Mar 20, 2016 12:02 AM

The Latest: Tar Heels in Sweet 16 after putting away Friars

The Associated Press

The Latest on the third full day of the men's NCAA Tournament, including games being played in Raleigh, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; Des Moines, Iowa; and Denver (All times EDT):


11:55 p.m.

North Carolina is going back to the Sweet 16 after pulling away to beat Providence 85-66 on Saturday night.

The top-seeded Tar Heels and ninth-seeded Friars were playing a tight game before North Carolina started pulling away about midway in the second half.

The Tar Heels got the win in front of a loud home-state crowd. They were playing in the arena of rival North Carolina State, roughly 30 minutes from the Chapel Hill campus.


11:25 p.m.

The fouls started piling up early for Providence. It turned into a huge problem midway through the second half.

Top scorer Ben Bentil fouled out with 7:23 left on a rebound attempt, while Big East player of the year Kris Dunn is playing with four fouls as the Friars are falling further behind against No. 1 seed North Carolina in the East Region second-round game.

UNC's Brice Johnson picked up Bentil's fourth foul in the post and hit two free throws in a big second half for him. And that foul came one possession after Dunn picked up his fourth foul with 8:44 left trying to strip Johnson in the lane.

UNC leads 63-50 with 7:23 left.

Aaron Beard reporting from Raleigh, North Carolina.


10:35 p.m.

Another upset is in the books.

No. 11 seed Gonzaga has dispatched third-seeded Utah 82-59 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Eric McClellan scored 22 points, Domantas Sabonis 19 and Kyle Wiltjer 17 for Gonzaga.

The Utes got 15 points from Kyle Kuzma but just 5 from sophomore 7-footer Jakob Poeltl, a projected lottery pick if he chooses to go pro after this.

Gonzaga is on to the Sweet 16 in Chicago and a date with either Syracuse or Middle Tennessee.

Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.


10:15 p.m.

Current Wake Forest coach and former Kansas star Danny Manning was on hand to watch Kansas seal its trip to the Sweet 16.

Manning, clad in a blue sweater while watching nervously from the second row behind the Jayhawks bench, cheered with the rest of the thousands of KU fans when Devonte Graham's 3 put the Jayhawks up 64-50 with 3:10 to go.

Manning just finished up a difficult second season at Wake. The Demon Deacons went just 2-16 in the ACC.

Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


10 p.m.

Despite losing to Iowa State 78-61, Trojans coach Chris Beard said there were no tears in the locker room for the first time in his 22 seasons as a coach.

He said he was just so happy to have coached the team that went 30-5 and was "one of the best stories in college basketball this year."

He said there was a calmness as he walked off the court because while their season may be over, his players did what he asked them to do. They were good citizens, went to class, represented their school and city and practiced hard every day.

He says he asked his players to look him in the eye in the locker room after they lost.

"I'll do anything in the world for you," he told them. "I'll be at your wedding one day. I'll be at your kid's graduation. I pray to God you'll be at my funeral. I pray to God that you'll be at my funeral and I won't have to be at one of yours. That's my only wish and prayer that that happens."

"I just love those players," Beard said.

Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.


9:40 p.m.

Well, it's late, late, late but North Carolina and Providence are finally ready to tip off.

The top-seeded Tar Heels and ninth-seeded Friars were meeting in Saturday night's second round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region. But due to TV demands, the game was slated to tip around 9:40 p.m. after the Butler-Virginia game much to the chagrin of UNC coach Roy Williams (and probably plenty of Eastern time zone viewers).

The Tar Heels at least have a loud home-state crowd in the arena of rival North Carolina State, roughly 30 minutes from the Chapel Hill campus, to keep everyone awake.

Aaron Beard reporting from Raleigh, North Carolina.


9:30 p.m.

The 11 seed Gonzaga has gotten 11 points each from Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis to take a 44-29 lead over Utah at halftime.

The Bulldogs are 8 for 12 from 3-point range and dominating Utah pretty much everywhere else on the court, as well.

The battle of big men, between the 6-foot-11 Sabonis and Utah 7-footer Jakob Poeltl, hasn't developed.

Poeltl has spent all but five minutes on the bench with two fouls.

Eddie Pells reporting from Denver


9:10 p.m.

UConn coach Kevin Ollie's perfect NCAA Tournament record is in trouble.

His Huskies went into a long first-half skid against Kansas that could have all but ended UConn's hope of upsetting the No. 1 overall seed and advancing to the Sweet 16. The Huskies missed 12 straight shots over a span of 7:08 during a 19-0 run by the Jayhawks en route to a 40-16 lead.

Kansas leads 44-24 at halftime on the strength of 8-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. The Jayhawks are NCAA Division I's third-best 3-point shooting team.

