The Latest on Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
The 7-10 game between South Carolina and Marquette to close the East Region is a tight one.
The Golden Eagles hit eight 3-pointers in the opening half to lead by as many as 10.
The Gamecocks, however, rallied to cut the deficit to 40-39 at the break. Seventh-seeded South Carolina is seeking its first NCAA victory since 1973.
UCLA leads Kent State 47-39 at halftime in the South Region, but its lead has quickly dwindled.
The third-seeded Bruins opened the game with a 16-2 run, holding the Golden Flashes to 1-of-11 shooting.
Kent State, the No. 14 seed, began to fight back and whittled away at the lead, hitting 14 of its final 29 shots.
UCLA made 20 of 33 from the floor.
Defensive-minded Cincinnati turned on the scoring for a change and shot its way past Kansas State 75-61 in the South Region.
Cincinnati was knocked out the first round a year ago and No. 6 seeds were 0-3 before the Bearcats took the floor, with Maryland, Creighton and SMU all losing to No. 11 seeds.
The Bearcats took care of their business and the No. 6 jinx with an impressive shooting display, shooting 62 percent.
The Cincinnati defense prevented Kansas State from making much of a run after building a 17-point lead.
Troy Caupain scored 23 points and Kyle Washington added 16 for the Bearcats.
Wesley Iwundu led Kansas State with 19 points.
Wichita State is still unbeaten since mid-January.
The 10th-seeded Shockers won their 16th in a row — the second-longest streak in school history — by clamping down on defense and swatting away shots down the stretch in a 64-58 victory over Dayton.
Wichita State blocked eight shots and held the seventh-seeded Flyers to a season-low 31 percent from the field.
Zach Brown’s 3-pointer put Wichita State up 51-45 with 5:38 left, the biggest lead by either team up to that point, and Dayton never threatened again.
Point guard Scoochie Smith had 25 points for Dayton.
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens holds a special place in his heart for Indiana, but he says he’s not going back.
Prior to Friday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, Stevens shot down speculation he could replace Tom Crean at Indiana.
“I don’t really speak to the rumor mill or anything else, but I made it pretty clear that I am going to be here,” Stevens said. “I’ve been asked about that quite a bit. I’ll just keep saying the same thing — I’ll be here until the Celtics decide to move in another direction.”
Stevens was born in Indianapolis and led Butler to two straight national title games before making the jump to the NBA.
Crean was fired Thursday after the Hoosiers finished the season 18-10, 7-11 in the Big Ten in his seventh season.
Grayson Allen had 21 points off five 3-pointers, Jayson Tatum had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and second-seeded Duke continued its perfect postseason with an 87-65 victory over Troy in the East Region.
The Blue Devils became the first team to win four games on the way to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament crown last week. They kept up that pace in blowing past the 15th-seeded Trojans.
The Blue Devils improved to 34-7 all-time in openers and put this one out of reach early with their 3-point shooting.
Jordon Varnado had 18 points to lead Troy, which made its first NCAA appearance since 2003.
North Carolina State has made it official — the school issued a news release Friday night saying it has hired Kevin Keatts away from UNC Wilmington as its new head coach.
The 44-year-old Keatts replaces Mark Gottfried, who was fired after a sixth season that saw the Wolfpack quickly unravel after four straight NCAA Tournament trips.
Athletic department spokesman Fred Demarest says the school is planning to hold a news conference Sunday to formally introduce Keatts.
Top seeds remain perfect since the NCAA Tournament expanded. They’re 132-0 against No. 16 seeds after the Kansas Jayhawks beat UC Davis 100-62.
Frank Mason scored 22 points and had eight assists for Kansas. Freshman Josh Jackson added 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Jayhawks.
Chima Moneke scored 20 points to lead the Aggies, who were in their first NCAA Tournament.
Kansas has won its opening game 11 straight years.
Hot-shooting Cincinnati leads Kansas State 39-28 in the South region.
Known for their defense, the Bearcats hit their first eight shots of the game and 15 of 23 in the opening 20 minutes.
Troy Caupain made all five of his shots for 14 points and Gary Clark had 10 on 4-of-6 shooting.
Scoochie Smith is giving the large Dayton contingent many chances to do its “Scooooooooochie” cheer.
The senior guard has 15 points as the Flyers lead Wichita State 29-27 at halftime in Indianapolis. He’s the only one who’s been able to score with any consistency. No other player has more than five points or two baskets.
Smith’s best move came on a drive to the basket. He switched hands for the layup, fell on his back and slid across the floor.
Neither team is doing much on offense — outside of Smith, that is. Wichita State is shooting only 35.7 percent from the field. Dayton is shooting 34.5 percent.
Think Duke may have watched rival North Carolina’s put up 100 points in its NCAA opener? Maybe so.
The Blue Devils are halfway there as they lead Troy 52-38 at the half in an East region opener played in Greenville.
