GENERAL NEWS

Xavier, Cincy, UNC and Michigan State upset in NCAA Tournament

Mar 18, 2018, 4:47 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm
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Xavier is the second No. 1 seed to bow out of the NCAA Tournament.

Florida State beat the Musketeers 75-70 to move on to the Sweet 16, where the Seminoles will face Gonzaga.

The Seminoles ended the game with an 18-4 run. They took their first lead of the night at 71-70 with about 1:08 left on PJ Savoy’s transition 3.

Xavier’s Kerem Kanter shot an airball from 3-point range after getting an open look with 7 seconds left with his team trailing by three. Florida State closed things out by making their foul shots.

Nevada rallies from 22 down to drop Cincy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nevada’s Jordan Caroline sat in the Wolf Pack’s locker room and shouted the three words that were being repeated in households across the country.

“What just happened?!?”

Only a comeback that matched the second-largest in NCAA Tournament history.

Nevada rallied from 22 points down in the final 11 minutes Sunday to stun No. 2 seed Cincinnati 75-73 and earn its second Sweet 16 appearance ever. Josh Hall converted an offensive rebound with 9.1 seconds left to make the tiebreaking basket and give Nevada its only lead of the night.

“It’s such an unimaginable feeling,” Caroline said.

The seventh-seeded Wolf Pack (28-7) move on to an all-upstart South Region semifinal matchup with 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago (30-5) on Thursday night in Atlanta. Nevada’s only previous regional semifinal appearance came in 2004.

Nevada earned its trip to Atlanta because Cody Martin led a comeback for the ages.

The only bigger comeback in NCAA history came in 2012, when BYU beat Iona after trailing by 25 points. Nevada’s rally is tied for second place with Duke, which erased a 22-point deficit to beat Maryland in the 2001 Final Four.

“That locker room right now, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “It’s the happiest I’ve ever seen. It’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

While Nevada celebrated, Cincinnati’s players stood silently in their locker room wondering how their defense that ranked second among all Division I teams allowed 32 points in the last 11 minutes. The Bearcats also failed to make a single basket in the final 5 minutes, 45 seconds.

Cincinnati forward Gary Clark, the American Athletic Conference player of the year, calmly answered questions for several minutes and blamed himself for not beating Hall to the rebound that decided the game.

“I’ve probably got a million text messages saying you had a great year and career, but it comes down to that last rebound,” said Clark, who had 11 points and 10 boards. “It could have gotten my team over the hump.”

Reigning champ UNC overpowered by Texas A&M

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — 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 86-65 Sunday in the second round of the West Region, 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.

The Aggies are moving on to the round of 16 for the second time in three seasons.

“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.

As for the second-seeded Tar Heels (26-11), any dream of making a third straight Final Four or repeating as champ was all but gone barely 90 seconds into the second half as the Aggies (22-12) went up 20.

“It’s the most inadequate feeling I’ve ever felt,” Williams said. “I feel it all the time, last game of the year, but I think I felt it more today than any other time. I’m not ashamed to say I love these kids.”

Davis and fellow 6-foot-10 forward Robert Williams helped the Aggies take a 50-36 rebounding advantage against a team that still managed to rank second nationally in rebounding margin, with Williams finishing with 13 rebounds. T.J. Starks scored 21 points to lead the offense, which shot 52 percent and made 10 of 24 3-pointers — several coming with cool composure any time UNC tried to muster a push.

Joel Berry II scored 21 points in his final game for UNC, which fell to 34-2 in NCAA games in their home state, the only other loss coming in 1979. The Tar Heels shot just 33 percent, including 6 of 31 (.194) on 3-pointers.

Syracuse rolls on with upset of No. 3 seed Michigan State

DETROIT (AP) — The last team selected for the field of 68 is going to the round of 16.

Tyus Battle had 17 points and Oshae Brissett scored 15, lifting 11th-seeded Syracuse to a 55-53 win over third-seeded Michigan State on Sunday and into the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Cassius Winston missed an opportunity to win the game for the Spartans with a shot from about 45 feet just before the buzzer. The Spartans, flummoxed by Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, didn’t make a basket in the last 5:41.

The Orange (23-13) forced the Spartans (30-5) to settle for 3-pointers all afternoon and it worked brilliantly for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim against Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo.

The Spartans took a school record 37 shots beyond the arc, making just eight of them.

“No one plays zone like we do,” Brissett said. “We’re always moving, and we challenge every shot, so teams never get easy looks against us.”

Syracuse has won three straight since being sent to Dayton for the First Four as what the selection committee chairman acknowledged was the final team to receive an at-large bid.

Miles Bridges missed a 3 with a chance to tie with 11 seconds left and teammate Joshua Langford missed a putback, but Syracuse turned the ball over with 7.9 seconds left.

The Orange fouled intentionally to avoid giving up a game-tying 3 twice in the closing seconds and the Spartans made two pairs of free throws to pull within a point both times.

“We’re always going to foul in those situations and it’s always worked for us,” Boeheim said. “I’ve seen too many guys when the guy makes a 3 and it goes into overtime.”

Paschal Chukwu connected on one free throw with 2.4 seconds left and the miss gave Michigan State a chance to win in dramatic fashion, but Winston couldn’t make a long shot to be hailed in his hometown.

Other scores

No. 2 Purdue 76, No. 10 Butler 73

No. 5 Clemson, 84, No. 4 Auburn 53

No. 9 Kansas State 50, No. 16 UMBC 43

No. 5 West Virginia 94, No. 13 Marshall 71

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