Monday March 25, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gonzaga’s gone.

Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker scored 16 points apiece and Wichita State hit 14 3-pointers, including five straight late, to knock the top-ranked and No. 1 seeded Bulldogs out of the NCAA tournament, 76-70, on Saturday, in the West Region.

The Shockers (28-8) advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 2006, while Gonzaga becomes the first top seed to be eliminated.

Gonzaga survived a scare in its first game against Southern but couldn’t hold up against a fellow mid-major from Kansas with the motto "play angry."

The Shockers face the winner of Sunday’s game between La Salle and Ole Miss.

Wichita State had the Zags down 13 early. Though Gonzaga (32-3) fought back, the barrage of 3s was too much for the small school from Spokane, Wash.

Kelly Olynyk scored 26 points to lead Gonzaga, and Kevin Pangos had 19.

While Gonzaga held the top spot in the AP Top 25 over the final weeks of the season, skeptics thought of the Bulldogs as a soft No. 1 seed that benefited from a relatively easy schedule in the West Coast Conference while other top contenders were getting banged around in the power conferences.

OHIO STATE 78,

IOWA STATE 75

DAYTON, Ohio -- Iowa State came up a half-second short of yet another wild West upset. Making it hurt even more, the nation’s leaders in 3-point shots ended up beaten by one.


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Aaron Craft dribbled in place as the clock ran down and hit a 3-pointer with a half-second left Sunday, sending No. 2 Ohio State to a 78-75 victory and a school-record fourth straight trip to the round of 16.

Tenth-seeded Iowa State (23-12) overcame a late 13-point deficit by hitting 3s -- the Cyclones’ specialty -- but couldn’t stop the one that made the difference.

"We played our hearts out," said Will Clyburn, who scored 17 points. "It was a tough game and he made a tough shot. He made a great play."

Craft’s missed free throws helped Iowa State catch up. He missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one chances and was off on a jumper from just inside the arc with 29.2 seconds left and the score tied.

The Cyclones knocked the ball out of bounds while trying for the rebound, setting up the final chance. Iowa State had a 36-22 edge in rebounding, but couldn’t get that last one.

INDIANA 58,

TEMPLE 52

DAYTON, Ohio -- Indiana’s season, the one that’s supposed to finish with confetti falling and nets coming down, was minutes from ending in shock and disappointment.

The Hoosiers were on the brink.

As the clock ticked down, coach Tom Crean wouldn’t allow himself to think about defeat, so his mind wandered elsewhere.

"That’s when you just pray," he said.

Request answered.

Victor Oladipo hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, unable to stop Temple star Khalif Wyatt for most of the game, shut him down in the final three minutes for a 58-52 win on Sunday in the East Regional.

Trailing by four with 2:56 left, the Hoosiers (29-6) closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year. After stopping to tell Temple’s players they’re as good as any Big Ten team, Crean, his red tie askew and his hair messed, was overcome by emotion.

"That," he said, "was relief."

Indiana, with its sights set on a sixth national championship, will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.

Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who for 37 minutes gave top-seeded Indiana all it could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.

ARIZONA 74,

HARVARD 51

Arizona put an emphatic end to Harvard’s March Madness success story.

Mark Lyons matched his career high with 27 points to lead the sixth-seeded Wildcats (27-7). Arizona sprinted to a 30-9 lead, as the Crimson (20-10) missed 20 of its first 22 shots.

Lyons led Arizona to the program’s 15th appearance in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats will play Iowa State or Ohio State next week in Los Angeles.

Harvard, meanwhile, goes home with its first NCAA win in tow. The 14th-seeded Crimson beat third-seeded New Mexico on Thursday but couldn’t recreate the magic.

Kenyatta Smith led Harvard with 10 points. Freshman Siyani Chambers lost part of his front tooth after Arizona’s Kevin Parrom elbowed him in the face.

MARQUETTE 74,

BUTLER 72

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Vander Blue scored 19 second-half points to rally third-seeded Marquette out of another hole, and the Golden Eagles survived No. 6 Butler 74-72 on Saturday to reach the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

Like November’s first meeting between the teams at the Maui Invitational, won 72-71 by Butler on Rotnei Clarke’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer, this was a back-and-forth, high-intensity affair that came down to the final shot.

Only this time, Butler missed.

Blue, who made a last-second layup to beat Davidson in Marquette’s first tournament game, scored 29 points.

Clarke’s 24 points led Butler (28-9).

SYRACUSE 66,

CALIFORNIA 60

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- C.J. Fair scored 18 points, James Southerland added 14 and fourth-seeded Syracuse survived a second-half drought of more than 12 minutes without a field goal to beat No. 12 seed California.

The Orange (28-9) frustrated California with their zone defense to overcome a dismal shooting night when they made just 39 percent of their shots and missed 15 of 41 free throws.

But it proved to be enough to send Syracuse to Washington, D.C., for the East Regional where the Orange will take on the winner of Sunday’s game between top-seeded Indiana and Temple on Thursday.

Richard Solomon scored 22 points for the Golden Bears (21-12), who were trying to make it to the round of 16 for the first time in 16 years and just the third time since 1960.

LOUISVILLE 82,

COLORADO STATE 56

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Russ Smith had another big night, leading four players in double figures with 27 points, and top-seeded Louisville is into the Midwest Region semifinals.

The Cardinals put on a defensive clinic as they dismantled Colorado State. Louisville forced the eighth-seeded Rams into a season-high 20 turnovers, made Colton Iverson look as invisible as a 6-foot-10 guy can be and limited one of the nation’s best rebounding teams to 24 boards, more than a dozen below their average.

It was the 12th straight win for Louisville (31-5), which will play Oregon on Friday in Indianapolis.

OREGON 74,

SAINT LOUIS 57

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Damyean Dotson scored 23 points, Carlos Emory added 14 points and hot-shooting Oregon sprinted past fourth-seeded Saint Louis.

Dotson made his first five 3-pointers to carry the 12th-seeded Ducks (28-8) into the second weekend for the first time since 2007, when they lost to eventual repeat champion Florida in the regional final. Oregon made 8 of 11 shots from beyond the arc, while the Billikens finished 3 for 21 from long range.

MICHIGAN STATE 70,

MEMPHIS 48

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Gary Harris scored 16 of his career-high 23 points in the first half to help third-seeded Michigan State reach the round of 16 for the fifth time in six years.

Michigan State (27-8) will play the winner of the Duke-Creighton game on Friday in the Midwest Regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Tigers (31-5) advanced in the NCAA tournament for the first time in Josh Pastner’s four seasons. The Conference USA champions were eliminated in the third round because they struggled to stop Harris on the outside or his teammates inside all afternoon.

The Spartans’ top post players -- Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix -- combined for 27 points and 18 rebounds.

MICHIGAN 78,

VCU 53

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Mitch McGary had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and fourth-seeded Michigan breezed through Virginia Commonwealth’s vaunted pressure with a clinical performance and advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 1994.

VCU (27-9) was relentless in a 46-point rout of Akron on Thursday night, but the Rams met their match against Michigan’s cool-headed backcourt. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. rarely looked rattled against VCU, and although Michigan (28-7) committed 12 turnovers, the Rams couldn’t turn many of them into quick scoring opportunities.

McGary, a 6-foot-10 freshman, set season highs in scoring and rebounding.

The 71-point swing by VCU -- from a 46-point win to a 25-point loss -- was the largest in NCAA tournament history, according to STATS. In 1968, Houston beat Texas Christian 103-68, then lost to UCLA 101-69 for a 67-point swing.

The Wolverines will play the winner of Sunday’s game between Kansas and North Carolina in Arlington, Texas.