.
Butler reached to the round of 16 for the second time in four years – but only after surviving a thriller against the undersized but big-hearted Racers (31-5), who beat fourth-seeded Vanderbilt in the first round on a buzzer-beater.
In next week’s West Regional semifinals in Salt Lake City, Butler will face the winner of top-seeded Syracuse’s meeting with Gonzaga on Sunday.
No. 2 Kansas State 84, No. 7 BYU 72
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Jacob Pullen scored 20 of his career-high 34 points in the first half to help dig No. 2 seed Kansas State out of an early 10-point hole, and the Wildcats turned away Jimmer Fredette and BYU in the second round.
Pullen came alive with a scoring flurry shortly after he and Fredette got tangled up in transition in the first half, and K-State (28-7) didn’t trail again in earning its first appearance in the round of 16 since 1988.
Pullen surpassed 30 points for the third time in his career and helped seal the victory with a 3-pointer and six free throws down the stretch. Equally as important as his scoring was his physical defense against Fredette, who had scored 37 points to get the seventh-seeded Cougars (30-6) past Florida in double overtime in the first round.
Fredette finished with 21 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
Next up, the Wildcats face the winner of Sunday’s game between third-seeded Pittsburgh and No. 6 Xavier.
No. 1 Kentucky 90, No. 9 Wake Forest 60
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Darius Miller scored a career-high 20 points and top-seeded Kentucky made easy work of No. 9 Wake Forest in the second round.
It was the second consecutive blowout for the Wildcats (34-2), who crushed East Tennessee State 100-71 in their opener.
Miller scored 16 points in the first half to help Kentucky build an early double-digit lead that ballooned beyond 30 in the second half. DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points, John Wall had 14 and Eric Bledsoe 13.
Al-Farouq Aminu led Wake Forest (20-11) with 16 points.
Kentucky moves on to play the winner of Sunday’s game between 12th-seeded Cornell and No. 4 Wisconsin in the East Regional semifinals next week at Syracuse, N.Y.
No. 11 Washington 82, No. 3 New Mexico 64
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Quincy Pondexter scored 18 points, Isaiah Thomas added 15 and 11th-seeded Washington extended its incredible late-season surge all the way to the regional semifinals with a second-round victory over New Mexico.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies (26-9), who have won nine straight, including the Pac-10 tournament and wins over two higher-seeded opponents in the East Regional at the Shark Tank.
Washington ran right past the third-seeded Lobos (30-5), who couldn’t keep up with the breakneck pace and fell behind by 23 midway through the second half.
The Huskies advanced to face the winner of Sunday’s West Virginia-Missouri game. Washington is in the round of 16 for the third time since 2005.
Dairese Gary matched his career high with 25 points for New Mexico, which had a 15-game winning streak and a No. 8 national ranking before losing the Mountain West tournament final last weekend.