NCAA Latest: Time to see if upstarts can reach Sweet 16


The Latest on the second round of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):

12:05 a.m.

Auburn is going back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.

Bryce Brown made eight of his first nine shots and finished with 25 points to lift the fifth-seeded Tigers to an 89-75 victory over Kansas.

This was a wire-to-wire runaway against the fourth-seeded Jayhawks, an injury riddled group that came into the NCAA Tournament without a conference title for the first time in 15 seasons.

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Auburn alum Charles Barkley went nuts while watching in the TV studio, as the Tigers (28-9) rolled two days after barely hanging on for a one-point win over New Mexico State.

Jared Harper had 18 for the Tigers, who will play either North Carolina or Washington on Friday in the Midwest Region semifinals.

Led by Brown’s 7-for-11 effort from 3, the Tigers made 13 from behind the arc on 30 attempts.

Dedric Lawson led the Jayhawks (26-10) with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

—Eddie Pells reporting from Salt Lake City


10:55 p.m.

Auburn is threatening to shoot Kansas out of the bracket.

The Tigers opened with a barrage of 3-pointers, then started going inside while building a 51-25 halftime lead in their second round game in the Midwest Region.

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Auburn led by 17 in the opening eight minutes and made 20 of 36 shots. The Tigers are 9 of 17 from the 3-point arc, with Bryce Brown hitting 6 of 7 for 17 points.

Kansas has struggled against the Tigers’ defensive pressure and struggled to shoot from the perimeter, going 1 for 10 from 3-point range.

Auburn is seeking its first Sweet 16 since 2003.

— John Marshall reporting from Salt Lake City


10:40 p.m.

It was the most lopsided NCAA Tournament loss for a defending champ in nearly three decades.

Carsen Edwards scored a career-high 42 points, and Purdue knocked defending champ Villanova out of the tournament with an 87-61 rout.

The last time a defending champ was beaten that badly was when Loyola-Marymount ran past Michigan 149-115 in 1990.

Matt Haarms added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Boilermakers (25-9), who advanced to their third straight Sweet 16.

Eric Paschall had 19 for Villanova (26-10), which saw its quest for a third national title in the last four seasons fall short. Fellow senior Phil Booth scored 15 points, putting him over 1,500 for his career.

Edwards has battled a sore back and had been in a recent shooting slump, making just 7 of 23 shots from the field in Purdue’s first-round win over Old Dominion.

He found the bottom of the net early and often against Villanova, making 12 of his 21 shots, including nine of 16 from behind the arc.

Some other recent tournament blowouts suffered by defending champs:

1998: Utah beat Arizona 76-51.

2001: Arizona beat Michigan State 80-61.

2011: Arizona beat Duke 93-77.

2018: Texas A&M beat North Carolina 86-65.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


10:20 p.m.

The defending champions are getting blown out.

Purdue, which has led by as many as 35 points, is up 66-42 on Villanova with 7:43 remaining. Carsen Edwards has 30 points for the Boilermakers.

Villanova senior Phil Booth has just seven points, leaving him one shy of 1,500 for his career. It looks like the Wildcats will continue a five-year pattern that has seen them go out in the second round, win a national title, go out in the second round, win a national title and go out again in the second round.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


10:05 p.m.

Michigan State is finally back in the Sweet 16.

The Spartans ran away from undermanned Big Ten foe Minnesota for a 70-50 victory in the second round of the East Region to set up a matchup with LSU next week in Washington.

Xavier Tillman led the way for Michigan State with 14 points in 22 minutes. The Spartans lost in either the second or first round in each of the last three years.

The Gophers had to play without star forward Jordan Murphy, who had back spasms and was forced out after only four minutes of action in the first half.

Murphy went into the game briefly in the closing stretch so the Minnesota fans could give the senior a proper send-off. He had tears in his eyes as he walked gingerly back to the bench and hugged his coaches and teammates.


9:40 p.m.

Carsen Edwards seems to have shot himself out of his slump.

The Purdue star, who was 7 for 23 from the field Thursday, hit five of his nine first-half shots Saturday. He has 17 points, and the Boilermakers lead defending national champion Villanova 43-24 at the start of the second half.

Center Matt Haarms did the bulk of the work down low. The Dutchman, who at 7-foot-3 towered over the shorter Wildcats, has 12 points.

Purdue’s defense held Villanova to nine baskets on 24 shots (38 percent).

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


9:30 p.m.

Gonzaga is headed to the Sweet 16 for a fifth straight season.

Brandon Clarke had 36 points, eight rebounds and blocked five shots, lifting the top-seed Zags to an 83-71 win over Baylor in the West Region.

The Zags (32-3) put on an offensive and defensive show in the first half, building a 16-point lead.