Ollie took a 7-0 NCAA Tournament record as UConn's head coach into the game, including the 2014 national championship run.

Dave Campbell reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


9 p.m.

Kyle Wiltjer's shooting slump is over.

After a 5-for-14 night in a win over Seton Hall, the Gonzaga forward has made four of his first five shots including all three 3-point tries to stake the Zags to an early 24-15 lead over Utah.

Eddie Pells reporting from Denver.


8:45 p.m.

The big fellas have taken center stage in Denver.

Gonzaga-Utah features a matchup of 7-footer Jakob Poeltl of the Utes and 6-11 Domantas Sabonis of the Bulldogs.

Utah is the 3 seed and Gonzaga is No. 11.

Winner goes to Chicago to face either Syracuse or Middle Tennessee.


7:22 p.m.

Top-seeded Kansas looks primed to return to the Sweet 16 after two straight second-round flameouts.

The Jayhawks went on an early 16-0 run against ninth-seeded UConn, highlighted by a pair of Devonte Graham 3s. Kansas pushed its lead to as much as 13 just six minutes in.

Connecticut rallied to get past Colorado in the first round. Can the Huskies do it again?

Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines.


8:15 p.m.

Led by 28 points from Georges Niang, fourth-seeded Iowa State defeated Little Rock 78-61 to make it to the Sweet 16.

Matt Thomas had 16 for the Cyclones, who will play the winner of Saturday's Butler-Virginia game next Friday in the Midwest Regional in Chicago.

Little Rock, a 12 seed, pulled a come-from-behind upset against Purdue to get to this game. The Trojans fell behind by double digits early in this one, but never made a run. Josh Hagins, who scored 31 in the comeback, had only eight in this game. Roger Woods led Little Rock with 19 points.

Eddie Pells reporting from Denver.


8 p.m.

It's been a tight first half between Butler and Virginia.

Butler led 25-23 at halftime of a defense-dominated second-round game in which neither team led by more than three points.

Butler shot 45 percent but was completely kept off the offensive glass by the Cavaliers. They shot 38 percent but were just 1 of 5 from 3-point range; they're a 41 percent shooting team from beyond the arc.

Joedy McCreary reporting from Raleigh, North Carolina.


7:48 p.m.

From one prestigious program to another for Indiana?

The No. 5 seed Hoosiers have knocked off No. 4 seed Kentucky 73-67, surviving injuries to a couple of key reserves with a yeoman's effort by freshman Thomas Bryant, who had 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting plus five rebounds.

Up next for Indiana in the East Region is the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia, where they could meet No. 1 seed North Carolina. The Tarheels play Providence a little later, with the winner advancing to meet the Hoosiers.

The first matchup between Indiana and Kentucky, the basketball-loving border state rivals, in more than four years sure had the feel of a game deeper into the NCAA Tournament than the second round. Considering the widespread criticism of both the Hoosiers and Wildcats being seeded too low, it certainly could've been a game for the second or third weekend of the event.

Dave Campbell reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


7:40 p.m.

VCU coach Will Wade was born in 1982, the same year Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger started his first head coaching job.

Kruger says that won't matter when the teams play on Sunday, that he just thinks of Wade "being a very good coach when you watch his teams play."

Still, Wade's age is certainly sometimes a factor off the court. Like when traveling.

"The bus driver thought I was one of the players when I got on the bus," Wade said. "I said, 'No, sir, I'm the head coach.' He said, 'Really, you're making the decisions here?'"

Cliff Brunt reporting from Oklahoma City


6:55 p.m.

Remember when the two fouls Thomas Bryant picked up early in the first half was a concern for Indiana? Well, that's no longer the issue.

The Hoosiers have lost another player to injury, forward Juwan Morgan. He was fouled hard early in the second half by Kentucky's Isaiah Briscoe and fell on the left shoulder that's been bothering him all season. Morgan was escorted to the locker room for further examination, holding his arm.

Another key reserve, guard Robert Johnson, appeared to aggravate late in the first half the sprained left ankle that kept him out of the last four games leading up to the NCAA Tournament. He didn't warm up with the team after halftime. Forward O.G. Anunoby has been moving around gingerly on the court, too, testing his right ankle occasionally.

Dave Campbell reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


6:25 p.m.

Indiana has a 33-32 lead over Kentucky at halftime in this much-anticipated second-round matchup in the East Region. The catalyst for the Hoosiers has been the reserves.

Indiana's five starters combined to shoot 6 for 18 from the floor, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range in the first half, but OG Anunoby, Max Bielfeldt and Robert Johnson made significant contributions off the bench. Johnson aggravated an injury to his left ankle late in the first half, however, and did not warmup with his teammates for the second half.

