NCAA Roundup: Auburn blows past Kansas to reach Sweet 16
SALT LAKE CITY — Bruce Pearl's Auburn rebuilding project took a massive leap.
The Tigers are headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 16 years.
Bryce Brown scored 25 points and hit seven 3-pointers, leading Auburn to an 89-75 takedown of mighty Kanas Saturday night in the Midwest Region.
The Tigers (28-9) were a surprise last season, earning a share of their first SEC title since 1999 and winning an NCAA Tournament game.
Auburn took another major step Saturday, running past a blue-blood program into the school's first Sweet 16 since 2003 under Cliff Ellis.
Unlike their opener against New Mexico State, when they had to survive a couple of late-game blunders, the fifth-seeded Tigers pounced on the undermanned Jayhawks and never let them up.
Auburn had a 17-point lead before the midpoint of the first half and kept pouring in shots, hitting 13 3-pointers while shooting 53 percent against one of the college basketball's premier programs.
Next up: top-seeded North Carolina or No. 9 Washington in Kansas City.
The Jayhawks (26-10) hoped they would get the ticket to KC, where they would essentially play Sweet 16 home games as the No. 4 seed.
Bill Self's bunch got gut punched early and never climbed off the canvas, bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the second round after reaching the Final Four a year ago.
Dedric Lawson had 25 points and 10 rebounds in what could be his final game in KU red and blue.
Kansas fought through a tumultuous season and its first non-Big 12 title in 14 years by rolling over Northeastern in its NCAA Tournament opener.
MICHIGAN STATE 70, MINNESOTA 50
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Michigan State is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015 after rolling past Minnesota 70-50 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.
The Spartans (30-6) made nine of their first 10 shots on their way to building a 20-point lead in the first 14 minutes. Minnesota managed to pull within single digits briefly in the second half before Big Ten player of the year Cassius Winston took matters into his hands.
Xavier Tillman had 14 points, Winston added 13 with nine assists, and the Spartans shot 57.1 percent.
Amir Coffey had 25 points to lead the 10th-seeded Gophers (23-14), who shot a season-worst 30.5 percent and made only 2 of 22 3-pointers.
Forward Jordan Murphy, the Gophers' No. 1 all-time rebounder and No. 2 scorer, was limited to four minutes because of back problems.
PURDUE 87, VILLANOVA 61
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Purdue's Carsen Edwards says he was getting tired of answering questions about his shooting slump.
The Boilermakers' junior star had all the answers Saturday night. He scored a career-high 42 points as Purdue knocked reigning national champion Villanova out of the NCAA Tournament in an 87-61 rout.
Matt Haarms added 18 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Boilermakers (25-9), who advanced to their third straight Sweet 16. Ryan Cline added 12 points, all on 3-pointers.
Eric Paschall had 19 for Villanova (26-10), which saw its quest for a third national title in the last four seasons end during the tournament's first weekend. Fellow senior Phil Booth scored 15 points, putting him over 1,500 for his career.
Edwards has battled a sore back and coming into the tournament had hit just 32 percent from the floor in his previous 11 games.
Against Old Dominion in the first round he was not much better, scoring 26 points but on 7 for 23 from the floor and 4 for 12 from behind the arc.
He found the bottom of the net early and often against 'Nova, making 12 of his 21 shots and nine 3-pointers on 16 attempts.
"I wouldn't say I knew I had a career night until the game was over," he said. "I was just so focused on trying to get the win, especially in games like this where you value every possession."
Purdue shot 54 percent while holding Villanova to just 20 baskets on 58 shots (34 percent).
It was the worst tournament loss in Villanova's storied NCAA Tournament history and the largest blowout of a defending champion in nearly three decades, dating back to Loyola-Marymount's 149-115 dismantling of Michigan in 1990.
GONZAGA 83, BAYLOR 71
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) —Brandon Clarke had five monster dunks, five blocks, and matched a career high with 36 points, leading top-seeded Gonzaga past Baylor in the second round of the West Region.
Ninth-seeded Baylor (20-14) scored the first 10 points of the second half to draw within six and keep the game in range. But Gonzaga held on and Clarke's easy bucket put the Bulldogs up 13 with less than four minutes left.
Clarke, who hit 15 of 18 shots, also had eight rebounds and two steals and lifted his season blocks total to 110, best in the nation.
Baylor's Mark Vital finished with 17 points and eight rebounds but was hampered by foul trouble.
FLORIDA STATE 90, MURRAY STATE 62
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Mfiondu Kabengele scored 22 points, Terrance Mann added 18 and Florida State slammed Murray State to advance to the West regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State (29-7) is in the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year, the first time FSU has pulled that off since 1992-93.
Murray State point guard Ja Morant, who posted a triple-double against Marquette in the first round, dazzled for a half against FSU, going 5 for 5 from 3-point range. He finished with 28 points, but the 12th-seeded Racers (28-5) were no match for the Seminoles, who hit eight of their first 11 shots from behind the arc and led by 16 at halftime.
MICHIGAN 64, FLORIDA 49
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Jordan Poole scored 19 points and Michigan is back in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year after pulling away from Florida in the second round.
Michigan (30-6), the No. 2 seed in the West Region, has reached the Sweet 16 five times in seven years.
Zavier Simpson had nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists, while 7-foot-1 Jon Teske had eight points to go with 10 rebounds for the Wolverines.
The 10th-seeded Gators (20-16) shot just 29 percent in the second half and were held to their lowest point total of the season. Michigan outscored the Gators 13-5 to end the game.
Jalen Hudson had 11 points for the Gators, who kept it close in the first half by making 6 of 12 3-pointers.
KENTUCKY 62, WOFFORD 56
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Kentucky ended Wofford's season in the NCAA Tournament with a stifling defensive effort on Fletcher Magee in the second round.
Reid Travis scored 14 points, including two huge free throws with 17.8 seconds left, to help seal the victory for second-seeded Kentucky (29-6). The graduate student, a transfer from Stanford, also grabbed 11 rebounds to help hold off the upstart Terriers (30-5).
Two days after setting the NCAA Division I record for career 3-pointers, Magee stunningly went 0 of 12 from beyond the arc. He made seven 3s on Thursday in Wofford's victory over Seton Hall.
Nathan Hoover had 19 points and Cameron Jackson 11 for the Terriers. Magee finished with eight points on 4-of-17 shooting.
The Wildcats had a two-point lead at halftime. The Terriers briefly recaptured the lead early in the second half, but Kentucky went ahead for good with 14 1/2 minutes remaining and doggedly protected their advantage the rest of the way.
LSU 69, MARYLAND 67
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tremont Waters drove by three defenders and scooped in a banking layup with 1.6 seconds remaining to give third-seeded LSU the victory over sixth-seeded Maryland in the second round.
Skylar Mays, who scored 16 points, hit a huge 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining that put the Tigers (28-6) up 67-64.
Jalen Smith answered on the other end, sending the packed crowd into a frenzy and prompting LSU to call timeout. Interim coach Tony Benford called a final play for Waters, and he delivered a trip to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006.
Waters finished with 12 points and five assists.
Smith led Maryland with 15 points. Bruno Fernando added 10 points and 15 rebounds.