Marquette escapes Davidson, 59-58, in NCAA tourney
Marquette forward Davante Gardner (54) reacts after teammate Vander Blue scored the game winning basket in the final seconds of a second-round NCAA college basketball tournament game against the Davidson, Thursday, in Lexington, Ky.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Vander Blue had no doubt where he was going with the ball. The Marquette guard’s only concern was whether he’d have room to make it happen.
Blue needed just four seconds to make his own path. Taking Jamil Wilson’s inbounds pass at midcourt with 5.5 seconds remaining, he drove left past Jake Cohen for a layup that completed a rally from nine points down and gave the third-seeded Golden Eagles an improbable 59-58 victory over No. 14 Davidson in Thursday’s second-round NCAA tournament game.
“All I was thinking was, ‘if I get to the rim, I have to finish,’” said Blue, who scored seven of Marquette’s final 10 points including a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left. “I’m not ready to go home, I know our team’s not ready to go home.
“We got down by like seven, nobody ever panicked. … Nobody missed a beat. We knew the game isn’t over until the clock hits zero.”
Blue was there to ensure time ran out on Davidson, intercepting the last-ditch inbounds pass to seal a remarkable rally and set off a noisy celebration among players and Golden Eagles fans at Rupp Arena. Marquette advanced to Saturday’s third round against Butler, a 68-56 winner over Bucknell
It’s mostly thanks to Blue and Wilson.
Blue finished with 16 points while Wilson added 14, but their consecutive 3-pointers brought Marquette to 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.
“De’Mon just threw it a little too far,” said Davidson forward Jake Cohen, who scored a game-high 20 points including 12 in the second half. “That’s how it goes sometimes.”
On the game-winning play, Cohen added, “I got switched onto him and he got by me. Hindsight’s 20-20. It’s really easy to look back now and draw up something different. He made a big play and made a big shot.”
The Golden Eagles (24-8) won for the fifth time in six games despite shooting 20 of 58 from the field (35 percent) including 4 of 15 from 3-point range. Marquette’s known more for its inside scoring than outside to begin with, but it got clutch shots from Blue and Wilson when the game seemed to be in Davidson’s hands.
A 9-1 run gave the Wildcats a 49-40 lead, and they seemed poised to seal the game thanks to Cohen — plus Brooks and Nik Cochran, who both scored 11. But Marquette kept plugging away and found itself within range in the final minutes.
Then came perimeter jumpers from Blue and Wilson. Brooks’ turnover followed and Blue took over from there.
“After my first 3, it felt like things were going good,” Wilson said. “Van put the ball in the basket. It just opened up, going back to what we know best.”
The comeback spoiled Davidson’s upset bid and halted the nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games. The Wildcats entered the game shooting nearly 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Their numbers weren’t as good on Thursday, but the Wildcats thought they had enough.
“We emptied our tank today,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “Credit Marquette, they made three plays down the stretch.”
Marquette shared the regular reason Big East title with Louisville and Georgetown. But coach Buzz Williams has sought a more complete game from his team, stressing extra possessions through rebounding while minimizing turnovers. The Golden Eagles’ main goal going in was to create opportunities inside.
Early on, though, they couldn’t hit from anywhere.
As Marquette was missing 10 of its first 11 attempts, Davidson came out hot, especially from the perimeter. Chris Czerapowicz, J.P. Kuhlman and Jake Cohen all made 3-pointers in the Wildcats’ 12-2 start.
Davidson’s defense was also effective against Marquette’s second chances, forcing the Golden Eagles to shoot off balance instead of spotting up. The Golden Eagles regrouped slightly with five straight points, but Cochran answered from beyond the arc to put the Wildcats ahead 15-7 with 12:19 left in the half.
By the half, Marquette had closed to 25-23 and the next 10 minutes were tight, with six ties and seven lead changes before De’Mon Brooks’ two free throws put Davidson up 40-38. After Wilson’s free throw for Marquette, Tyler Kalinoski followed with a 3-pointer and Cochran added a bank to put the Wildcats up by six, leading to a Golden Eagles timeout with 9:24 left.
The lead stretched to nine with under seven minutes left, but then came the comeback that Blue will remember for a while.
“It’s the NCAA tournament, and nothing’s coming easy,” he said. “If you want to win, you’ve got to take it.”
Harvard 68, New Mexico 62
Give those Harvard kids an A-plus in another subject: Bracketbusting 101.
Wesley Saunders scored 18 points and Laurent Rivard made five 3-pointers to help the 14th-seeded Crimson pull off the biggest upset on the first full day of NCAA tournament games.
The Ivy League advanced for the first time since a very good Cornell team made the regional semifinals in 2010. 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 will play Arizona on Saturday.
The Crimson (20-9) put the clamps down on New Mexico’s Tony Snell, holding him to nine points on 4-for-12 shooting after he dominated in the MWC tournament. They banged inside with Lobos big men Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, whose 22 points provided New Mexico’s only consistent offense.
Mostly, they showed none of the jitters that marked their trip to the tournament last year — a 79-70 loss to Vanderbilt in Harvard’s first NCAA appearance since 1946.
