Canadians help Texas win NCAA opener
Results from the second day of action in the NCAA men's basketball tournament's round of 64:
(4)Texas 85, (13)Oakland 81
Canadian freshman Tristan Thompson and the Texas Longhorns survived a late rally to defeat Oakland 85-81 in their tournament opener Friday in Tulsa, Okla.
Thompson finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks in helping Texas avoid the same fate as fellow No. 4 seed Louisville, which lost to Morehead State on Thursday.
Thompson, of Brampton, Ont., controlled his matchup with the six-foot-11 Summit League Player of the Year Keith Benson, collecting three offensive rebounds on Texas' first three possessions while battling head-to-head with the senior. He didn't let up after that, attacking the glass with the intensity that concerned Oakland coach Greg Kampe before the game and showing off an array of spin moves and power dunks on offence.
"First off, [Benson's] an outstanding big man," Thompson said. We knew coming in trying to try and make it difficult for him. Trying to get him off the block and have him resort to turnaround jumpers.
"I just tried to play defence and help my team win."
Benson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but was 6-of-15 shooting. He struggled to find a niche inside during the up-and-down game against Texas' frontcourt duo of Thompson and Jordan Hamilton, who added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
"[Thompson's] a really athletic player," Benson said. "He had long arms and he goes hard to the offensive boards.
"So I just tried to battle with him and keep him off the boards."
Forward Cory Joseph of Ajax, Ont., scored 11 points with three assists and two rebounds for Texas (28-7).
Oakland (25-10) trailed 46-38 at halftime and fell behind by as many as 17 points, but the Golden Grizzlies didn't fold, closing the Longhorns' lead to 80-75 after a Larry Wright three-pointer with 1:23 remaining.
Texas, however, responded to the late surge by hitting five free throws in the final minute to secure the win and a game against Arizona on Sunday.
(5) Arizona 77, (12)Memphis 75
Derrick Williams had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and blocked a potential tying shot in the final seconds to seal Arizona's win in Tulsa, Okla.
Joe Jackson hit the first of two free throws with five seconds left, then missed the second to give the 12th-seeded Tigers a shot at the tie. Wesley Witherspoon grabbed the offensive rebound at the right block, but Williams came over to swat it away and send the Wildcats into a Sunday game against fourth-seeded Texas.
Lamont "MoMo" Jones added 18 points for Arizona (28-7), including the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:35 to play. He added two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game.
Antonio Barton led Memphis (25-10) with 17 points, and his brother Will Barton scored 12.
(1)Duke 87, (16)Hampton 45
Kyrie Irving scored 14 points in his first game in three months in top-seeded Duke's rout in Charlotte, N.C., that gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 899th career victory.
Andre Dawkins added 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12, Kyle Singler finished with 11 and Miles Plumlee had 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils (31-4).
Duke never trailed and shot 53 per cent while dominating from the start, winning their fourth straight and advancing to a third-round matchup with No. 8 seed Michigan (21-13) on Sunday.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Hampton (24-9) had its five-game winning streak snapped. Its top three scorers - Darrion Pellum, Kwame Morgan and Charles Funches — were a combined 9 for 29.
Duke will play Michigan on Sunday.
(8)Michigan 75, (9)Tennessee 45
Zack Novak scored 14 points, including two three-pointers in a decisive spurt to start the second half and carry Michigan in Charlotte, N.C.
The loss was the eighth in 12 games for the Volunteers (19-15), and coach Bruce Pearl's future is in question after his athletic director recently said "the jury is still out" on whether Pearl will return.
In only their second NCAA tournament appearance since 1998, the eighth-seeded Wolverines (21-13) turned a four-point halftime lead into a rout when they got hot from the outside. They also found a way to stop Tennessee freshman Tobias Harris, who was scoreless in the second half after scoring 19 in the first 20 minutes.
(11)Marquette 66, (6)Xavier 55
Darius Johnson-Odum scored 19 points, Jimmy Butler had 15 and Marquette squashed Xavier's bid for a fourth straight round of 16 appearance with a 66-55 win in Cleveland.
The win was the first in the NCAA tournament for the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles (21-14) in two years. Marquette will play Indiana State or Syracuse on Sunday in the East region.
The sixth-seeded Musketeers (24-8) and Michigan State were the only two programs to reach the round of 16 each of the last three tournaments.
Xavier's Tu Holloway, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, missed his first seven shots and scored only five points.
Marquette led by 13 in the first half and pushed back a small Xavier spurt that sliced the lead to single digits.
