Louisville's Wayne Blackshear (20) blocks the shot of Colorado State's Jon Octeus (5) during the first half of play in Louisville's 82-56 win on Saturday.
SALT LAKE CITY --- Ron Baker and Cleanthony Early each hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points as the ninth-seeded Wichita State Shockers stunned the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, 76-70. in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City.
Freshman Fred Van Vleet scored 13 points and added two 3-pointers of his own - including a crucial insurance basket down the stretch - as Wichita State (28-8) drilled a season-high 14 3-pointers. The Shockers will meet either Mississippi or La Salle in the Sweet 16 later next week in Los Angeles.
Kelly Olynyk tallied 26 points and nine rebounds, Kevin Pangos had 19 points and guard Mike Hart added a career-high 14 rebounds for Gonzaga (32-3), which saw its 15-game winning streak - as well as the most successful season in school history - come to an end.
Wichita State bookended a 16-1 spurt with two 3-pointers to turn a two-point deficit into a 26-13 cushion with seven minutes left in the first half while Gonzaga made only four of its first 20 field-goal attempts. However, Pangos and Elias Harris each drilled 3-pointers to rally the Bulldogs, who pulled within 36-31 at intermission behind five straight points from Olynyk.
Gonzaga held the Shockers to two field goals over the first 8:12 after the break and overtook Wichita State with a half-opening 18-5 run to build a 49-41 advantage, but could not hold the lead as the Shockers hit five straight 3-pointers over a 3:11 span to go ahead 72-67. Malcolm Armstead and VanVleet each hit a pair of free throws to account for the final margin.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Wichita State advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006. … Gonzaga shot 8-for-23 beyond the arc Saturday, but lost for the first time in 13 tries when hitting at least eight in a game. … The Shockers improved to 2-6 all-time playing against the nation’s top-ranked team.
NO. 1 LOUISVILLE 82, NO. 8 COLORADO STATE 56: Russ Smith scored 18 of his 27 points in the first half as the top-seeded Cardinals rolled past the Rams, 82-56, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky.
Gorgui Dieng tallied 11 points and led three other players in double figures for Louisville (31-5), which has won 12 straight games and will meet No. 12 Oregon on Friday in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis.
Greg Smith finished with 14 points to lead eighth-seeded Colorado State (26-9), which committed a season-high 20 turnovers after averaging the fewest giveaways of any team in the Mountain West.
The senior-laden Rams acquitted themselves early, but the Cardinals assumed control behind a combination of pressure-induced turnovers in the frontcourt and 13 points from Smith during a 27-10 run that broke open a tie game. In the first half alone, Louisville generated 18 points off 11 turnovers, outscored Colorado State 22-6 in the paint and added nine second-chance points.
The Cardinals’ unrelenting full-court pressure forced six more turnovers over the first 4:27 of the second half and Louisville scored 12 of the first 17 points after intermission, stretching the margin to 57-36 on a layup by Chane Behanan with 14 minutes remaining.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Louisville coach Rick Pitino advanced his team to the Sweet 16 for the 11th time. … Colorado State entered Saturday with the best rebounding margin in the country, but was outrebounded 29-24. … The Cardinals shot 56.4 percent Saturday and are converting 56.8 percent of their field-goal attempts through two NCAA Tournament games.
OREGON 74, SAINT LOUIS 57
SAN JOSE -- Oregon held Saint Louis to 19 first-half points en route to a 16-point lead, then thwarted every Billikens comeback attempt with offensive rebounding and accurate long-range shooting en route to a 74-57 victory Saturday in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional at HP Pavilion.
The win sends the Ducks (28-8), the Midwest’s 12th seed, on to the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis, where they’ll face overall No. 1 seed Louisville on Friday.
