Originally Published: March 20, 2017 12:13 a.m.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lonzo Ball scored 19 points and ignited UCLA’s rally from a poor start with nine assists, lifting the third-seeded Bruins to a 79-67 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday in the South Regional.
UCLA (31-4) had a hard time solving sixth-seeded Cincinnati’s active defense in the first half, unable to get shots to drop or get out in transition. The Bruins found a new gear in the second half, breaking out for dunks and dropping in strings of 3-pointers to quickly push the lead to double digits.
Now UCLA is headed to its third Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons under coach Steve Alford, erasing — at least in part — the 15-17 letdown of a year ago.
The Bruins will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Regional semifinals Friday in Memphis.
Cincinnati (30-6) had no real answer when the Bruins got rolling falling short of their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2012.
OREGON 75, R. ISLAND 72
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tyler Dorsey hit a contested go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 seconds to play, E.C. Matthews airballed a long 3 in the waning moments trying to force overtime, and third-seeded Oregon rallied in the second half to beat upstart No. 11 Rhode Island 75-72 on Sunday and reach the Midwest Regional.
Dorsey also tied the game with a 3 with 1:45 remaining on the way to 27 points before teammate Dillon Brooks took a charge on the other end for Oregon (31-5).
With Oregon’s season on the brink of an early NCAA Tournament exit, Brooks found his shooting stroke as he typically does and scored 19 points despite a 7-for-20 shooting day. Dorsey made 9 of 10 shots with four 3-pointers.
Rhode Island nearly scrapped and hustled its way into the next round, with Stanford Robinson matching his career high of 21 points as the Rams (25-10) had their nine-game winning streak snapped to end the season.
BAYLOR 82, SO. CAL 78
TULSA, Okla. — Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 seed Baylor defeated No. 11 seed Southern California 82-78 on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Terry Maston scored 19 points, King McClure added 17 and Manu Lecomte scored all 12 of his points in the final 5 minutes for the Bears (27-7), who advanced to play Duke or South Carolina in the Sweet 16.
Chimezie Metu scored 28 points and Bennie Boatwright added 16 for USC (26-10), which was trying to make its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2007. The Trojans had rallied from second-half deficits to win their first two NCAA Tournament games.
A four-point play by Lecomte put the Bears up 69-67. Lecomte, who hadn’t scored the entire game, scored eight points in 45 seconds to put the Bears up 73-67, and Baylor led the rest of the way.
MICHIGAN 73, LOUISVILLE 69
INDIANAPOLIS — Moe Wagner scored a career-high 26 points and spurred a furious second-half rally to send Michigan past second-seeded Louisville 73-69 on Sunday and into the Sweet 16.
The seventh-seeded Wolverines (26-11) have won seven straight — six since a frightening plane accident before the Big Ten Tournament. They also earned a ticket to the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Missouri, their first since 2014.
Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Deng Adel had 16 points to lead Louisville (25-9), which had made the Sweet 16 in its last four NCAA Tournament appearances.
But Wagner bailed out the Wolverines from a poor game.
Trailing 45-36 with 16:09 to play, the German native scored on a layup to start a 17-6 run that gave Michigan its first lead since the opening minutes. And after Wagner’s 3-pointer broke a 55-55 tie with 6:39 to go, the Wolverines led the rest of the way.
KANSAS 90, MICH. ST. 70
TULSA, Okla. — Josh Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half to help Kansas pull away late and reach the Sweet 16 for a second straight year with a 90-70 victory over Michigan State on Sunday.
Frank Mason III added 20 points for the top-seeded Jayhawks (30-4), who have advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in nine of coach Bill Self’s 14 seasons.
Devonte’ Graham added 18 points and Landen Lucas had 10 for the Jayhawks, who shot 53.1 percent (34 of 64) in the win.
Miles Bridges scored 22 points to lead Michigan State (20-15) despite leaving briefly in the first half with an injury. Nick Ward also finished in double figures with 13 points and Joshua Langford had 10 for the Spartans.
N.CAROLINA 72, ARK. 65
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Kennedy Meeks had 16 points and a huge tip-in with 44.2 seconds left to help North Carolina barely avoid a huge upset by rallying to beat Arkansas 72-65 in Sunday’s second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Justin Jackson added 15 points for the Tar Heels (29-7), including the dunk that capped a game-closing 12-0 run by the South Region’s No. 1 seed to help it survive a wild game.
North Carolina led by 17 points after a dominating start, blew that lead and trailed 65-60 with about 3 1/2 minutes left then came up with a response befitting its veteran experience.
Isaiah Hicks came up big late, too, with a dunk and four free throws in the final 2 minutes to help UNC survive.
Daryl Macon scored 19 points to lead the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-10), who did everything right in the second half except close out the Tar Heels.
KENTUCKY 65, WICH. ST. 62
INDIANAPOLIS — Bam Adebayo had a double-double and swatted away the final shot on Sunday as Kentucky sent Wichita State to yet another second-round heartbreak, 65-62 in the South region.
The youngest team in the NCAA Tournament grew up in the closing minutes.
Adebayo had 13 points and 10 rebounds. De’Aaron Fox had 14 points, including a late steal and dunk. Malik Monk blocked a shot and made a pair of free throws in the final 13 seconds. Adebayo clinched it by blocking Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer shot at the buzzer.
Yes, Kentucky’s freshman trio did it all.
Wham, Bam, move on ‘Cats (31-5), right into the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in nine years.
And wipe tears away again, Shockers (31-5).