The Bears (20-14) caught Gonzaga off guard by switching defenses, reeling off 10 straight points start the second half and pull to 43-38.

Gonzaga righted itself and kept Baylor at arm’s length, earning a spot in the Sweet 16 against Florida State on Thursday in Anaheim, California.

The Zags are headed to their eighth Sweet 16 in 20 seasons under coach Mark Few.

Mark Vital and Makai Mason led Baylor with 17 points each.

— John Marshall reporting from Salt Lake City.


9:05 p.m.

No. 2 seed Michigan State is off to a much stronger start in its all-Big Ten second-round game in the East Region against Minnesota.

After struggling to separate from No. 15 seed Bradley in the first round, the Spartans have a 33-19 lead on the Gophers at halftime in Des Moines, Iowa.

Minnesota fell behind by as much as 20 points, badly missing star forward Jordan Murphy. The senior played only four minutes in the first half after injuring his back at the end of a first-round win over Louisville. Murphy was walking around gingerly on the sideline, trying to get loose. The Gophers are already thinned in the frontcourt by a foot injury that sophomore Eric Curry suffered a little more than two weeks ago.

The Gophers are just 2 for 16 from 3-point range, after making 11 of 27 in the first round.

Kenny Goins has nine points for Michigan State, which has failed to reach the Sweet 16 for the last three years.


9 p.m.

Purdue’s Carsen Edwards is on an early tear against the defending champs.

Edwards is 4 of 6 from the field — all from 3-point range, and the Boilermakers lead Villanova 27-15 just over halfway through the first half. Purdue has already made seven 3s.

Boilermakers center Matt Haarms scored their first two baskets with a dunk and a follow-up layup of his own miss against the much smaller front line of the Wildcats.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


8:15 p.m.

Florida State was too much for Ja Morant and Murray State to handle.

Mfiondu Kabengele scored 22 points, Terance Mann added 18 and the Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 by overwhelming the Racers 90-62.

Morant, in what was almost certainly his final college game, scored 28 points, 18 of them in the first half. The rest of the Racers combined for 34 points.

The much bigger Seminoles shot 51 percent from the floor and dominated down low, outscoring the Racers 44-26 in the paint and winning the rebounding battle 45-33. Florida State’s bench outscored Murray State’s 47-6.

Florida State will face either top seed Gonzaga or Baylor in Anaheim on Thursday.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


8:10 p.m.

Gonzaga is running away from Baylor in the West Region.

Led by Brandon Clarke, the top-seeded Zags have dominated at both ends to lead the Bears 39-23 at halftime.

One of the nation’s most efficient offensive and defensive teams, the Zags made 15 of 27 shots in the first half and made life miserable for No. 9 Baylor on offense. Even Gonzaga’s alley-oops are swishing through: Geno Crandall tried to hit Clarke, and it went straight into the basket for a 3-pointer.

Clarke has 16 points, including two monster dunks. He blocked three shots and altered several others.

Baylor is 1 for 10 from the 3-point arc after hitting a school NCAA Tournament record 16 against Syracuse in its opener.

— John Marshall reporting from Salt Lake City.


8:05 p.m.

Purdue has put its defensive stopper back in the starting lineup.

Nojel Eastern is in the lineup that was handed out before Saturday night’s game against defending champion Villanova. He missed most of the Boilermakers’ first-round win over Old Dominion after twisting an ankle before the game.

Purdue is looking to make its third straight trip to the Sweet 16, which would be a first for the program since 1998-2000.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


7:40 p.m.

Michigan is headed to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season.

The second-seeded Wolverines held 10th-seeded Florida to 21 points in the second half, beating the Gators 64-49 to advance to the regional semifinals.

Jordan Poole led Michigan with 19 points. The Wolverines will face either Texas Tech or Buffalo in the next round.

Florida shot 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and 3 of 14 in the second.


7:05 p.m.

Ja Morant scored 18 points and made all five of his 3-point shots, but Florida State dominated everywhere else and leads 12th-seeded Murray State 50-34 at halftime.

Defense is usually the Seminoles’ forte’, but they were sharp offensively, starting 8 for 11 from 3 and shooting 51.3 percent overall in the half. While Morant carried the Racers, fourth-seeded Florida State got contributions from all over: Mfiondu Kabengle and RaiQuan Gray had 11 points each and Terrance Mann scored 10, including a couple of highlight-reel dunks.

— Ralph D. Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


6:40 p.m.

Ja Morant made his first five 3-point shots, to go with three assists, two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot, but Florida State is getting contributions from all over and leads 12th-seeded Murray State 37-26 with 7:12 left in the first half.

The Seminoles are 7 for 10 from 3-point range, including three from RaiQuan Gray.

