Duke, UNC, Kansas, Indiana among Sweet 16 teams
The Sweet 16 has a few familiar schools returning to the party.
Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Indiana each advanced to the round of 16 on Saturday. Same for Virginia and Iowa State, a pair of powers headed to the regional semifinals for the second time in three years.
Gonzaga advanced to its second straight Sweet 16 with an impressive 82-59 victory over Utah in the Midwest Region. The Zags drew a No. 11 seed after a rocky regular season, but they are looking like a contender for the program's first Final Four.
NO. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 85, PROVIDENCE 66
Brice Johnson had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and North Carolina pulled away for the win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Joel Berry II added 15 points for the East Region's top seed, which found itself in a fight well into the second half against the Friars' high-scoring duo of Ben Bentil and Big East player of the year Kris Dunn. But the Tar Heels (30-6) stepped up their offensive efficiency, attacked the paint and started cashing in at the line as the fouls piled up for Providence (24-11).
Justin Jackson scored on a drive to start an 8-0 run that broke a 41-all tie, and then Johnson scored six straight points in the 10-0 burst that put the Tar Heels up 17 with 6 1/2 minutes left.
Dunn had 29 points for the ninth-seeded Friars, though he sat much of the first half with two fouls and picked up his fourth while trying to strip Johnson in the lane with 8:44 left. Bentil fouled out on a rebound attempt with 7:23 left, finishing with 21 points.
NO. 5 INDIANA 73, NO. 4 KENTUCKY
Indiana is headed back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013.
Freshman Thomas Bryant scored 15 of his 19 points in the final eight minutes, helping the Hoosiers earn a spot in the regional semifinals in Philadelphia. Yogi Ferrell had 18 points, and Troy Williams finished with 13.
Indiana (27-7) took control with a 17-4 run to go up 10 with four minutes left. Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress pulled Kentucky within 69-67 on free throws, but Bryant hit two from the line with 10 seconds to go to seal the win.
Ulis scored 27 points for Kentucky (27-9), which suffered its earliest NCAA Tournament exit since 2008 — when it lost to a Marquette team then led by current Indiana coach Tom Crean. Jamal Murray had 16 points.
Next up for Indiana is North Carolina. The Hoosiers could be without starting guard Robert Johnson, who departed with an apparent left ankle injury late in the first half.
NO. 1 KANSAS 73, NO. 9 UCONN 61
Wayne Selden Jr. and Perry Ellis carried Kansas on a sweet romp to the round of 16, combining for 43 points to help the Jayhawks hand Kevin Ollie his first NCAA Tournament loss as head coach of the Huskies.
Selden had 22 points and seven rebounds, Ellis scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds and the Jayhawks (32-4) advanced to the South Regional semifinals on Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky, to play the winner of the Hawaii-Maryland game on Sunday.
Selden and Ellis combined to shoot 17 for 27 from the floor, shooing away the disappointment of second-round defeats in each of the last two years.
Sterling Gibbs had 20 points for the No. 9 seed Huskies (25-11), who fell into an irreparable deficit that reached 24 points in the first half.
NO. 3 MIAMI 65, NO. 11 WICHITA STATE 57
Angel Rodriguez took over after Miami blew a 21-point lead midway through the second half, hitting a big 3-pointer with 72 seconds remaining and scoring 28 points to lead the third-seeded Hurricanes into the round of 16.
Miami (27-7) made it that far three years ago under Jim Larranaga, in his fifth season as head coach. Sheldon McClellan finished with 18 points and Davon Reed had 10 for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes will play Iowa or Villanova next weekend in Louisville in the South Regional semifinals.
Fred VanVleet and Shaquille Morris each had 12 points for 11th-seeded Wichita State (26-9), which put on a furious rally in the second half of a bruising game, taking a 43-42 lead with 10:24 to go.
After Baker's 3-pointer gave Wichita State its first lead, Ja'Quan Newton had a slam dunk to put Miami back on top and McClellan scored eight straight points for some separation.
NO. 1 VIRGINIA 77, NO. 9 BUTLER 69
Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points and Virginia used some hot second-half shooting to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.
Anthony Gill added 17 points and Marial Shayok finished with 12 for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-7).
Virginia shot 73 percent after halftime, hitting 14 of its first 16 shots of the second half, and reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years. It will face Iowa State (23-11) on Friday in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Chicago.
Andrew Chrabascz scored a season-high 25 points for ninth-seeded Butler (22-11). Roosevelt Jones added 18 points.
NO. 4 IOWA STATE 78, NO. 12 LITTLE ROCK 61
Georges Niang scored 28 points and Iowa State watched Josh Hagins closely in the second half of a win over Little Rock.
The No. 4 seed Cyclones (23-11) advanced to their second Sweet 16 in three years.
Niang, the winningest player (97) in Cyclones history and Iowa State's only two-time All-American, was simply too much for the 12th-seeded Trojans (30-5) of the Sun Belt.
For the second straight game, Hagins had just two points at halftime.
Unlike last time, when he went off for 29 more in a double-overtime win against Purdue, Hagins added just six after the break.
Roger Woods had 19 points for Little Rock.
Matt Thomas chipped in 16 points for Iowa State, which led 40-28 at halftime.
NO. 11 GONZAGA 92, NO. 3 UTAH
Gonzaga, looking like something much different than an 11 seed, rolled over Utah behind 22 points from Eric McClellan and a 19-point, 10-rebound effort from Domantas Sabonis.
This was a wire-to-wire effort even more impressive than their 16-point win over Seton Hall in the first round.
Next up for the Zags (28-7) is a game against Syracuse or Middle Tennessee in the Midwest Regional.
Kyle Wiltjer had 17 for Gonzaga, and went 3 for 4 from 3-point range.
This game was billed as a battle of big guys, between the 6-foot-11 Sabonis and Utah's 7-footer, Jakob Poeltl. That fizzled. Poeltl finished with five points and four rebounds. He got in foul trouble early — drawing his first when Sabonis spun to the baseline and left Poeltl grabbing to prevent the dunk.
NO. 4 DUKE 71, NO. 12 YALE 64
In a battle of brainy schools, Duke nearly got a tough lesson from Ivy League champion Yale.
Grayson Allen had 29 points, including five 3-pointers, to help Duke fend off a furious rally by Yale and advance to the Sweet 16.
Brandon Ingram added 25 points and five rebounds for the defending champions, who will play the winner of top-seeded Oregon and St. Joseph's.
The West Region's No. 4 seed led by as many as 27 points in the battle of the brainy schools before seeing that dwindle to just three points with less than a minute to play.
Yale came close to forcing a needed turnover, but eventually had to foul. Duke connected on four of its final five free-throws to close out the game.
Brandon Sherrod led the 12th-seeded Bulldogs with 22 points. Justin Sears added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
SUNDAY'S EARLY GAMES
Josh Hart scored a team-high 19 points and No. 2 Villanova coasted to an 87-68 victory over No. 7 Iowa. And Red Plfueger's tap-in with 1.5 seconds left gave No. 6 Notre Dame a thrilling 76-75 decision over No. 14 Stephen F. Austin.
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