Gonzaga 64, Southern 58
A March Madness warm-up turned into a great escape for Gonzaga.
The Zags got pushed to the limit by Southern on Thursday, pulling out a 64-58 victory in the closing minutes to avoid becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 in the NCAA tournament.
Kelly Olynyk of Kamloops, B.C., led the Zags (32-2) with 21 points. They play No. 9 Wichita State on Saturday.
But it was a pair of three-pointers — one by Gary Bell Jr., the next by Kevin Pagnos — that staked the Bulldogs to a 62-58 lead only moments after the game was tied at 56 with 3:45 left.
Pangos, from Newmarket, Ont., finished with 16 points and five assists, going 4-for-9 from three-point range.
Derick Beltran had 21 points to lead Southern (23-10) and his 14-foot baseline jumper tied it at 56. But the Jaguars from the Southwestern Athletic Conference didn't make another field goal.
Harvard 68, New Mexico 62
Wesley Saunders scored 18 points and Laurent Rivard had 17 to help 14th-seeded Harvard pull off Thursday's biggest upset in the NCAA tournament, a 68-62 win over No. 3 New Mexico in the West regional.
The Ivy League advanced for the first time in the tournament since a very good Cornell team made the regional semifinals in 2010. It also was Harvard's first NCAA tourney win.
The Mountain West Conference, judged one of the top two leagues in college basketball all season, fell to 1-3 so far this week.
Harvard (20-9) tries to keep it going Saturday against sixth-seeded Arizona. New Mexico closes the season at 29-6. Alex Kirk had 22 points for the Lobos, a popular pick to make the Final Four who, instead, still haven't made it out of the first weekend since 1974.
Louisville 79, North Carolina A&T 48
Pay attention, No. 1s. This is how it's done.
Russ Smith scored 23 points and set a Louisville NCAA tournament record with a career-high eight steals, and Peyton Siva had eight assists as the Cardinals demolished North Carolina A&T 79-48 on Thursday night.
Louisville finished with a season-high 20 steals as it forced the Aggies (20-17) into 27 turnovers. It was the 11th straight win for the Cardinals (30-5), who will play Colorado State or Missouri on Saturday.
Rick Pitino and the Big East champions quickly ended a post-season run for the Aggies, who finally earned their first NCAA tournament win on Tuesday. Bruce Beckford led North Carolina A&T with 12 points.
Marquette 59, Davidson 58
Vander Blue's layup with one second left capped Marquette's rally from a nine-point deficit and gave the third-seeded Golden Eagles a 59-58 victory over Davidson Thursday in the NCAA tournament.
Blue and Jamil Wilson made consecutive 3-pointers to bring Marquette within 58-57 with 11 seconds left. The Golden Eagles then caught a huge break when De'Mon Brooks' long inbounds pass went out of bounds at midcourt with 5.5 seconds left, providing another opportunity.
Blue took full advantage after getting Wilson's inbounds pass, driving left and finding room for the winning basket. He then sealed Marquette's improbable win by stealing Davidson's last-ditch inbounds pass at midcourt to set off a celebration among players and Golden Eagles fans at Rupp Arena.
Blue scored seven of Marquette's final 11 points to finish with 16. Wilson added 14 points as the Golden Eagles (24-8) won for the fifth time in six games and advanced to face Butler in Saturday's third-round game.
The Bulldogs beat Bucknell, 68-56.
Jake Cohen's 20 points led Davidson (26-8), who seemed in control leading 49-40 with 6 1/2 minutes left before Marquette rallied.
Arizona 81, Belmont 64
Mark Lyons scored 23 points and the sixth-seeded Arizona Wildcats rolled past No. 11 seed Belmont 81-64 Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats (26-7) used their huge size advantage to shut down the Bruins (26-7), who are 0-6 in tourney games.
Arizona held a 44-18 edge on the boards, outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint, blocked five shots and outshot the Bruins from 3-point range.
The Wildcats made 9 of 17 3-pointers, including a critical one from Solomon Hill with 4:40 remaining to stop an 11-2 Belmont run, and shot 57 per cent overall.
