NCAA Tournament: Gophers victim of 5-12 upset
MILWAUKEE — Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points, Giddy Potts added 15 and Middle Tennessee took down another Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, beating Minnesota 81-72 on Thursday.
Twelfth-seeded Middle Tennessee proved it was no one-year wonder after upsetting Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last March.
The Blue Raiders (31-4) instead played like seasoned NCAA veterans with the way they held off the Gophers’ comeback attempt from a 17-point deficit in front of a loud and large contingent of Minnesota fans.
Upshaw responded with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer and a reverse layup during a 7-3 run to help give Middle Tennessee a 10-point lead with 3:40 left.
A season of redemption came to an end for fifth-seeded Minnesota (24-10), which bounced back from an eight-win season in 2015-16 to return to the NCAAs.
Xavier topples Terps
ORLANDO, Fla. — Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and Sean O’Mara had 18 to help No. 11 seed Xavier upset sixth-seeded Maryland, 76-65.
The Musketeers move on in the West region, marking the third straight year they have advanced to the second round. Maryland, which has started three freshmen for much the season, lost in the first round for the first time since 1997.
Irish escape Princeton
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Bonzie Colson scored 18 points and Notre Dame survived a first-round NCAA Tournament scare by pulling out a 60-58 win over Princeton.
The West Region’s 12th-seeded Tigers had a chance to pull ahead on their final possession, but Devin Cannady missed an open 3-pointer just before the final horn. Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia pulled down the rebound and was fouled.
The Fighting Irish (26-9) nearly squandered an 11-point second half lead. Guard Matt Farrell scored 16 points, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with Notre Dame up 59-58.
Mount tough for Nova
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points and NCAA Tournament top seed Villanova shook off a slow start and stumbled forward in the East region with a 76-56 victory over No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s.
The Wildcats (32-3) weren’t themselves for much of the first half before they opened the second half with a 21-6 run to take the first step toward defending their championship. Villanova is trying to be the first back-to-back titlist since Florida in 2007.
Since the NCAA went to seeding in 1985, No. 1 seeds are 130-0 against No. 16s. The historic upset remains elusive, but for a while it looked like it could happen inside KeyBank Center.
NW edges Vandy
SALT LAKE CITY — Northwestern got its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, 68-66 over Vanderbilt, after Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably grabbed Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh on purpose, sending McIntosh to the free throw line for the go-ahead points with 15 seconds left.
Riley LaChance made a layup with 18 seconds remaining in Thursday’s game to put the ninth-seeded Commodores up by one after trailing by as many as 15.
But seconds after the in-bounds pass, Fisher-Davis reached out and grabbed McIntosh while he was in the backcourt. That put eighth-seeded Northwestern in the double bonus, and McIntosh went to the line and calmly swished the free throws with 15 seconds left.
Wisconsin 84, Virginia Tech 74: Bronson Koenig made a school-record eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points and Nigel Hayes added 16 as NCAA Tournament-tested Wisconsin advanced in the East Region with an 84-74 victory over Virginia Tech.
The eighth-seeded Badgers (26-9) made all the big plays in the closing minutes to set up a meeting with top-seeded Villanova on Saturday. The Wildcats shook off a sluggish and strange first half and downed Mount St. Mary’s 76-56.
Saint Mary’s 85, VCU 77: Jock Landale had 18 points and 13 rebounds as seventh-seeded Saint Mary’s held on for an 85-77 victory over No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth. The Gaels led most of the way, but had to fight to hold on after the VCU defensive pressure started to become too much in the second half.
Purdue 80, Vermont 70: Vincent Edwards scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and Purdue held off Vermont 80-70 on Thursday night for its first victory in the NCAA Tournament in five years.
Caleb Swanigan added 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers (26-7), who were upset by Arkansas-Little Rock in double-overtime in the first round of last year’s tournament. Dakota Mathias made three of Purdue’s nine 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.
Florida 80, East Tennessee State 65: Devin Robinson tied his career-high with 24 points, Kasey Hill added 14 and No. 4 seed Florida used a second-half surge to beat 13th-seeded East Tennessee State, 80-65.
West Virginia 86, Bucknell 80: Nathan Adrian had 12 points and 10 rebounds, leading West Virginia to an 86-80 win over Bucknell.
Tarik Phillip scored 16 points for the West Region’s fourth-seeded Mountaineers, who struggled at times with the outside-shooting Bison.
Gonzaga 66, South Dakota State 46: Jordan Mathews scored 16 points to help Gonzaga slowly pull away from South Dakota State for a 66-46 victory and avoid the first 1 vs. 16 upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament.
Butler 76, Winthrop 64: Avery Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers in his NCAA Tournament debut to lead Butler to a 76-64 win over Winthrop on Thursday.
Virginia 76, UNC Wilmington 71: London Perrantes scored 24 points, Marial Shayok added a career-high 23 off the bench and No. 5 seed Virginia rallied from 15 points down to beat 13th-seeded UNC Wilmington 76-71 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
Perrantes scored 19 points in the second half as the Cavaliers (23-10) got their slow-paced offense going. His biggest bucket was a driving bank shot with 1:37 remaining, which put the Cavs up 71-66.
Iowa State 84, Nevada 73: Monte Morris had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Iowa State outlasted Nevada 84-73 on Thursday night to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.