Morehead, Richmond, Gonzaga pull off NCAA upsets

A trio of big upsets in Denver highlighted the first full day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, as Morehead State and Richmond turned the Southwest Regional upside down by toppling, respectively, fourth-seeded Louisville and fifth-seeded Vanderbilt. Later, Gonzaga ousted St. John's in the Southeast.

Results from the first full day of the NCAA men's basketball championship tournament:

Southwest Regional

(13)Morehead State 62, (4)Louisville 61

Demonte Harper made a three-pointer from the top of the circle with 4.2 seconds left Thursday to lead 13th-seeded Morehead State to the first upset of the tournament, a 62-61 victory over No. 4 Louisville in Southwest regional action in Denver.

After Harper's go-ahead basket, the Cardinals had a chance to win it, but Morehead's Kenneth Faried blocked Mike Marra's attempt before the buzzer and Louisville was gone after its first game for the second straight year.

Terrance Hill scored a career-high 23 points for the Eagles (25-9), who next face Richmond.

Faried finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds for Morehead State, which won its first NCAA game since 1984. Chris Smith had 17 points for Louisville (25-10).

(12)Richmond 69, (5)Vanderbilt 66

Kevin Anderson scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half, including a floater with 18.7 seconds remaining that helped seal 12th-seeded Richmond's win. The Spiders (28-7) sprang the second upset of the day at Denver's Pepsi Center.

Fifth-seeded Vanderbilt had a chance to tie the game with 2.5 seconds left, but Rod Odom's desperation heave was nowhere near the hoop as time expired.

So much for the Commodores (23-11) vanquishing their tournament demons. They have now stumbled in their last three appearances in the NCAAs.

East Regional

(4)Kentucky 59, (13)Princeton 57

Freshman Brandon Knight, held scoreless for more than 39 minutes, made a driving layup with two seconds remaining to lift No. 4 seed Kentucky over 13th-seeded Princeton in Tampa, Fla.

Knight missed his first seven shots and even found himself on the bench in the closing minute.

Kentucky will next face West Virginia.

Upperclassmen carried the Wildcats (26-8) most of the way. Darius Miller scored 17 points, and lone senior Josh Harrellson added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Dan Mavraides led Princeton (25-7) with 14 points.

(5)West Virgina 84, (12)Clemson 76

Darryl Bryant scored 19 points and Kevin Jones added 17 to help fifth-seeded West Virginia overcome a slow start and wear down No. 12 Clemson in Tampa, Fla.

The Mountaineers (21-11) took advantage of a fatigued opponent playing its second game in just over 36 hours.

Bryant's four-point play and a long 3-pointer by Jones that tied it 40-40 at the half highlighted a game-changing 28-8 run that enabled West Virginia to turn a 10-point deficit into a 57-47 lead. The closest Clemson (22-12) would get the rest of the way was three points.

Southeast Regional

(1)Pittsburgh 74, (16)UNC Asheville 51

Ashton Gibbs scored 20 of his 26 points after halftime, and bigger, stronger Pittsburgh kept the No. 1s perfect against the No. 16s in the NCAA tournament.

The Panthers out-rebounded the Bulldogs 50-27 in Washington, D.C., to make up for so-so shooting by nearly everyone but Gibbs. Pitt (28-5) led by only three early in the second half before putting the game away with a 13-5 run.

Matt Dickey scored 21 points to lead UNC Asheville (20-14), which finished off a whirlwind week that included a win over Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday.

(2)Florida 79, (5)UC Santa Barbara 51

Chandler Parsons flirted with his first triple-double, finishing with 10 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 10 assists, and Florida coasted to a 79-51 victory over 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara in Tampa, Fla.

The Gators (27-7) made 11 of their first 15 shots, opened up a double-digit lead and kept piling on the rest of the way. They were bigger, faster, more skilled and more athletic at nearly every position — and it showed in what was the most lopsided game so far on the first day of the tournament.