Dave Campbell reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


6:10 p.m.

And for their next act ...

Little Rock is back on the court. This time, the Trojans are taking on Iowa State.

The Cyclones are led by Georges Niang, one of the best players in the country, who averages 20 points a game.

Little Rock is looking for another game like the one it got Thursday from Josh Hagins. He scored 31 and made the game-tying shots in both regulation and overtime to keep the Trojans alive against Purdue.

Eddie Pells reporting from Denver.


6:00 p.m.

Indiana guard Robert Johnson has left the game against Kentucky with an apparent injury to his left ankle, the same one that kept him out of the last four games before the NCAA Tournament.

Johnson missed a jump shot with 5:17 left before halftime for the Hoosiers. A few seconds later, he was on the floor on the other end while holding his ankle and wincing.

He limped off to the locker room for further examination. The sophomore reserve had seven points and six assists in Indiana's first-round victory over Chattanooga, his first appearance since Feb. 20.

Dave Campbell reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


5:40 p.m.

After the wacky first round of the NCAA Tournament this might sound like a letdown: don't get too attached to those teams seeded 10 and lower.

No. 11 seed Wichita State and No. 12 seed Yale went down in the first two games played Saturday, giving the hoops world a quick reminder of how much tougher a March Madness run is compared with winning one game.

According to STATS, the record for teams seeded No. 10 or lower in the Sweet 16 is five, set in 1999.

There are eight such teams left in the tournament this year, with Little Rock and Gonzaga playing games Saturday night.


5:25 p.m.

Xavier has been to the Sweet 16 in five of the past eight years, so coach Chris Mack figures it's time people learn to pronounce its name.

That's why he stopped a reporter mid-sentence during a question about "Ex-avier."

"Nooo, no, no, no," Mack said, wagging his finger. "Xavier. Just like xylophone. Now you can continue."

Dave Skretta reporting from St. Louis.


5:15 p.m.

Kentucky has at least one big-name fan in the stands for its game against Indiana. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Karl Anthony-Towns made it to Des Moines about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Minneapolis to cheer on the Wildcats. The T-Wolves are off until Monday, when they host Golden State.

Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines, Iowa.

5 p.m.

Yale's hopes of advancing to the Sweet 16 has ended.

Duke has survived a second-half rally and beaten the Bulldogs 71-64.

The Bulldogs are cheering their fans as they walk off the court.

Brandon Sherrod led Yale with 22 points, and Justin Sears and Anthony Dallier each had 12. Makai Mason, the star in Yale's upset of Baylor in the first round with 31 points, had just eight against Duke and was 0 of 5 on 3-pointers.

John Kekis reporting in Providence, Rhode Island


5 p.m.

Iowa and Villanova both have Sweet 16 droughts, but Villanova gets more heat about its troubles the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

One of the teams will advance to regional play after their game Sunday.

Villanova hasn't been there since their run to the Final Four in 2009. This senior class will go down as the winningest in school history but it hasn't gotten past the second round.

"Everybody's been talking about this game for the whole year, even in the summertime before the season started," Daniel Ochefu said.

The Wildcats (30-5) advanced with an 86-56 victory over UNC-Asheville, while Iowa (22-10) beat Temple 72-70 on a tip-in at the overtime buzzer.

he Hawkeyes haven't been past the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 1988 but they haven't had to hear about it as much as the Wildcats.

Jim O'Connell reporting from New York


4:30 p.m.

The best 3-pointer shooter in the country arrived at Middle Tennessee State as a 6-foot-2, 240-pound bowling ball whose body looked like a linebacker's and whose stamina hardly cut it in college hoops.

So, Blue Raiders coach Kermit Davis put Giddy Potts on a diet.

"We tried to get him to go to only one bowl of ranch with everything he eats, instead of two bowls. So that was a start," Davis said with a grin. "He's just one of those guys that he just, his eating habits were just poor. And he had never really trained. I don't even know how much weights he'd ever lifted."

But Potts was "country strong," Davis said. So when got in better shape, his game improved rapidly. And now weighing about 220, he's the best player on the NCAA Tournament's biggest surprise.

"He saw how much better a player he is," Davis said. "We're still going to work on it in the spring."

Dave Skretta reporting from St. Louis


4:25 p.m.

The Bulldogs are growling.

Yale staged a 15-0 run to pull to 58-49 in the second half after trailing by 24. Duke has scored only 11 points in the period after scoring 48 in the first.

The crowd in the Dunkin' Donuts Center is hoping for another stunner. Duke's Marshall Plumlee and Matt Jones each have four fouls for the Blue Devils.

Yale has just missed three tries under the Duke basket with 7:47 left.