(1)Ohio State 75, (16)Texas-San Antonio 46
William Buford scored 18 points, freshman Jared Sullinger added 11, and Ohio State looked every inch the part of a No. 1 overall seed in rolling to a 75-46 win over Texas-San Antonio in Cleveland.
Playing just a two-hour drive from their Columbus campus, the Buckeyes (33-2) were cheered on by more than 15,000 fans, who made Quicken Loans Arena feel just like home. Ohio State built a 16-point halftime lead, ballooned it to 38 in the second half and were never threatened by the No. 16 seed Roadrunners (20-14).
The blowout allowed Ohio State coach Thad Matta to rest his starters for Sunday's East region matchup with George Mason, a 61-57 winner over Villanova.
Devin Gibson scored 24 to lead UTSA, which beat Alabama State on Wednesday night for the right to face the powerful Buckeyes, who are seeking their first national title since 1960.
Melvin Johnson III scored just five after getting a career-high 29 in UTSA's opening-round win.
(2)North Carolina 102, (15)Long Island 87
Tyler Zeller scored 32 points, John Henson added 28, and North Carolina used its hulking size to overcome sloppiness in its return to the NCAA tournament in a 102-87 victory over scrappy Long Island University in Charlotte, N.C.
Harrison Barnes added 24 points and 16 rebounds for the second-seeded Tar Heels (27-7) who eventually wore down the 15th-seeded Blackbirds (27-6). The 2009 NCAA champions, relegated to the NIT last season, advanced to the third round of the East Regional.
Julian Boyd scored 18 points, C.J. Garner added 16 and Jamal Olasewere had 15 for LIU, which faded after rallying to tie with under five minutes left in the first half as its nation-best 13-game winning streak was snapped.
The seven-footer Zeller and six-foot-10 Henson kept catching high passes for easy layups over smaller LIU to each record career highs in points.
(3)Syracuse 77, (14)Indiana State 60
Defensive stopper Rick Jackson scored a season-high 23 points, C.J. Fair added 14 and Syracuse began taking care of "unfinished business" with a 77-60 win over Indiana State in Cleveland.
The third-seeded Orange (27-7) want to make up for last season's disappointing tourney appearance, when their title run as a No. 1 seed ended with a loss to upstart Butler in the round of 16. Jackson, the Big East's top defensive player, scored six straight during a crucial stretch in the second half when Syracuse finally pulled away from Indiana State (20-14).
Syracuse will play Big East brethren Marquette on Sunday in a third-round game. The Golden Eagles won the regular-season matchup between the schools.
Jake Kelly scored 12 to lead the Sycamores, who got within four in the second half but had no answer for Jackson.
(7)Washington 68, (10)Georgia 65
Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points and No. 7 seed Washington held off a late rally to beat 10th-seeded Georgia 68-65 in Charlotte, N.C.
Scott Suggs added 10 points for the Huskies (24-10), who shot 43 per cent and withstood a frantic final-minute push to win their fifth straight NCAA tournament opener.
Trey Thompkins had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (21-12), who trailed by 10 with two minutes left but made things interesting in the closing seconds.
Thompkins hit a three-pointer with 5.4 seconds remaining to make it 67-65 and Georgia fouled C.J. Wilcox with 3.7 seconds left. Wilcox made the first and missed the second.
Jeremy Price got the rebound for the Bulldogs and flung the ball downcourt. Thomas got a hand on the pass but Travis Leslie scooped it up and hoisted a 3 that bounced high off the glass after the buzzer.
(8)George Mason 61, (9)Villanova 57
Luke Hancock hit a three-pointer with 21 seconds left, capping George Mason's comeback and keeping the one-time NCAA tournament darlings playing with a 61-57 win over Villanova in Cleveland.
Villanova missed its last shot and Mike Morrison slammed home one final basket for the Patriots (27-6), who will play top-seeded Ohio State on Sunday.
This was the latest and last collapse for the Wildcats (21-12), who end the season on a six-game losing streak. They were once ranked as high as No. 5 but failed to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.
Hancock scored 18 points, and Morrison had 10 points and 11 rebounds for George Mason, which won its opening tournament game for the first time since its Final Four run in 2006.
The eighth-seeded Patriots trailed by 10 in the first half only to inch their way back.
(11)VCU 74, (6)Georgetown 56
Brandon Rozzell led four players in double figures and VCU made 12 three-pointers to stun Georgetown with a 74-56 win in Chicago that showed any remaining doubters the Rams do, indeed, belong in the NCAA tournament.