Bruins guard Ian Clark entered shooting better than 46 per cent from 3-point range but was 3 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Kerron Johnson led Belmont with 22 points and Clark finished with 21.
Kevin Parrom, Kaleb Tarczewski and Nick Johnson added 12 points each for Arizona.
VCU 88, Akron 42
Troy Daniels had 23 points, Juvonte Reddic scored 21 and VCU routed Akron 88-42 on Thursday night in the most lopsided victory by a fifth-seeded team over a No. 12 in NCAA tournament history.
The previous mark was set by Wyoming in a 35-point win over Howard in 1981 and matched by Tennessee against Long Beach State in 2007, according to STATS.
The Rams (27-8) will play fourth-seeded Michigan on Saturday for a spot in the round of 16.
Akron (26-7) was seriously short-handed, and it showed.
In addition to playing without suspended point guard Alex Abreu, the Zips had other problems as well. Starting guard Brian Walsh and reserve centre Pat Forsythe were limited by the flu, and reserve guard Deji Ibitayo wasn't even in uniform because of back spasms.
Syracuse 81, Montana 34
Brandon Triche scored 20 points, C.J. Fair added 13 and fourth-seeded Syracuse shut down No. 13 seed Montana with its zone defence in a 81-34 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday night.
Michael Carter-Williams chipped in four points, eight rebounds and nine assists as the Orange (27-9) raced out to an early lead that grew as big as 50 points and coasted past the Grizzlies (25-7) to their most lopsided tournament win since beating Brown 101-52 in the first round in 1986.
Syracuse advanced to play 12th-seeded and local favourite California (21-11) on Saturday for a spot in the East regional in Washington, D.C. next week. The Golden Bears beat UNLV 64-61.
Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56
Glenn Robinson III scored 21 points and Mitch McGary added 13 points and nine rebounds, helping fourth-seeded Michigan overcome a rough night for Trey Burke in a 71-56 NCAA tournament victory over 13th-seeded South Dakota State on Thursday night.
Burke made only two field goals and left the game briefly in the second half after a hard fall under the basket. The star point guard came back after that, but he finished with only six points.
Michigan (27-7) advanced anyway behind Robinson, McGary and Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 21 points.
South Dakota State (25-10) trailed by only four at halftime but couldn't keep up. High-scoring guard Nate Wolters was held to only 10 points.
Burke was held in single digits for the first time all season.
Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54
Derrick Nix's strength and skill were much too much for Valparaiso.
Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power third-seeded Michigan State past the 14th-seeded Crusaders 65-54 on Thursday in the NCAA tournament.
The Spartans went on a 26-5 run in the first half to take control, and cruised to an easy victory.
Michigan State (26-8) will play the winner of the Memphis-St. Mary's game on Saturday when coach Tom Izzo's Spartans will be shooting for a spot in the round of 16 for the fifth time in six years.
The Crusaders (26-8) were no match for Michigan State in their first NCAA tourney in nine years, just as they weren't as a first-round loser in 2000 to the eventual champion Spartans.
Valpo had enough size to match up, but didn't have enough strength.
The Crusaders didn't seem worried about the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Nix when asked about him the day before the game.
Valpo's 6-8, 240-pound forward Kevin Van Wijk nonchalantly said he and his teammates faced similar players in the Horizon League. If that's true, it didn't seem to prepare Van Wijk and his fellow post players for Nix's brute force, relatively nimble feet and soft hands.
Oregon 68, Oklahoma St. 55
Damyean Dotson scored 17 points and Arsalan Kazemi added 11 points and 17 rebounds to help 12th-seeded Oregon extend a run that began in the Pac-12 tournament by beating fifth-seeded Oklahoma 68-55 in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
Dominic Artis scored 13 points and helped frustrate Oklahoma State star freshman Marcus Smart on the defensive end to give the Ducks (27-8) their first tournament win in six years.
Oregon advanced to play fourth-seeded St Louis (27-6) on Saturday for a spot in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis next week. The Billikens beat New Mexico State 64-44.
Smart came into the game with the hype of a top NBA prospect but was held to 14 points on 5 for 13 shooting for the Cowboys (24-9).