The Tar Heels were the game played here right before Duke and Troy took the floor. Duke has not scored 100 points in an NCAA game since defeating Southern Illinois 105-70 to start the 1993 tournament.
The Cincinnati Bearcats can’t miss.
Cincinnati opened its South Region game in Sacramento against Kansas State by hitting its first eight shots against a team known for its defense.
The Bearcats led 19-11 near the midpoint of the first half, hoping to end a streak of No. 6 seeds losing to No. 11 seeds. Maryland, Creighton and SMU already went down as No. 6 seeds.
Kansas leads UC Davis 50-28 at the half as the top seeds continue to roll.
The Jayhawks took a commanding lead with a 29-7 run against UC Davis, in its first NCAA Tournament and fresh from a victory in the First Four over North Carolina Central on Wednesday night.
Frank Mason III has 11 points as all but three of the 50 points have come from the five Kansas starters.
Kansas coach Bill Self was smiling as he tried to find something to criticize.
“We’ve just been living with the jump shot a little too much,” Self said as he walked off the court in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Kansas entered the tournament 16th in the country with an average of 82.7 points per game.
As a No. 6 seed, Cincinnati has reason to feel wary heading into tonight’s game with Kansas State.
So far in this tournament, the No. 6 seeds are 0-3 against No. 11 seeds.
Xavier knocked off Maryland. Rhode Island defeated Creighton. Southern California edged SMU.
No. 11 seeds have a history of doing well in this tournament. No. 6 seeds have posted a winning record against No. 11 seeds just once in the last eight years.
One day after UNC Wilmington lost to Virginia in the NCAA Tournament, it appears the Seahawks have lost their coach to a different Atlantic Coast Conference team.
North Carolina State has reached an agreement with UNC Wilmington coach Kevin Keatts, a person with knowledge of the decision said Friday night. The person said the school is expected hold a news conference Sunday to formally introduce Keatts as the Wolfpack’s new coach.
Keatts replaces Mark Gottfried, who was fired after six seasons.
The double-digit seeds are finally starting to make some more noise in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
A pair of No. 11 seeds – Rhode Island in the Midwest Regional and Southern California in the East – won their games Friday to match the number of double-digit seeds that won Thursday.
USC edged SMU 66-65 and Rhode Island breezed to an 84-72 victory over Creighton. USC next faces Baylor, while Rhode Island takes on Oregon.
The only double-digit seeds to win Thursday were Xavier and Middle Tennessee.
Xavier – the No. 11 seed in the West – won 76-65 over Maryland. Middle Tennessee, seeded 12th in the South, beat Minnesota 81-72.
Middle Tennessee faces Butler and Xavier meets Florida State on Saturday.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina, required some repairs.
NCAA officials said Friday that “a minor irregularity” was discovered on one of the court’s panels during the first session of games Friday. NCAA officials said in a statement that the seam was “quickly repaired” as soon as the North Carolina-Texas Southern game ended.
Once the repairs were done, players om Duke and Troy were granted access to the court and given 46 minutes to warm up for their game.
SPOILER ALERT: No. 11 seed Rhode Island (25-9) has beaten sixth-seeded Creighton (25-10) 84-72 in the first round of the Midwest Regional at Sacramento, California.
Southern California’s victory over SMU means that a First Four winner will advance to the round of 32 for the seventh straight year.
Each year since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011 and included the First Four round, at least one of the First Four victors has won at least one more game as well.
VCU advanced from the First Four to the Final Four in 2011. The 2013 La Salle team and the 2014 Tennessee squad reached the Sweet 16 after starting in the First Four. Losing in the round of 32 were First Four participants South Florida in 2012, Dayton in 2015 and Wichita State in 2016.
USC got to the round of 64 by beating Providence in the First Four. The other First Four winner was Kansas State, which faces Cincinnati on Friday night.
Upstart Rhode Island, the Atlantic 10 champion, leads cold-shooting Creighton 33-26 at halftime.
The Rams are riding an eight-game winning streak and looking for their first NCAA Tournament victory since advancing to the Elite Eight of the 1998 tournament and losing to Stanford. The Cardinal coach guiding Stanford then, Mike Montgomery, is broadcasting the games at the Golden 1 Center this weekend in Sacramento.
Louisville’s 78-63 opening win over Jacksonville State means that half of the No. 2 seeds have advanced. Arizona easily won against North Dakota on Thursday.
While a top seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed, some No. 2s have gone done hard in recent years. In the last five years, four No. 2 seeds have been knocked off in their opening games. The most recent upset came last year when Middle Tennessee beat Michigan State 90-81.
No. 2 seeds Kentucky and Duke play later on Friday.
When Jacksonville State’s Christian Cunningham’s shoe came off during an offensive possession, the referee picked it up and handed it to a cheerleader as play continued. Malcolm Drumwright ended the possession by banking in a 3-pointer to get the Gamecocks to 61-52 against Louisville.
Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes will have a few extra people chanting his name Saturday — just not intentionally.
The third-seeded Seminoles play No. 11 seed Xavier in the second round in Orlando, Florida, so all those “Let’s Go X” chants coming from the Musketeers section might as well be for the FSU junior.
“It’s pretty cool that we’re playing Xavier,” Rathan-Mayes said. “But we’ve got a game to win, and that’s all that counts.”
Rathan-Mayes said he didn’t think it would be a distraction to hear the X chants.
“I don’t think it’s going to have too much of an effect,” he said. “When I’m out there, I don’t really hear the crowd too much or the chants. I don’t really focus on it too much.”
The head of officiating for the NCAA says the referees made the right call by calling a flagrant foul against Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez as he tried to stop the clock near the end of his team’s loss to Arkansas.
The call with 18.3 seconds left gave Arkansas two free throws and the ball. Jaylen Barford, who fell on the play, hit the free throws and Seton Hall immediately fouled again. Another free throw from Daryl Macon put the game out of reach.
J.D. Collins is the NCAA’s national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating. He says the referees called the play as instructed by calling a normal foul, then reviewing the play and calling a flagrant because Rodriguez did not make a play on the ball.
Collins says incidental contact that caused Barford to trip didn’t matter because Rodriguez ran up from behind with two hands on his opponent.
Collins says referees look for players to make a legitimate play on the ball.
The favorites continue to roll at the NCAA Tournament.
The higher-seeded teams improved to 17-2 through the first 27 hours of the tournament after eighth-seeded Arkansas survived against ninth-seeded Seton Hall. The number should move to 18-2 with third-seeded Oregon up big over Iona.
Call it March Meh-dness instead of March Madness.
Maybe the most intriguing late afternoon matchup is a meeting between sixth-seeded Creighton and 11th-seeded Rhode Island.
The Rams won the Atlantic 10 tournament to reach the NCAAs for the first time since 1999.
Injured Oregon star Chris Boucher stands up carefully, his injured left knee in a bulky brace, to pump his arms and cheer his teammates during their NCAA opener against Iona.
Forced into a cheerleading role isn’t how the Ducks’ senior star from Quebec saw his final collegiate season ending.
He tore his ACL in a victory against California in the semifinals of last weekend’s Pac-12 Tournament. Boucher was Oregon’s third-leading scorer at 11.8 points, also averaging 6.1 rebounds and 2.55 blocks before getting hurt. The Ducks lost by three points to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament final without him.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett says leading rebounder Isaiah Wilkins is doubtful to play against No. 4 seed Florida on Saturday night in Orlando, Florida, because of strep throat.
The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 6.8 points and 6.0 rebounds, and Bennett calls him the “heart and soul of our defense.” Wilkins also leads the team in blocks (43) and steals (33).
“This virus is hanging on, and he’s lost some weight,” Bennett said. “I’m not expecting him to play, but you never know.”
Wilkins played just 5 minutes in the Cavaliers’ opening-round game against UNC Wilmington on Thursday. Because of his illness, the fifth-seeded Cavs went with a five-guard lineup in their 76-71 victory against the Seahawks.
They don’t plan on doing that against the Gators, so getting something from Wilkins would be ideal.
Iona star Jordan Washington went down hard under Oregon’s basket, screaming in pain after grabbing above his left shin area. He limped off with help at the 1:12 mark of the first half and Iona trailing the third-seeded Ducks 52-35 in the first round of the Midwest Regional at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center.
Washington brought energy on both ends to lead No. 14 seed Iona, driving for a pretty spin move with 11:46 left in the first half then taking a charge from Dorsey moments later. He then drew another one.
He had 14 points and five rebounds when he left the court, having scored 14 of his team’s initial 18 points. Oregon led 55-37 at halftime.
Oklahoma State lost a tough one to Michigan, but the Cowboys’ financial backers won in the process.
When Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans hit a running 3-pointer at the horn to make the final score Michigan 92, Oklahoma State 91, Evans did a solid for folks who put money on the Cowboys.
The seventh-seeded Wolverines entered the game as a 2.5-point favorite. Evans’ heave – his only made 3-pointer in a game in which he finished with 23 points – meant the 10th-seeded Cowboys covered the spread.
So much for entertainment purposes only.
Arkansas forward Moses Kingsley is having quite a start to his NCAA Tournament.
The 6-foot-10 senior had 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting — including a 3-pointer — during the first half of the eighth-seeded Razorbacks’ South Region opener against ninth-seeded Seton Hall. He came in averaging 11.8 points on 46-percent shooting.
In his last action, the preseason Southeastern Conference player of the year was called for a late flagrant foul and ejected in the last weekend’s loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship game.
The teams were tied 37-all at halftime.
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