NCAA Tournament roundup: No. 1 Zags escape with win over Southern
SALT LAKE CITY — Still don't think Gonzaga deserved that No. 1 seed? There might be a few more doubters now.
Entering the NCAA Tournament top-seeded and top-ranked for the first time in program history, the Zags nearly made another kind of history Thursday — coming only a few minutes and a rimmed-out shot or two from becoming the first 1 to lose to a 16.
Gonzaga prevailed, 64-58, over Southern University in a game that wasn't safely in hand until the final buzzer sounded. The Bulldogs (32-2) will play No. 9 Wichita State on Saturday.
Kelly Olynyk led the Zags with 21 points, though it was a pair of 3-pointers — one by Gary Bell Jr., the next by Kevin Pangos — that gave Gonzaga its small cushion after Southern (23-10) tied things at 56 with 3:45 left.
Arizona 81, Belmont 64 — In Salt Lake City, Mark Lyons scored 23 points and sixth-seeded Arizona rolled past No. 11 seed Belmont.
The Wildcats (26-7) used their huge size advantage to shut down the Bruins (26-7), who are 0-6 in tourney games.
Kerron Johnson led Belmont with 22 points, and Clark finished with 21.
Harvard 68, New Mexico 62 — In Salt Lake City, Wesley Saunders scored 18 points, and Laurent Rivard had 17 to help 14th-seeded Harvard (20-9) beat New Mexico (29-6) for the program's first NCAA Tournament win.
Louisville 79, North Carolina A&T 48 — In Lexington, Ky., Russ Smith scored 23 points and set a Louisville NCAA Tournament record with a career-high eight steals, and Peyton Siva had eight assists as the Cardinals (30-5) routed North Carolina A&T (20-17).
Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54 — In Auburn Hills, Mich., Derrick Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power third-seeded Michigan (26-8) State past 14th-seeded Valparaiso (26-8).
Memphis 54, Saint Mary's 52 — In Auburn Hills, Mich., Matthew Dellavedova's 3-pointer from the right wing sailed long as time expired, allowing sixth-seeded Memphis (31-4) to hold on for a win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary's (28-7).
Oregon 68, Oklahoma St. 55 — In San Jose, Calif., Damyean Dotson scored 17 points, and Arsalan Kazemi added 11 points and 17 rebounds to help 12th-seeded Oregon (24-9) win its first NCAA Tournament game in six years with in a lopsided game over fifth-seeded Oklahoma State (24-9).
Saint Louis 64, New Mexico State 44 — In San Jose, Calif., Saint Louis (28-6) had no problem maneuvering around 7-foot-5 freshman Sim Bhullar and New Mexico State. Dwayne Evans scored 24 points, Cody Ellis added 12 points and the fourth-seeded Billikens overwhelmed the 13th-seeded Aggies (24-11).
The Billikens held Bhullar, who attended Kiski School, to four points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Colorado St. 84, Missouri 72 — In Lexington, Ky., Dorian Green scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half and eighth-seeded Colorado State (26-8) used good shooting to run away from No. 9 Missouri (23-11). Phil Pressey's 20 points led the Tigers.
Butler 68, Bucknell 56 — In Lexington, Ky., Andrew Smith had a double-double with a career-high 16 rebounds and 14 points, and Butler made 18 of 20 free throws down the stretch to hold off No. 11 Bucknell (28-6).
Roosevelt Jones added 14 points for the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (27-8).
California 64, UNLV 61 — In San Jose, Calif., Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, reserve Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and 12th-seeded California held off fifth-seeded UNLV (25-10).
Buoyed by the crowd support of a strong contingent so close to Berkeley, the Golden Bears (21-11) held the Runnin' Rebels without a basket for more than 11 minutes in the second half.
Syracuse 81, Montana 34 — In San Jose, Calif., Brandon Triche scored 20 points, C.J. Fair added 13 and fourth-seeded Syracuse (27-9) shut down No. 13 seed Montana (25-7) with its zone defense to close out play Thursday.
Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56 — In Auburn Hills, Mich., Glenn Robinson III scored 21 points and Mitch McGary added 13 points and nine rebounds, helping fourth-seeded Michigan (27-7) overcome a rough night for Trey Burke to beat 13th-seeded South Dakota State (25-10).
VCU 88, Akron 42 — In Auburn Hills, Mich., Troy Daniels had 23 points, Juvonte Reddic scored 21 in the most lopsided victory by a fifth-seeded team over a No. 12 in tournament history. The Rams (27-8) play fourth-seeded Michigan on Saturday for a spot in the round of 16.
McKeesport graduate Zeke Marshall had 11 points and five rebounds for Akron (26-7).