Erving Walker had 18 points and six assists, and Kenny Boynton added 13 points as Florida got contributions from just about everyone.

Orlando Johnson led the Gauchos (18-14) with 21 points.

(3)Brigham Young 74, (14)Wofford 66

Jimmer Fredette lived up to his billing, scoring 32 points to lift third-seeded BYU to a 74-66 victory over No. 14 Wofford in Denver.

Hounded, double teamed and trapped by Wofford defenders much of he night, the nation's leading scorer still got off 25 shots and made 12 trips to the free-throw line to help the Cougars win their school-record 31st game.

Wofford, making its second straight NCAA appearance, shut down Fredette through most of the first half and led 25-21 with five minutes left. But Fredette made two free throws and a three-pointer during a 9-0 run and BYU (31-4) never relinquished the lead.

Noah Dahlman led the Terriers (21-13) with 22 points.

(4)Wisconsin 72, (13)Belmont 58

Jon Leuer scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half and Wisconsin methodically dispatched Belmont 72-58 in Tucson, Ariz., the Badgers' fifth consecutive NCAA tournament-opening victory.

Jordan Taylor added 21 for the fourth-seeded Badgers (24-8), 14 in the first half.

There was much talk of Belmont, a No. 13 seed, being a surprise tournament team, but the Bruins never hit their stride against the Badgers, who made 12 of 22 3-pointers, led by Taylor's 5 of 9.

It was an impressive rebirth of the Wisconsin offense after a 36-33 loss to Penn State in the lowest-scoring game in Big Ten Tournament history. Wisconsin was 2 of 21 on 3-pointers in that one.

Mike Hedgepeth scored 17 and Kerron Johnson 13 for the Atlantic Sun champion Bruins (30-5), still searching for their first NCAA tournament berth after four tries.

(5)Kansas State 73, (12)Utah State 68

Jacob Pullen scored 22 points and hit some big free throws down the stretch, helping Kansas State hold off Utah State 73-68 in Tucson, Ariz., and hand the Aggies' their seventh straight opening loss.

Pullen didn't show any ill affects from the flu that kept him out of practice Wednesday, scoring 10 points in the first half as fifth-seeded Kansas State (23-10) built an 11-point lead. The Wildcats allowed Utah State (30-4) climb back in it with a string of late mistakes, but closed it out from the free throw line to squelch the 12-5 upset.

Kansas State moves on to face Wisconsin on Saturday in the Southeast Regional.

Tai Wesley overcame early foul trouble to score 18 points, Brockeith Pane added 17 and Pooh Williams 16 in what was a gritty-but-disappointing finish to a superb season at Utah State.

(7)UCLA 78, (10)Michigan State 76

Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee scored 16 points apiece and seventh-seeded UCLA held off a late comeback by No. 10 seed Michigan State to win 78-76 victory in Tampa, Fla.

The Bruins (23-10) won despite missing 17 free throws, nine of them in the final 3:40 while the Spartans were making a barrage of three-pointers to get back into the game. The Bruins advanced to a third-round matchup against No. 2 seed Florida, which beat 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara 79-51.

UCLA led 42-24 at the half and by as many as 23 in the second half before nearly letting the game slip away against a team hoping to make an improbable run in the tournament to a third consecutive Final Four. The Bruins were 30-of-47 from the foul line and only made two field goals over the final eight minutes.

Draymond Green led Michigan State (19-15) with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Durrell Summers added 15 and Kalin Lucas finished with 11 after going the first 32 minutes without scoring.

(8)Butler 60, (9)Old Dominion 58

Matt Howard scored on a tip-in at the buzzer, giving eighth-seeded Butler a victory in Washington, D.C.

After Shawn Vanzant missed, Howard went up with his right hand and put the ball in an instant before time expired.

A year ago, Butler's magical run to the NCAA championship game ended with a narrow miss at the buzzer against Duke. In this game, the Bulldogs got the bounce they needed.