In earning its second Sweet 16 appearance in seven years, Oregon got 23 points from Damyean Dotson and 16 rebounds from Arsalan Kazemi and used a surprisingly effective zone defense to hold the Billikens, which had shot 46.3 percent in its second-round win over New Mexico on Thursday, to just 37.7 percent from the field and 3-for-21 from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Billikens (28-7) missed 17 of their 24 shots, including all 10 of their 3’s, in the first half while falling behind 35-19. But when Dwayne Evans opened the second half with a layup and then converted a Mike McCall Jr. steal into another easy hoop, the Atlantic-10 Conference champs suddenly had life.
Saint Louis, however, couldn’t take advantage of an Oregon turnover and a missed shot on its next two possessions, matching each with a similar failure of its own.
Then came a back-breaking sequence, when Kazemi rebounded three successive Oregon misses, including one of his own, converting the third offensive board into a layup that ended the Ducks’ drought and re-established a 37-23 advantage 2:16 into the half.
The Billikens got within 11 on three other occasions in the first 10 minutes of the half, but never got closer due in equal parts to Oregon’s ability to hit shots when it needed and their own failure to capitalize on what little momentum they gathered.
Kazemi, who had seven offensive rebounds in the game, converted another into a key hoop at the 11:35 mark after Saint Louis had gotten within 44-33. The Billikens had had two opportunities to get closer, but had turnovers on both possessions.
Dotson’s second 3-pointer of the second half came as part of a 7-0 Oregon run that immediately followed a Jordair Jett steal and layup that once again had gotten the Billikens within 11 at 48-37.
The play could have had disastrous ramifications for the Ducks, whose Carlos Emory hurt his left wrist on a fall while trying to block Jett’s shot. Emory, who iced his wrist during a stint on the bench, was later able to return to the game.
Kwamain Mitchell’s two free throws stopped Oregon’s seven-point run, but when Dotson nailed a third 3 for a 58-39 advantage with just 8:11 to go, the Ducks were able to coast home and set their sights on Indianapolis.
Emory and E.J. Singler added 14 points apiece for the Ducks, who shot 52.8 percent from the field. Dotson made five of his six 3’s as Oregon went 8-for-11 from beyond the arc.
Mitchell led Saint Louis with 18 points, but missed five of his seven 3’s. Evans hit eight of his 13 shots on a 16-point night, and Jett added 11.
Oregon outrebounded Saint Louis 38-27.
It took Oregon awhile to figure out the tight Saint Louis man-to-man defense, but once the Ducks got rolling, the only thing that could stop them in the first 20 minutes was the halftime horn en route to a shocking 35-19 lead.
Nothing about the first four minutes indicated Oregon could score 19 points in the half, let alone 35. The Ducks failed to score on their first five possessions (three missed shots and two turnovers), and when they turned the ball over a third time, they found themselves behind 7-2 just 4:15 into the game.
But then things turned around big time. Oregon, 1 of 4 from the field at that point, went on to make 14 of its last 21 shots in the half, including four of its last five 3-pointers. Perhaps the biggest blow was delivered by point guard Johnathan Loyd, who nailed a 24-foot 3-pointer just before the halftime horn to make it a 16-point game and send the large Oregon contingent into a frenzy.
Emory led the Ducks with 10 points in the first half, hitting 4 of 6 shots from the field. Dotson converted 4 of 5 from the field, including a 3-pointer, for nine points.
The Billikens, meanwhile, had no answer for Oregon’s zone defense. They settled for 3-pointers 10 times, failing to make one.
Evans was the only Saint Louis player to make more than one shot from the field in the half, going 3 of 4 en route to a team-high six points. His teammates combined to go 4 of 20 from the floor and the Billikens shot 29.2 percent.
NOTES: The meeting was just the second between Oregon and Saint Louis. Their only previous game came in the Far West Classic in Portland in 1976, with Oregon winning 59-55. … Singler entered the game as the winningest player in Oregon history with 88 career victories. … Saint Louis was bidding to reach the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. … Saint Louis, which had only 19 points at halftime, was held below 60 points just three times all season, beating Richmond in one of those games but losing the others to Kansas and Temple.
MICHIGAN STATE 70, MEMPHIS 48
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Gary Harris scored 23 points as the Spartans advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 11th time under coach Tom Izzo in a third-round NCAA Tournament game at Auburn Hills, Mich.
