NCAA Tournament roundup: LSU gets last-second layup to defeat Maryland
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s probably the same play suspended LSU coach Will Wade would have called.
After all, it worked several times during the regular season. And now it has sent the Tigers to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006.
Tremont Waters drove by three defenders and scooped in a banking layup with 1.6 seconds remaining to give third-seeded LSU a 69-67 victory over sixth-seeded Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
“Great players make great plays, and he made a great play,” interim coach Tony Benford said.
After Maryland’s Eric Ayala failed to get off a shot from midcourt before the final buzzer, LSU players mobbed Waters under the basket. They could have done the same to Skylar Mays, who scored 16 points and hit a clutch 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to put the Tigers (28-6) up 67-64.
Jalen Smith answered on the other end, sending the crowd into a frenzy and prompting LSU to call timeout.
Benford dialed up the final play for Waters, a dynamic sophomore who has been terrific all season.
The 5-foot-11 Waters got a pick from big man Naz Reid, drove into the lane and somehow got off the winner.
Wade could celebrate only from afar. The coach was banished indefinitely after details emerged about him talking to a recruiting middleman about an offer he made to a high schooler. If true, Wade violated NCAA rules.
Waters finished with 12 points and five assists. Reid added 13 points, and Darius Days chipped in 10.
LSU outscored Maryland, 34-24, in the paint.
Smith led Maryland with 15 points. Bruno Fernando added 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Kentucky 62, Wofford 56 — Everywhere Fletcher Magee turned, there was a hand in his face, a body in his way, a relentless wave of blue that was intent on making sure he never found any alone time.
Kentucky shut down the most prolific 3-point scorer in Division I history.
Thanks to that stifling defensive effort, the Wildcats are moving on in the NCAA Tournament.
Magee missed all 12 attempts from long range in his final college game , and Kentucky held off Wofford in the second round of the Midwest Region.
Reid Travis scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made two huge free throws with 17.8 seconds left to help seal the victory for second-seeded Kentucky (29-6). But coach John Calipari knew the key to this game was at the defensive end.
Wofford (30-5) certainly had its chances, limiting the Wildcats to 40 percent shooting (21 of 52) and holding its own on the boards.
But Magee simply couldn’t make a shot, which was even more stunning because he had hit seven less than 48 hours earlier in a victory over Seton Hall, the night he eclipsed the Division I record for career 3-pointers.
Purdue 87, Villanova 61 — Carsen Edwards scored 42 points as Purdue knocked reigning national champion Villanova out of the NCAA Tournament.
Matt Haarms added 18 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Boilermakers (25-9), who advanced to their third straight Sweet 16.
Eric Paschall had 19 for Villanova (26-10).
Florida State 90, Murray State 62 — Ja Morant dazzled for a half, but the star point guard and 12th-seeded Murray State got run out of the NCAA Tournament.
Mfiondu Kabengele scored 22 points, Terrance Mann added 18 points and the Seminoles slammed the Racers to advance to the West regional semifinal.
With Florida State forward Phil Cofer watching from the bench just two days after his father died, the Seminoles (29-7) made good on a vow to honor their teammate and his family with their play. They couldn’t have been much better, overwhelming the Racers (28-5) with their size, speed and depth.
Morant was 5 for 5 from 3-point range in the first half. Florida State was winning everywhere else, forcing turnovers, getting into transition and making 3s.
Michigan 64, Florida 49 — Michigan is back in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year after pulling away for a win over Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Jordan Poole scored 19 points and took charge of the game in the final seven minutes to help the Wolverines advance. Michigan (30-6), the No. 2 seed in the West Region and the 2018 national runner-up, has reached the Sweet 16 five times in the last seven years.
The 10th-seeded Gators (20-16) shot just 29 percent in the second half, 34.5 percent for the game and were held to their lowest point total of the season.
Michigan outscored the Gators, 13-5, to end the game and finished with authority as Isaiah Livers and Poole thrilled their cheering section with thunderous dunks.
Gonzaga 83, Baylor 71 — Next stop on the Brandon Clarke Dunk ’n Swat Festival: The Sweet 16.
The Gonzaga forward had five monster dunks, five blocks, matched a career-high with 36 points and enjoyed the kind of night that earns potential NBA players millions while leading the top-seeded Bulldogs to a victory.
Clarke, a junior transfer from San Jose State, started the fireworks with a windmill jam on a breakaway that gave Gonzaga (32-3) an early 16-7 lead.
Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert made his first four shots on the way to a 16-point night.
Michigan State 70, Minnesota 50 — Michigan State (30-6) came out making shots at a blistering pace and never was seriously threatened, a stark contrast to its nerve-wracking first-round win over Bradley.
The win in the battle of Big Ten teams sends the second-seeded Spartans to an East Region semifinal against LSU in Washington, D.C.
The Spartans made nine of their first 10 shots on their way to building a 20-point lead in the first 14 minutes. Minnesota pulled within single digits briefly in the second half before Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston took matters into his hands.
Xavier Tillman had 14 points, Winston added 13 with nine assists and the Spartans shot 57.1 percent.
Auburn 89, Kansas 75 — Bruce Pearl’s Auburn rebuilding project took a massive leap: The Tigers are headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 16 years.
Bryce Brown scored 25 points and hit seven 3-pointers, leading Auburn over mighty Kanas in the Midwest Region.
The Tigers (28-9) were a surprise last season, earning a share of their first SEC title since 1999 and winning an NCAA Tournament game. Auburn took another major step Saturday, running past a blue-blood program into the school’s first Sweet 16 since 2003 under Cliff Ellis.
Unlike their opener against New Mexico State, when they had to survive a couple of late-game blunders, the fifth-seeded Tigers pounced on the undermanned Jayhawks and never let them up.
Auburn had a 17-point lead before the midpoint of the first half and kept pouring in shots, hitting 13 3-pointers while shooting 53 percent against one of the college basketball’s premier programs.