Rivard went 6 of 7 from 3-point range in that one — played on New Mexico’s home court in The Pit — and was clearly pumped for an encore. He was 5 of 9 this time, with three of them coming in the first half, while Harvard was holding a small lead and, more importantly, answering every surge the Lobos (29-6) threw at them. Rivard finished with 17 points.
Tommy Amaker outcoached his contemporary, Steve Alford, exacting revenge of sorts from when Alford’s Indiana team beat Amaker and Duke back in the 1987 regional semifinals.
Arizona 81, Belmont 64
Mark Lyons scored 23 points and sixth-seeded Arizona rolled past Belmont.
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 percent overall.
Bruins guard Ian Clark entered shooting better than 46 percent 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.
Wichita State 73, Pittsburgh 55
Malcolm Armstead scored 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and ninth-seeded Wichita State ousted Pittsburgh.
Freshman center Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Call Hall added 11 points for the Shockers (27-8).
The Shockers forced Pitt into 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent 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 for 5 from beyond the arc, with five turnovers.
Butler 68, Bucknell 56
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Andrew Smith had 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, Roosevelt Jones also scored 14 and sixth-seeded Butler made its free throws down the stretch to hold off 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 career scoring leader had nine points, only the second time this season he failed to reach double figures.
California 64, UNLV 61
SAN JOSE, Calif. — 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 UNLV.
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 2010.
The fifth-seeded 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.
Cal will face Syracuse in the third round.
Syracuse 81, Montana 34
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Brandon Triche scored 20 points, C.J. Fair added 13 and the fourth-seeded Orange shut down No. 13 seed Montana with their zone defense in the biggest NCAA tournament blowout by a team seeded third or lower.
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.
Louisville 79, North Carolina A&T 48
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Russ Smith scored 23 points and had eight of Louisville’s NCAA tournament-record 20 steals in an easy win over North Carolina A&T.
Peyton Siva added eight assists and four steals for top-seeded Louisville, which limited the 16th-seeded Aggies (20-17) to 42 percent shooting and harassed them into 27 turnovers. It was the 11th straight victory for the Cardinals (30-5), who will play Colorado State on Saturday.
Rick Pitino and the Big East champions quickly ended a postseason run for the Aggies, who finally earned their first NCAA tournament win on Tuesday. Bruce Beckford led North Carolina A&T with 12 points.
Colorado State 84, Missouri 72
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Dorian Green scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half and eighth-seeded Colorado State ran away from Missouri.
Green, who went scoreless with five turnovers in last year’s second-round loss to Murray State, did much better this time as the Rams shot nearly 58 percent 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).
Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Derrick Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power third-seeded Michigan State past the 14th-seeded Crusaders in the Midwest Regional.
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 Memphis on Saturday when coach Tom Izzo and the 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.
Erik Buggs scored 14 and Matt Kenney had 10 points for the Crusaders.
Memphis 54, Saint Mary’s 52
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Matthew Dellavedova’s 3-pointer from the right wing missed everything as time expired, allowing sixth-seeded Memphis to hold on for a win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary’s.
The Tigers (31-4) led by 15 in the first half but nearly gave the game away in the final seconds.
With Memphis ahead 54-49, Eividas Petrulis banked in a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play. The Tigers then lost the ball when the Gaels’ Jordan Giusti deflected the inbounds pass off Joe Jackson of Memphis and out of bounds.
Saint Mary’s (28-7) was out of timeouts but had a chance to regroup while officials reviewed the previous sequence. It didn’t matter. Dellavedova, the career leader in scoring for Saint Mary’s, was able to get a shot off, but it didn’t come close to going in.
It was the first win in the NCAA tournament for Memphis since 2009, when John Calipari was still coach.
D.J. Stephens had nine points and eight blocks for Memphis, and Jackson had 14 points and seven assists. Brad Waldow scored 17 points to lead Saint Mary’s.
Dellavedova had 10 points, seven assists and six turnovers in 40 minutes.
Saint Louis 64, New Mexico State 44
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dwayne Evans scored 24 points, Cody Ellis added 12 and fourth-seeded Saint Louis overwhelmed New Mexico State in the Midwest Regional.
Playing through Rick Majerus’ death 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.
Saint Louis plays Oregon on Saturday.
Bandja Sy had 17 points and nine rebounds for the 13th-seeded Aggies (24-11), who shot 28 percent.
Oregon 68, Oklahoma State 55
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Damyean Dotson scored 17 points and Arsalan Kazemi added 11 points and 17 rebounds to help 12th-seeded Oregon beat fifth-seeded Oklahoma, extending a run that began in the Pac-12 tournament.
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.
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).
Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Glenn Robinson III scored 21 points and Mitch McGary added 13 points and nine rebounds, helping fourth-seeded Michigan overcome a rough night for star Trey Burke.
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), the 13th seed, trailed by only four at halftime but couldn’t keep up. High-scoring guard Nate Wolters was held to 10 points.
Burke was limited to single digits for the first time all season.
Michigan plays VCU on Saturday.
VCU 88, Akron 42
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Troy Daniels had 23 points, Juvonte Reddic scored 21 and VCU routed Akron 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) forced 22 turnovers.
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 center Pat Forsythe were limited by the flu, and reserve guard Deji Ibitayo wasn’t even in uniform because of back spasms.