Morant’s first shot of the game was a 3-pointer from up top that he swished. He followed it up with a no-look pass to Shaq Buchanan for a layup.

Morant briefly came up limping at one point, but he remained in the game and seemed OK.

— Ralph D. Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


6:30 p.m.

No. 10 seed Florida is hanging with second-seeded Michigan midway through an NCAA second-round game in the West Region.

The Wolverines are controlling the inside and lead 32-28 at halftime, but the Gators’ 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range has kept it close.

Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole and Zavier Simpson have seven points apiece for the Wolverines. Big Ten newcomer of the year Ignas Brazdeikis has gotten off to a slow start, going 1 for 6 and sitting out the last 3:50 of the half with two fouls.

Noah Locke leads the Gators with eight points.

— Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa.


6:15 p.m.

Phil Cofer was on the floor with his teammates for the playing of the national anthem before Florida State met Murray State in the West Region. The senior forward found out after Thursday’s game that his father had died.

Cofer was not in uniform and was wearing a plastic boot on his sore right foot. He listened to the anthem with his head down and rubbed at his eyes. After the song was over, teammate Terrance Mann, standing next to Cofer, gave him a hug and a pat on the chest. The teams left the floor before introductions and some Murray State players came over to Cofer to give him a hug or pat on the back.

Cofer was on the bench wearing a warmup suit at the start of the game.

— Ralph D. Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


5:35 p.m.

A couple of guys who played basketball together in grade school are on opposite sides in the second-round NCAA Tournament game between Florida and Michigan.

Gators freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard and Wolverines freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis were teammates on a club team called the Panthers when they were in fifth and sixth grade in suburban Toronto. They also played together on the Canadian national team in the 2016 under-17 world championship.

Both are key cogs for their teams. Nembhard has started all 35 games and hit the winning last-second shot to beat LSU in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, a win that secured the Gators’ at-large bid.

Brazdeikis is the Big Ten newcomer of the year award winner. He leads the Wolverines with 15 points per game.

— Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


5:25 p.m.

Florida State forward Phil Cofer did not join his team on the court for its stretching session before Saturday’s game with Murray State.

Cofer found out Thursday that his father, former NFL linebacker Mike Cofer, had died at age 58 after a long illness. Phil Cofer sat out the Seminoles’ first-round win over Vermont with a foot injury that has been bothering him since the preseason.

The Florida State team and staff are all wearing black pins with the initials “MC.”

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


5:15 p.m.

Second-seeded Kentucky clamped down on Fletcher Magee and beat Wofford 62-56 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was Wofford’s first loss in 22 games.

Reid Travis had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (29-6), who advanced to the Sweet 16.

Magee finished with eight points on 4-of-17 shooting. He missed all 12 of his shots from behind the arc.

The Terriers hit 8 of 27 from 3-point range, including 3 of 15 in the second half.

Nathan Hoover led Wofford (30-5) with 19 points and made four 4s.

— Mark Long reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


5 p.m.

Wofford’s Fletcher Magee is struggling from long range against second-seeded Kentucky.

Magee, who set the Division I record for career 3-pointers in the first round, missed his first 10 attempts from behind the arc against the Wildcats. Tyler Herro has been primarily responsible for guarding Magee.

Magee is 4-for-15 from the field. He hit seven 3s in the team’s first NCAA Tournament victory, against Seton Hall.

Nathan Hoover has 19 points thanks mostly to four 3s, and the Terriers have kept it close despite a notable size discrepancy.

Kentucky leads 58-54 with under 2:00 to play.

— Mark Long reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


4:45 p.m.

Central Florida’s Johnny Dawkins was hesitant about coaching his son, Aubrey, when the younger Dawkins decided to transfer after two seasons at Michigan. But things could not have worked out much better for those two.

The ninth-seeded Knights will take on top overall seed Duke for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Sunday. Johnny Dawkins used to train Aubrey as a boy and teenager after his day job either as a Duke assistant from 1998 to 2008 or as Stanford head coach after that.

Dad was concerned the good father-son relationship might strain if Aubrey played for him, but friends and fellow coaches like Steve Alford said he shouldn’t miss that experience.

“They were absolutely right,” Johnny Dawkins said Saturday.

Aubrey Dawkins, a redshirt junior, is averaging 15.1 points a game. Aubrey Dawkins has also loved the time together. He likes that his father treats him like the rest of his teammates.

“We don’t see it as father-son,” UCF center Tacko Fall said. “We see all of us as his sons.”

— Pete Iacobelli reporting from Columbia, South Carolina.


4:30 p.m.

A GoFundMe page has drawn more than $30,000 in donations for the family of Florida State forward Phil Cofer, who found out after Thursday’s game his father had died after a long illness.