Michigan State (27-8), the No. 3 seed in the Midwest, advances to a meeting with either Duke or Creighton in the regional semifinals. The Spartans also got 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks from Adreian Payne and 13 points and eight boards from Derrick Nix.
Sixth-seeded Memphis (31-5) was led by Geron Johnson’s 16 points and Joe Jackson’s 12 points and seven boards. The Tigers connected on 5-of-23 3-pointers and were held to their lowest point total of the season.
The Spartans came out hot, taking a 26-13 lead with 7:59 to play in first half on Harris’ 3-pointer, which gave the freshman 14 of his 17 first-half points. But the Tigers rallied back, outscoring MSU 16-6 the rest of the half to pull within three at the break.
Michigan State also started out hot in the second half, going on an opening 13-3 run - punctuated by two straight Payne dunks - to take a 13-point lead with 12:24 to play and the Tigers never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Michigan State improved to 12-1 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, including a 4-0 mark in NCAA Tournament games. … Spartans G Keith Appling hurt his right shoulder in the second half and was taken to the locker room, but he returned to the bench and appeared to be OK. … Memphis shot 29.7 percent and was outrebounded 49-29.
MICHIGAN 78, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH 53
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Freshman Mitch McGary registered career highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Wolverines, who torched the No. 5 Rams “havoc” defense en route to an NCAA Tournament South Regional third-round victory at Auburn Hills, Mich.
McGary shot 10-of-11 from the field for Michigan (28-7) which will play either No. 1 Kansas or No. 8 North Carolina in the Sweet 16. Trey Burke added 18 points and seven assists while Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 14 each.
Juvonte Reddic scored 16 and Treveon Graham added 11 to lead VCU (27-9). The Rams entered the game forcing a turnover on 28.7 percent of opponents’ possessions, but caused just 12 against the Wolverines.
Burke scored 11 points in the first half as Michigan closed on a 20-6 run to take a 38-23 lead into halftime. Darius Theus and Reddic picked up two early fouls each as VCU shot just 30.3 percent overall and 1-for-8 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.
A Troy Daniels jumper and Reddic layup pulled the Rams within 38-27 with 18:32 to play, but McGary scored nine straight points for Michigan to push the cushion to 49-33 with 15:11 left. A 15-3 run - keyed by 10 points from Burke and Hardaway - put the game out of reach and the Rams never threatened down the stretch.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Michigan shot 51.7 percent compared to VCU’s 39.7 percent and 3-of-16 performance from beyond the arc. … The Rams, the first 11 seed in tournament history to reach the Final Four two years ago, entered 11th in the nation in scoring at 78 points per game. … Robinson finished with a game-high nine rebounds as the Wolverines outrebounded VCU 36-21.
ARIZONA 74, HARVARD 51
SALT LAKE CITY -- Mark Lyons scored 27 points and No. 6 Arizona jumped all over No. 14 Harvard from the opening tipoff as the Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 74-51 third-round win Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Wildcats showed early on that they weren’t about to be the victim of an upset, using their athleticism and height advantage to take an early double-digit lead that they never relinquished.
With strong wins over Belmont and the Ivy League school in hand, Arizona (27-7) advanced to play either Iowa State or Ohio State on Thursday in Los Angeles. The Wildcats, who missed out on the tournament last year, find themselves one win from returning to the Elite Eight, where they fell to Connecticut 65-63 in 2011.
Lyons provided an offensive punch in both halves for Arizona. He hit 12 of 17 shots, including five in a row after Harvard pulled within 14 during a brief spark in the second half.
Solomon Hill was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 12 of his 13 points in the first half when Arizona quickly established a large lead against the upset-minded Crimson.
Harvard’s blowout loss came two days after the 14th-seeded Crimson (20-10) pulled off the first big upset of the tournament with a 68-62 win over No. 3 New Mexico.
Kenyatta Smith (10 points) was the only Harvard player to score in double figures Saturday. Steve Moundou-Missi came off the bench for nine points, all in the first half.
