There were no big upsets in the first half of Friday’s action in the NCAA Tournament. There will be, however, some good matchups in the round of 32, including one the state of Kansas has been anticipating for almost 20 years.
The Atlantic Coast Conference ran its perfect start to 6-0, and the Pac-12 is 4 for 4 so far. Big Ten teams are 6-1, while the Big 12 is 3-4.
ROBERT MORRIS 56
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Quinn Cook scored 22 points to help No. 1 seed Duke get off to a torrid start.
Freshman Jahlil Okafor added 21 as the Blue Devils (30-4) wasted little time getting their offense revving, hitting their first seven shots and 12 of 15 to quickly build a big lead.
That’s not to say everything went smoothly for Duke, a team with half of its eight scholarship players making its tournament debut. Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski furiously burned a timeout after Okafor blew a reverse dunk, while Robert Morris — the No. 16 seed that had to win a First Four game to get here — showed plenty of fight.
SAN DIEGO STATE 76,
ST. JOHN’S 64
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — JJ O’Brien scored 18 points for San Diego State, and Dwayne Polee II added 15 points on five 3-pointers against his former team.
Skylar Spencer added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Aztecs (27-8), who will face the top-seeded Duke on Sunday.
The Aztecs never trailed in the second half and improved to 6-4 in NCAA Tournament play since 2011 under coach Steve Fisher.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 76
SEATTLE (AP) — Kyle Wiltjer scored 23 points to lead Gonzaga to the victory.
The second-seeded Zags (33-2) will play Iowa on Sunday to try to make the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
Sophomore Dexter Werner had a career-high 22 points — all of them entertaining — while keeping North Dakota State (23-10) within range for much of the game.
IOWA 83, DAVIDSON 52
SEATTLE (AP) — Aaron White scored 13 straight points as part of Iowa’s 18-3 run early in the second half, and the seventh-seeded Hawkeyes rolled into the round of 32.
White finished with 26 points as Iowa (22-11) used its significant height advantage to overwhelm the champions of the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season. Mike Gesell added 15 points for the Hawkeyes.
MICHIGAN ST. 70,
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Denzel Valentine scored 16 points and went 6 for 6 at the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds, helping Michigan State hold on for the win.
Travis Trice scored 15 points for the seventh-seeded Spartans (24-11), who answered a push from the Bulldogs with a poised run to take back control.
They weren’t so steady coming down the stretch, flirting with blowing a 10-point lead in the final 1:16. Valentine’s free throws were critical as Georgia (21-12) rallied to make it a one-possession game.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points and Justin Anderson re-emerged as a scoring threat for second-seeded Virginia.
Anderson had 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting and Anthony Gill added 16 points for the Cavaliers (30-3).
Anderson, playing with his broken left pinky taped to his ring finger, scored for the first time since Feb. 7 against Louisville. He was shut out in two ACC Tournament games.
NORTHERN IOWA 71, WYOMING 54
SEATTLE (AP) — Paul Jesperson led five Northern Iowa players in double figures with 16 points, and Sean Tuttle scored 14 for the fifth-seeded Panthers.
Northern Iowa (31-3) built a 21-point lead after scoring 11 of the first 12 points to start the second half. That lead was whittled to seven points twice but the Cowboys could get no closer. Wes Washpun scored eight of his 10 points in the final 9 minutes to help the Panthers advance to face fourth-seeded Louisville on Sunday.
SEATTLE (AP) — Freshman Quentin Snider hit the winning free throws and Terry Rozier made the saving steal for fourth-seeded Louisville.
With the game tied, Snider snagged a rebound in the corner off a long miss by Luke Nelson and drew a foul when Will Davis II crashed into him.
Snider made the free throws with 8.9 seconds left and the 13th-seeded Anteaters (21-13) never got a final shot, thanks to Rozier’s pick of Alex Young as he was moving up the court.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — TaShawn Thomas had 18 points and Buddy Hield scored 15, carrying Oklahoma into the round of 32 after early exits the last two years.
The Sooners (23-10), who led wire to wire, advance to play on Sunday against the winner of the late game between Dayton and Providence.
WEST VIRGINIA 68,
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tarik Phillip hit a big 3-pointer for fifth-seeded West Virginia with 28 seconds left while the shot clock was winding down.
The Mountaineers (24-9) will take on No. 4 Maryland (27-6) on Sunday.
Devin Williams, who led the Mountaineers with 17 points and nine rebounds, hit two free throws with 2:10 left to give his team the lead for good.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Dez Wells turned an offensive rebound into a three-point play with 1:44 left, and Varun Ram stripped away Valparaiso’s last chance as Maryland held off the determined Crusaders.
Wells finished with 14 points for the fourth-seeded Terrapins (28-6), including that three-point play that made it 65-61. Melo Trimble had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland, playing in its first NCAA Tournament under fourth-year coach Mark Turgeon.
Alec Peters led 13th-seeded Valpo (28-6) with 18 points.
COASTAL CAROLINA 72
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Frank Kaminsky had 27 points and 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season, and No. 1 seed Wisconsin got the win.
Sam Dekker had 20 points and Nigel Hayes added 15 against a Coastal Carolina team that gave a game effort but had no answer for the 7-foot Kaminsky or, for that matter, any of his hulking teammates.
OKLAHOMA STATE 73
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Joseph Young scored 27 points and Elgin Cook added 18, leading No. 8 seed Oregon to the win.
Dillon Brooks had 17 points for the Ducks (26-9), and Dana Altman got the win in his return to Omaha and the same building where he once coached Creighton.
Le’Bryan Nash had 18 points before fouling out in his final game for ninth-seeded Oklahoma State (18-14). Anthony Hickey added 17 points, and Phil Forte and Tavarius Shine finished with 12 each.
NEW MEXICO ST. 56
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Frank Mason III scored 17 points to lead a balanced attack, and the second-seeded Jayhawks gave the Big 12 its first win of the tournament after three losses on Thursday.
Perry Ellis added nine points for the Jayhawks (27-8), who will face seventh-seeded Wichita State in the round of 32.
The schools, separated by a couple hours of highway, have not played since 1993 because of the Jayhawks’ stubborn refusal to schedule the Shockers.
DK Eldridge had 11 points and Remi Barry and Tshilidzi Nephawa scored 10 each for the Aggies (23-11), who had won 13 straight while sweeping the Western Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
WICHITA STATE 81, INDIANA 76
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Fred VanVleet matched his career high with 27 points and Ron Baker made big free throws late for seventh-seeded Wichita State.
By winning, the seventh-seeded Shockers (29-4) set up a much-anticipated Sunflower State showdown with second-seeded Kansas on Sunday.
Baker scored 15 points, making 7 of 8 free throws in the last 2 minutes to allow Wichita State to hold off the Hoosiers (20-14).
Freshman reserve Zach Brown had eight of his career-high 11 points in the second half, with six coming during the Shockers’ decisive run.
Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell scored 24 points for Indiana. James Blackmon Jr. added 14 points and Troy Williams and Collin Hartman had 11 apiece for the Hoosiers.