Butler 68, Bucknell 56
Andrew Smith had a double-double including a career-high 16 rebounds, Roosevelt Jones added 14 points and Butler made its free throws down the stretch to hold off upset-minded Bucknell.
After trailing for most of the game, 11th-seeded Bucknell got back into it with a 19-2 second-half run. But after Joe Willman's jumper cut Butler's lead to 43-42 with 6:56 left, the Bison (28-6) went almost five minutes without scoring. Butler went 18-of-20 at the line in the last 4:43.
Willman scored a career-high 20 points for Bucknell, but the Bison couldn't overcome an off day by two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Muscala. Bucknell's all-time leading scorer had nine points, only the second time this season he'd failed to reach double figures.
Memphis 54, Saint Mary's 52
Matthew Dellavedova's 3-pointer from the right wing sailed long as time expired, allowing sixth-seeded Memphis to hold on for a 54-52 win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary's on Thursday.
The Tigers (31-4) led by 15 in the first half but nearly gave the game away in the final seconds. With Saint Mary's (28-7) down five, Eividas Petrulis banked in a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play. Memphis then lost the ball when Jordan Giusti deflected the inbound pass off Joe Jackson of the Tigers and out of bounds.
Dellavedova, the career leader in scoring for the Gaels, was able to get a shot off from in front of his team's bench, but it was well long, missing everything.
Colorado State 84, Missouri 72
Dorian Green scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half and eighth-seeded Colorado State used good shooting to run away from No. 9 Missouri 84-72 Thursday night in the NCAA tournament.
Green, who went scoreless with five turnovers in last year's second-round upset to Murray State, did much better this time as the Rams shot nearly 58 per cent in the first half.
Minnesota transfer and Rams big man Colton Iverson outrebounded Missouri by himself through 27 minutes and finished with 13 boards.
First-year Rams coach Larry Eustachy earned the victory with his fourth tournament team, but the road gets tougher as they advance to face top-seeded Louisville in Saturday's third-round Midwest Regional game at Rupp Arena.
Phil Pressey's 20 points led the Tigers (23-11).
California 64, UNLV 61
Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and 12th-seeded California held off fifth-seeded UNLV 64-61 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Thursday.
Buoyed by the crowd support of a strong contingent so close to Berkeley, the Golden Bears (21-11) held the Runnin' Rebels (25-10) without a basket for more than 11 minutes in the second half. Cal turned a tie game into a nine-point lead during that stretch and withstood a late UNLV push for its first tournament win since 2009.
The Rebels rallied to within a point in the final seconds before missed free throws and a costly inbounds pass sealed the loss.
Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 15 points and Anthony Bennett shook off a poor start to finish with 15 points and 11 rebounds for UNLV, which beat Cal 76-75 in Berkeley on Dec. 9.
Wichita State 73, Pittsburgh 55
Malcolm Armstead scored 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and ninth-seeded Wichita State defeated eighth-seeded Pittsburgh 73-55 Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Call Hall added 11 points for the Shockers (27-8), who face the winner of the No. 1-ranked Gonzaga-Southern game.
The Shockers forced Pitt into 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 per cent shooting, including 1 of 17 from 3-point range.
Pitt's leading scorer, Tray Woodall, missed his first four shots and finished with two points. He shot 1 of 12, including 0 of 5 from beyond the arc, with five turnovers.
The Shockers scored 21 points off turnovers and took advantage at the free throw line, making 33 of 41 attempts.
Saint Louis 64, New Mexico 44
Dwayne Evans scored 24 points, Cody Ellis added 12 points and fourth-seeded Saint Louis overwhelmed New Mexico State 64-44 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Thursday.
Playing through the death of Rick Majerus in December, Saint Louis reached another mark for its late coach. The Billikens (28-6) eclipsed the 1988-89 team's school record of 27 victories.
Evans shot 11 of 16 and finished a point shy of his career best to propel Saint Louis past 7-foot-5 New Mexico State freshman Sim Bhullar. The Billikens held Bhullar to four points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Bandja Sy had 17 points and nine rebounds for the 13th-seeded Aggies (24-11), who shot just 28 per cent.