Mike Cofer, a former NFL linebacker, died at age 58. His son was expected to remain with the team for Saturday’s second-round West Region game against Murray State, but it was unclear if Phil Cofer would play. He missed the Seminoles’ first game against Vermont with a foot injury.

The official FSU Hoops Twitter account tweeted out a link to the GoFundMe, and the Murray State Sports account retweeted it.

— Ralph D. Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


4 p.m.

Kentucky has pulled ahead at halftime of its Midwest Regional game against Wofford.

The second-seeded Wildcats finished the opening half on a 10-2 run, going to the locker room with a 28-26 lead.

Kentucky is doing a good job on Wofford star Fletcher Magee, who has only two points on 1-of-6 shooting. The NCAA Division I career leader in 3-pointers has missed all four of his attempts beyond the arc.

Reid Travis leads Kentucky’s balanced attack with six points. Nathan Hoover is pacing seventh-seeded Wofford with 11.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


3:25 p.m.

It may be a No. 9 seed going against top-seeded Virginia on Sunday, but don’t call Oklahoma a Cinderella.

In the South bracket, where three double-digit seeds survived the first round and the winner of Sunday’s Oklahoma-Virginia game will play the winner of No. 12 Oregon and No. 13 UC Irvine, Sooners guard Christian James says the slipper doesn’t fit his team.

James says Oklahoma expected to be in the tournament’s second round even after a five-game losing streak during Big 12 play.

The senior was also part of the Oklahoma team that went to the Final Four in 2016.

— Jeffrey Collins reporting from Columbia, South Carolina.


2:45 p.m.

A buzzer beater at the NCAA Tournament.

Tremont Waters drove around three defenders and flipped in a shot with 1.6 seconds remaining to give LSU a 69-67 victory over Maryland in the second round of the East Region.

Maryland rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half, setting up the thrilling finish. Skylar Mays hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, giving LSU a 67-64 lead, but Jalen Smith answered from the corner with 26 seconds remaining to tie it.

The first round of this tournament was a bit light on exciting finishes. New Mexico State’s Trevelin Queen shot an air ball from the wing, missing a chance to beat Auburn, and Iowa State’s Nick Weiler-Babb missed a 3-pointer against Ohio State that would have tied the game.

Waters took advantage of his opportunity. He ran the clock down, got a pick near the foul line and drove down the right side of the lane to make the game winner.

Third-seeded LSU (28-6) is heading to the Sweet 16 for first time since reaching the Final Four in 2006. The Tigers will face the winner of the Michigan State-Minnesota game. Those teams are playing Saturday night. Maryland finishes 23-11.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


1:15 p.m.

LSU is handling Maryland in the post and on the scoreboard.

Naz Reid has 8 points, all of them in the paint, and the Tigers lead the Terrapins 38-29 at halftime on Saturday.

No. 3 seed LSU has doubled up sixth-seeded Maryland in the paint, 20-10. The Tigers also played exceptional defense, holding Maryland to 28.6 percent from the field and forcing six turnovers.

Maryland trailed by as many 15 midway through the half, but got it under double digits thanks to two late 3-pointers by Aaron Wiggins. Wiggins hit one with 1:01 remaining and another with four ticks left.

It didn’t help Maryland that forward Jalen Smith picked up two fouls and played less than 10 minutes.

— Mark Long reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


12:10 p.m.

Time to see whether the upstarts of the NCAA Tournament can dance their way to the Sweet 16.

Seventh seeded Wofford of the Southern Conference plays No. 2 seed Kentucky on Saturday in a game that will test how the team outside the Power Five is set up for a deep run.

The Terriers have won 21 straight games and haven’t lost since Dec. 19. They were ranked in the AP Top 25 for much of the season. Kentucky is favored by 5 but is playing without leading scorer and rebounder PJ Washington because of a foot sprain.

No. 12 seed Murray State also plays Florida State in the West, riding high behind Ja Morant and his virtuoso performance with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in a rout of fifth-seeded Marquette in the first round.


11:45 a.m.

The Big Ten leads the tournament among conferences with seven teams still in and a 7-1 record.

It’s even set up for a less than ideal second-round matchup between No. 2 seed Michigan State and 10th-seeded Minnesota.

Here’s a quick look at the rest of the conference records going into Round 2 among those that have teams remaining, including the first four play-in games:

— Big Ten, 7-1, 7 teams left

— SEC, 5-2, 5 teams

— ACC, 5-2, 5 teams

— Big 12, 4-2, 4 teams

— Pac-12, 3-1, 2 teams

— American Athletic, 2-2, 2 teams

— Ohio Valley, 2-1, 1 team

— Big West, Southern, MAC, Atlantic Sun, 1-0, 1 team each

— West Coast, 1-1, 1 team

— Big East, 1-3, 1 team.


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