(WCMH) – The men’s NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing and, as usual, the games didn’t disappoint. Several higher seeds cemented their spots in to the next round, but a few favorites – including a potential final four team – fell flat on their faces.
Here’s a recap of the six best games from Thursday:
#7 Rhode Island – 83, #10 Oklahoma – 78 F/OT
The Sooners looked like they might give fans their first upset of the tournament backed by a dominant performance by freshman guard Trae Young. But a poor three-point performance combined with 14 turnovers by the Sooners allowed the Rams to take control of the second half, forcing Young to hit two free throws with 15 seconds left just to tie force overtime according to NBC Sports.
And overtime was all the Rams needed to pull out the victory. Sooners’ Christian James had two late turnovers, allowing the Rams’ E.C. Matthews to hit a three-point jumper putting the Rams up by two with just under two minutes left in the game. A Kameron McGusty layup put Oklahoma down by two after a pair of Rams free throws, but Matthews hit another three-pointer with 29 seconds left to go up by five.
That was enough to keep the Rams out front.
Young’s 28-point performance seemed all for nothing, as he got little help from his team. Jamuci McNeace was the only other player to score double digits with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. The Rams had four players in double digits, including a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double from sophomore Cyril Langevine.
The Rams play Duke this Saturday at 2:40pm EST.#4 Gonzaga – 68, #13 UNCG – 64
The Bulldogs got a little bit of a scare in the first round after making it to the championship game last year, as the Spartans surged in the second half, taking the lead with 1:59 left in the game. Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins hit a 19-foot jumper to tie the game with 54 seconds left, but UNCG couldn’t find the bottom of the basket the rest of the game, despite the Bulldogs missing three of their last four free throws. A costly offensive foul by Spartans’ junior guard Francis Arlonzo with 21 seconds left in the game forced UNCG to begin fouling.
The Bulldogs hit a late free throw to go up 64-68, but the Spartans continued their late game slump, as Garrett Collins lost the ball with six seconds left in the game.
Both team shot extremely poor from three-point range, with the Bulldogs going five for 23 and the Spartans going three for 22. Both teams had 3 players in double digits, and both teams also had seven assists.
Gonzaga faces Ohio State this Saturday at 7:45pm EST.#1 Kansas – 76, #16 Penn – 60
The score shows a dominant performance by the Jayhawks, but the game was closer than it looks. The Jayhawks closed out the first half only up by 7 points, and came out strong in the second half to go up by 13 with about 14 minutes left in the game. But the Quakers went on an 8-0 run with a little more than 11 minutes left in the game to put them within 5 points, but an almost 3 minute scoreless streak allowed Kansas to slowly pull away.
Jayhawks senior Devonte’ Graham lead the team in points (29) and assists (6), including an important three-point jumper with about 6 minutes left in the game which put Kansas up by 11. Junior Guard Lagerald Vick also had 14 points, shooting five-of-seven from the field and two-of-four from three-point range.
Quakers guard AJ Brodeur led the team with 14 points, but also committed five of the team’s eleven turnovers. Senior Caleb Wood also had 14 points and went two-for-two from the free-throw line.
Kansas plays Seton Hall in the second round on Saturday at 7:10pm EST.#11 Loyola Chicago – 64, #6 Miami (FL) – 62
The Ramblers stunned viewers and the Hurricanes, sinking a last-second long three-point jumper to cement their seat in the next round and supply the tournament with their first upset.
Loyola Chicago came out fast, holding a lead consistently through the first half before Miami tied the game on a last second jumper.
At the start of the second half, the Hurricanes came out as fast as the Ramblers did in the first, jumping out to a seven-point lead with 14:22 left in the game.
But the Ramblers wouldn’t go away.
Loyola Chicago held Miami scoreless for almost three minutes, allowing them to get within two points. Ramblers’ senior guard Clayton Custer hit a 23-foot three-point jumper to tie the game with 1:10 left in the second half, but Hurricanes senior guard Ja’Quan Newton sank a 16-foot jumper to put Miami up two with 39 seconds left in the game.
After the Ramblers’ Marques Townes made only one of two free throws to cut Miami’s lead to just one, the Hurricanes turned the ball over after Chris Lykes had the ball knocked off his leg and out of bounds.
Loyola Chicago couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, however, missing two layup chances and having to foul with nine seconds left in the game.
But the Ramblers got another shot, as Walker missed his first free throw. The Ramblers pushed the ball down the court, and a quick pass to Donte Ingram allowed him to put up a long, 24-foot three-pointer for the win.
As the teams swarmed on to the court, referees confirmed that time hadn’t quite expired in the game, as the Hurricanes had just .3 seconds left to throw up a Hail Mary.
But the pass never made it to a Hurricane.
Miami shot over 50 percent from the field, and even went four-for-nine from three point range, but The Ramblers had great ball movement and defense, recording 19 assists and forcing 16 turnovers.
The Ramblers play Tennessee on Saturday at 6:10pm EST.#4 Arizona – 68, #13 Buffalo – 89
The Wildcats were a potential final four team, but their season came to an abrupt end last night as Arizona saw one of the worst losses in the tournament this far, losing by 21 points to #13 seed Buffalo according to NBC Sports.
The Bulls jumped out to an early lead, and stayed out in front of the Wildcats until Arizona took a short lead with 7:55 left in the first half. The teams traded the lead back and forth through the end of the first half, but the second half went to the Bulls.
A 16-foot jump shot from Dusan Ristic put Arizona up by one with 17:22 left in the game, but that’s the last time they saw the lead.
Buffalo hit seven of their next 11 shots, including three three-pointers, and added two free throws. And while Arizona also scored on their drives, the Bulls started putting the game out of reach.
The Bulls went scoreless for more than two minutes late in the second half, but the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize, as they also went scoreless in the same period. And when Arizona finally started hitting their shots again, Buffalo also came alive, hitting three of their next four including a Nick Perkins 24-foot three-pointer.
That put Buffalo up by 17.
The game couldn’t have gone any better for the Bulls, as they shot over 50 percent from the field and shot 50 percent from three. The Wildcats shot just shy of 50 percent from the field (29-64), but shot a dismal two for 18 from three-point range. Buffalo also had four players in double digits, and two players over 20 points.
Buffalo will play Kentucky on Saturday at 5:15pm EST.#5 Ohio State – 81, #12 South Dakota State – 73
The final score may not reflect how close this game truly was, as the Buckeyes beat the Jackrabbits by eight to advance to the third round of the tournament.
Ohio State started slow, missing their first three shots of the game before Jae’Sean Tate hit a 26-foot jump shot to put his team on the board.
The Buckeyes and Jackrabbits traded shots continuously after that, as Ohio State moved the ball extremely well, recording 15 assists in the game.
South Dakota State also had some key standouts, as junior forward Mike Daum had 27 points and shot 50 percent from three-point range.
But the star of the game was the Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, whose 24 point, 13 rebound game lifted the Buckeyes late to move on to the next round.
A late surge by the Buckeyes followed by a couple of costly misses by the Jackrabbits followed by a couple made free throws by the Buckeyes late put the game out of reach. The Buckeyes hit their last 6 free throws, and the Jackrabbits couldn’t overcome the deficit, as South Dakota State missed their last four shots from the field.
The Buckeyes out-rebounded the Jackrabbits 47 to 39, including 15 offensive rebounds. The Buckeyes also played good defense, recording 10 steals in the victory.
Ohio State’s next game is against Gonzaga on Saturday at 7:45pm EST.