Rozzell tied his career high with six three-pointers and finished with 26 points, while Joey Rodriguez had 17 points and seven assists. Bradford Burgess and Jamie Skeen added 12 each.
It is the first time the 11th-seeded Rams (25-11) have won more than one game in the NCAA tournament, and they'll now play third-seeded Purdue on Sunday in the Southwest Region. The Boilermakers beat St. Peter's 65-43 earlier Friday.
Not even the return of point guard Chris Wright could help the sixth-seeded Hoyas, who were handed their worst loss in the NCAA tournament since a 24-point drubbing by top-seeded UMass in the 1996 East regional finals. Wright, who broke his left hand Feb. 23 in the second half against Cincinnati, had six points on 3-of-13 shooting and just three assists.
(1)Kansas 72, (16)Boston University 53
Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 31 points as Kansas found its shooting touch in the second half of a 72-53 win over Boston University in Tulsa, Okla.
The win was the first NCAA tournament game for the Jayhawks since being sent home by Northern Iowa in the second round last season.
They appeared to still be feeling some of the aftereffects of that loss in the first half against the Terriers. Kansas (33-2) led just 33-29 at halftime and shot 42 per cent. The Jayhawks found their touch in the second, hitting 62 per cent of their shots and pulling away while avoiding last season's heartbreak and becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed.
John Holland led Boston (21-14) with 19 points, with 15 coming in the first half. The loss snaps the Terriers' 11-game winning streak.
(2)Notre Dame 69, (15)Akron 56
Ben Hansbrough scored 15 points despite another sub-par shooting game and Tim Abromaitis added 14 as second-seeded Notre Dame fought off scrappy Akron in Chicago.
Notre Dame (27-6) will meet 10th-seeded Florida State on Sunday at the United Center.
The Irish led 34-30 at the half before scoring the first nine points of the second to build their lead to double digits, then held off the cold-shooting Zips.
Hansbrough, the Big East Player of the Year who shot just 3-for-16 in a loss to Louisville in the semifinals of the conference tourney, hit just 4-of-11 from the field but was 6-for-6 from the line and had six assists.
The 15th-seeded Zips (23-13) were appearing in just their third NCAA Division I tournament and second in three years.
(3)Purdue 65, (14)St. Peter's 43
E'Twaun Moore scored 19 points and JuJuan Johnson added 16 with 16 rebounds as third-seeded Purdue routed St. Peter's 65-43 in Chicago.
The Boilermakers (26-7) made the round of 16 the previous two seasons.
Winning their first game in the NCAA tournament is commonplace for the Boilermakers. They've now captured their opener in their last 13 appearances.
(9)Illinois 73, (8)UNLV 62
Mike Davis tied his season high with 22 points, Demetri McCamey added 17 points and seven assists and Illinois dominated UNLV 73-62 in Tulsa, Okla., to set up another meeting between Fighting Illini coaches past and present.
The ninth-seeded Illini (20-13) took control with an early 15-0 run and led by as many as 25 in a surprisingly easy rout after losing 10 of their previous 16 games to bring into question whether they'd even make it onto the 68-team bracket.
Bruce Weber's squad led by double digits throughout the second half against eighth-seeded UNLV (24-9), with former Illini coach Lon Kruger in charge. Next up for Illinois is a Sunday night clash against No. 1 seed Kansas and Weber's predecessor, Bill Self.
Oscar Bellfield scored 14 to lead the Runnin' Rebels, who lost for just the second time in their last eight games.
(10)Florida State 57, (7)Texas A&M 50
Derwin Kitchen scored 15 points and 10th-seeded Florida State won an NCAA tournament game for the first time in 13 years by knocking off seventh-seeded Texas A&M 57-50 in Chicago.
Bernard James added 10 points, keying a go-ahead run in the second half, and the Seminoles (22-10) advanced to play Notre Dame on Sunday.
Florida State, which leads the nation in field-goal defence, held Texas A&M (24-9) to 31.4 per cent shooting on the way to its first NCAA win since they beat TCU in the first round in 1998. The Seminoles had dropped three straight NCAA tournament games, losing to Wisconsin in overtime in 2009 and Gonzaga last season.
Chris Singleton struggled in his return from a broken right foot, finishing with five points and four fouls for Florida State.
Khris Middleton scored 16 points for Texas A&M — 11 in the first half. Nathan Walkup added 11, David Loubeau scored 10.