Howard and Shelvin Mack each scored 15 points for Butler (24-9), which will face Pittsburgh.

Frank Hassell led Old Dominion (27-7) with 20 points.

(11)Gonzaga 86, (6)St. John's 71

Marquise Carter scored a career-high 24 points, lifting 11th-seeded Gonzaga to an 86-71 victory over sixth-seeded St. John's to cap a stellar day for the underdogs at Denver's Pepsi Center. 

The Bulldogs (25-9) were the third lower seed to spring an upset, joining No. 12 Richmond and No. 13 Morehead State.

These days, Gonzaga can hardly be considered an underdog, especially with its rich history of tournament upsets. The Bulldogs move on to face third-seeded BYU, the only team that survived a scare on this floor. The Jimmer Fredette-led Cougars knocked off Wofford, 74-66.

The Bulldogs used their size and strength to muscle around the Red Storm (21-12), who were back in the tournament for the first time since 2002. Gonzaga outrebounded St. John's by a 43-20 margin.

Robert Sacre, from North Vancouver, B.C., had nine points and eight rebounds for Gonzaga, while Kelly Olynyk, Kamloops, B.C., added six points and four rebounds.

West Regional

(2)San Diego State 68, (15)Northern Colorado 50

Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and second-seeded San Diego State survived Devon Beitzel's scoring burst to earn its first NCAA tournament win in Tucson, Ariz.

The Aztecs (33-2) had their hands full with the Bears of the Big Sky early. San Diego State pulled away behind its defense in the second half, holding Northern Colorado (21-11) scoreless for nearly seven minutes.

Beitzel scored eight of his 25 points during a flurry to start the second half, but it wasn't enough for the 15th-seeded Bears in their first NCAA tournament.

(3)Connecticut 81, (14)Bucknell 52

Kemba Walker had 18 points, a career-high 12 assists and eight rebounds, and No. 3 seed Connecticut cruised past Bucknell 81-52 in Washington, D.C., to earn coach Jim Calhoun his 850th career victory.

Roscoe Smith scored 17 for the Huskies (27-9), who showed no signs of fatigue after winning five games in five days last week to capture the Big East tournament. Connecticut led by 17 at halftime and upped the margin to 32 with just over 15 minutes left.

Walker's 12 assists were a school record for an NCAA tournament game.

Mike Muscala scored 14 points for 14th-seeded Bucknell (25-9). The Patriot League champions came in with a 10-game winning streak and on a 19-1 roll, but proved no match for Connecticut's quickness, size and athleticism.

(6)Cincinnati 78, (11)Missouri 63

Yancy Gates had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Cincinnati made a successful return to the NCAA tournament with a 78-63 win over Missouri in Washington, D.C.

The sixth-seeded Bearcats used their stalwart defense to hold the run-all-the-time Tigers to 29 percent shooting in the first half and 38 per cent for the game. Missouri went some 11 minutes without scoring a field goal to fall behind by 15 early in the second half and finished well below their average of 81.4 points per game.

Cincinnati (26-8) will face Connecticut on Saturday in a rare early round matchup of Big East teams, necessitated by the conference's record 11 bids to this year's tournament.

The Bearcats last played in the NCAAs in 2005 — before coach Bob Huggins' messy departure.

Ricardo Ratliffe scored 13 points for the Tigers (23-11).

(7)Temple 66, (10)Penn State 64

Juan Fernandez sank an off-balance 18-footer with under a second to play to end coach Fran Dunphy's NCAA tournament record 11-game losing streak in Tucson, Ariz.

Fernandez, double-teamed as time was running out, got off a shot off his right foot while fading to his left just inside the three-point line.

Talor Battle's three-pointer from far behind the arc for Penn State tied it at 64-64 with 12.2 seconds to go. Fernandez and Ramone Moore scored 23 points each for the seventh-seeded Owls (26-7), who next play San Diego State. Battle scored 23 for the 10th-seeded Nittany Lions (19-15).