The Crimson’s stars against New Mexico all struggled.
Wesley Saunders missed 10 of 11 shots and scored only eight points after tallying 19 against the Lobos. Laurent Rivard missed 5 of 6 shots and had just three points two days after his spunky 17-point outing.
Overall, Harvard shot a miserable 27.6 percent from the field. Arizona connected on 55.1 percent, including a 9-for-15 3-point showing.
From the tipoff, Harvard looked nothing like the composed team that rattled No. 3 New Mexico on Thursday.
Hill hit a jumper 16 seconds into the game, and that proved to be the beginning of the end for the Crimson.
Harvard missed its first 13 shots, including four layups, four 3-pointers and five from mid-range.
Center Kenyatta Smith hit two free throws at the 17:29 mark, when the Wildcats’ lead was only 5-2, but Harvard went more than five minutes before scoring again.
Point guard Siyani Chambers finally hit a basket for the Crimson -- seven minutes and 43 seconds into the ballgame.
By that point, Hill, Lyons, Brandon Ashley and Kevin Parrom had already made field goals for Arizona, which had a double-digit lead for good less than six minutes in.
Arizona led by as many as 22 points in the opening half; the Wildcats shot 58.3 percent compared to Harvard’s 25 percent. Hill (12 points) and Lyons (11 points) outscored the entire Crimson crew in the first 20 minutes.
NOTES: Center Kaleb Tarczewski plays for Arizona but is no stranger to Harvard. The freshman grew up in New England and graduated from St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Mass. That, by the way, is also where Harvard’s Laurent Rivard played prep ball. “But,” Arizona coach Sean Miller joked, “Kaleb probably didn’t want to study 15 hours a day to compete at the Ivy League.” … Arizona has a good overall record in NCAA games in Salt Lake City (7-2). The Wildcats’ two losses were big ones, having fallen as a No. 1 seed in 2000 and No. 2 in 1993. … These teams last met in 1966: Arizona 59, Harvard 58.
Marquette 74, Butler 72: Vander Blue scored 29 points as the third-seeded Golden Eagles came back to beat the sixth-seeded Bulldogs in an NCAA Tournament East Regional third-round game at Lexington, Ky.
Blue’s 3-pointer with 1:28 left tied the game at 69 before Jamil Wilson made two go-ahead free throws 40 seconds later for Marquette (25-8), which will play second-seeded Miami or seventh-seeded Illinois in its third consecutive Sweet 16. Wilson and Trent Lockett added 13 points each and the Golden Eagles shot 23-for-27 at the foul line.
Rotnei Clarke led Butler (27-9) with 24 points, but airballed a 3-pointer with the Bulldogs trailing 72-70 and five seconds remaining. Andrew Smith, who finished with 17 points, scored on a full-court pass with three seconds to go to pull the Golden Eagles within 74-72, but after Blue threw away the ensuing inbounds pass, Smith stumbled and missed an awkward 3-pointer at the buzzer.
After a Blue layup gave Marquette a 17-16 lead 8:49 into regulation, Clarke made a jumper 14 seconds later to give Butler a lead it would hold until late in the second half. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 35-27 at halftime before the Golden Eagles finally pulled back ahead 60-58 on a Blue dunk with 7:14 to go.
Smith scored four points in a 7-0 spurt as Butler took a 69-66 lead before Blue tied it with a corner 3 and Davante Gardner split at the line with 22 seconds left to make it 72-69 Marquette. Roosevelt Jones split at the foul line with 15 seconds left and Clarke’s misaligned deep ball came off that offensive rebound.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Blue, who was 8-for-8 from the foul line, made game-winning baskets in Marquette’s 59-58 opening-round win over No. 14 Davidson and the Golden Eagles’ regular-season finale against St. John’s, which clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title. … Butler beat Marquette 72-71 on a Clarke 3-pointer on Nov. 19 at the Maui Invitational earlier this season. … A Jones jumper with 3:31 left was waved off for offensive interference when Smith touched the rim. Jones, who was fouled on the play, split at the stripe.