3:50 p.m.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim can sympathize with Michigan State's Tom Izzo, whose second-seeded Spartans were upset by Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

In 1991, Beoheim's second-seeded Orange lost to No. 15 seed Richmond in Washington, D.C.

"We were the first ones" to lose a 2-15 game since seeding began in 1985," Boeheim said. "We just didn't play very well and it's not a good feeling, but there's not much you can say about it."

There had been six more 2-15 upsets before the Blue Raiders, who will face the Orange on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16, took care of the Spartans. Only one of them, Florida Gulf Coast a few years ago, was able to win another game when Dunk City took care of Georgetown and San Diego State.

"You live with that loss for a long time," Boeheim said. "It's what you do when you lose in this tournament. I've lost more than a few games. But I finally realized that everybody loses in this tournament every coach, every team, every program somewhere along the line.

"It's not easy," he said. "But it's not easy when you lose when you're an underdog, either."

Dave Skretta reporting from St. Louis.


3:45 p.m.

This NCAA Tournament is by far the biggest one ever held at the 11-year-old Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, especially with Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and UConn winning first round games.

But in retrospect, the Iowa high school basketball championships held here in 2010 turned out to be quite special as well.

Iowa star Jarrod Uthoff and current teammate Adam Woodbury, whose buzzer-beater Friday sent the Hawkeyes into the second round, played their final prep games that year in Des Moines.

So did Northern Iowa standout Wes Washpun, who had 17 points in Friday's stunner over Texas, and fellow Panther Matt Bohannon. North Carolina senior star Marcus Paige, then playing for Linn-Mar High outside of Cedar Rapids, was knocked out in the semifinals.

Even a future football star competed in the event: Cardinals running back David Johnson notched a double-double in his only game in the tournament for Clinton High.

The winning team that year? That was Ames High which went unbeaten behind future Chicago Bulls star Doug McDermott and future NBA champion Harrison Barnes.

Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


2:55 p.m.

Just 48 hours after leading Stony Brook to its first NCAA Tournament appearance, coach Steve Pikiell has a new job.

A person familiar with the decision says Pikiell has been hired as Rutgers' basketball coach. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the university has not announced the decision.

The hiring comes nine days after Eddie Jordan was fired and two days after Stony Brook was beaten by Kentucky in a first-round game.

Pikiell, who led Stony Brook to six 20-win seasons in in the last seven years, takes over a team that had a 7-25 record and won just one Big Ten Conference game last season, and three over the last two.

Tom Canavan reporting from Piscataway, New Jersey


2:40 p.m.

Yale coach James Jones will have some heavy-duty family support in the stands as the Bulldogs look to upset defending champion No. 4 Duke in the second round of the West Region.

Joe Jones, Boston University basketball coach and younger brother of James Jones is in attendance. The pair could be mistaken for twins, with similar builds and the same shaved-head look. James Jones is also just 14 months older than Joe.

That family support is in addition to the brothers' father, 76-year-old Herman Jones, who was visible after the Bulldogs' first-round upset of Baylor on Wednesday.

Both brothers spent weekends and summers working alongside their father. He works as a presser at a dry cleaner.

"He's had this great belief in himself, and that's kind of worn off on me," James Jones said of his father. "(Working as a presser) it's kind of the hardest work that you'll ever do. ... It gave me life lessons every day."

Joe Jones' BU team beat Fordham in the first round of the Tournament earlier this week. The Terriers have a few days off before next facing the New Jersey Institute of Technology in that event on Monday.

Kyle Hightower, reporting from Providence, Rhode Island


2:15 p.m.

Miami is the first team to punch its ticket to the Sweet 16.

The Hurricanes led big early, before holding on to defeat Wichita State 65-57 to earn their first Sweet 16 berth since 2013.

Miami fans chanted "Sweet 16! Sweet 16!" in the closing seconds.

Angel Rodriguez led Miami with 28 points and five assists. Sheldon McClellan added 18 points.

There is some symmetry in the victory for Miami coach Jim Larranaga, who led George Mason to the Final Four a decade ago when he was the Patriots coach. He had to go through Wichita State in the Sweet 16 in Washington, D.C., to do it.

Kyle Hightower reporting from Providence, Rhode Island


1:50 p.m.

In just a few dizzying minutes, Wichita State has made it a ballgame.

After trailing by as many 21 in the first half and 13 at halftime, Wichita State has fought back and trimmed Miami's lead to 48-45 with 7:43 to play in the game.

The Shockers came out of the half with a lot of pep and briefly took a 43-42 lead on a 3-pointer by Ron Baker at the 10:24 mark.

Wichita State has found its touch after shooting just 24 percent in the first half, The Shockers are 9 for 16 so far in the second.

Miami had nine turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, but has already committed six in this half.

Kyle Hightower, reporting from Providence, Rhode Island


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