Dayton stuns Syracuse 55-53 to advance
AP Sports Writer
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Dyshawn Pierre scored 14 points and Jordan Sibert hit a key 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds left as Dayton stunned Syracuse 55-53 Saturday night to earn a spot in Sweet 16 for the first time in three decades.
Syracuse was poised to pull out another close victory, but Tyler Ennis' 3-point attempt clanged off the rim at the buzzer.
Dayton (25-10), the 11th seed in the South Regional, advances to the regional semifinals next week and will play Kansas or Stanford.
The third-seeded Orange (28-6), who finished second in their first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, struggled all game against the swarming Dayton defense, missing all 10 attempts from beyond the arc, while the Flyers hit seven times from long range.
Florida 61, Pittsburgh 45
AP Sports Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Scottie Wilbekin sat on the bench for the final minute, holding a bag of ice against his left knee.
It was about the only time he wasn't giving Pittsburgh huge problems on both ends of the court.
Wilbekin scored 21 points, including 11 of the team's 13 during a 7-minute stretch in the second half, and top-seeded Florida handled the Panthers 61-45 in the NCAA tournament Saturday. The Gators' 28th consecutive win put them in the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year.
The latest victory followed a lackluster and head-scratching performance in the team's NCAA opener against Albany two days earlier.
The Gators vowed to play with more energy and intensity, and Wilbekin spearheaded the effort.
"We just wanted to come out and not let them play harder than us or not play as hard as we can," Wilbekin said. "I think we did a good job of having our energy up at the start of the game, and we played together on offense and played together on defense."
Wilbekin took over in the second half, scoring eight consecutive points at one point. Patric Young wasn't too shabby, either, finishing with seven points and eight rebounds. Will Yeguete added eight points — all in the paint.
The Gators have the longest current streak of Sweet 16 appearances.
Michigan 79, Texas 65
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Nik Stauskas and Michigan figured out the best way to overcome Texas' advantage inside.
Just keeping hitting from long range.
Stauskas made four of Michigan's 14 3-pointers, and the Wolverines beat the Longhorns 79-65 on Saturday to advance to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
Stauskas finished with 17 points and eight assists as Michigan (27-8) moved on to next week's Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis. The second-seeded Wolverines will face the winner of Sunday's Mercer-Tennessee game.
Isiah Taylor scored 22 points for Texas on 8-for-22 shooting. The seventh-seeded Longhorns (24-11) outrebounded the Wolverines 41-30, but got off to a slow start and never recovered.
Michigan shot 14 for 28 from 3-point range and 17 for 21 at the free throw line in its ninth win in the last 10 games. Morgan had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III had 14 points each.
Texas trailed by 18 points early in the second half, but used its defense and rebounding to get back in the game. Martez Walker hit two free throws and Taylor had a jumper to trim Michigan's lead to 58-52 with 8 minutes left.
That's when Robinson stepped up for the Wolverines, driving inside for a score. After Connor Lammert turned it over for the Longhorns, Robinson hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-52 with 6:43 remaining.
San Diego St. 63, North Dakota St. 44
AP Sports Writer
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Xavier Thames dropped in 3s from deep, finessed floaters in the lane and carried San Diego State the way he did all season as the Mountain West player of the year.
Thames would not let North Dakota State become this year's version of Florida Gulf Coast by sending the Aztecs home in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Thames scored 30 points, and fourth-seeded San Diego State reached the round of 16 for the second time in school history, ending the run of No. 12 seed North Dakota State 63-44 on Saturday.
The Aztecs (31-4) now get to make the short drive up the interstate to Anaheim, Calif., where they will face either No. 1 seed Arizona or eighth-seeded Gonzaga in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday.
Thames, who was 9 of 19 from the field, had five assists and ended the comeback hopes of the Bison with a six-point spurt late in the second half that pushed the Aztecs' lead to 12.
Dwayne Polee II was the only other San Diego State player in double figures with 15, but the Aztecs didn't need a ton of scoring with Thames carrying the load and another defensive performance that suffocated the best shooting team in the country.
Kory Brown led the Bison (26-7) with 13 points, but it was the struggles of leading scorer Taylor Braun that had North Dakota State trying to play catch up. Braun missed nine straight shots during one stretch. Sometimes he was guarded by Thames. Other times it was J.J. O'Brien taking a turn on the Summit League player of the year.
North Dakota State was one of three No. 12 seeds to help create another manic March by upsetting No. 5 seed Oklahoma 80-75 in overtime in the second round on Thursday. They had the players and the personality to become this year's version of FGCU — just minus all those dunks.
Thames wasn't going to allow that to happen. The memories were still fresh of the flight home last year after San Diego State become one of those teams FGCU dunked all over on its way to an unforgettable March run.