NCAA Tournament Action Opens Across The Country

UNDATED (AP) — Middle Tennessee was the highest seed to advance to the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Thursday.

Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points and Giddy Potts added 15 as 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee knocked out Minnesota, 81-72 in Milwaukee. Upshaw delivered seven straight points, including a 3-pointer and a reverse layup during a 7-3 run to help give the Blue Raiders a 10-point lead with 3:40 left. The flurry came after the Gophers trimmed much of a 17-point lead.

Next up for Middle Tennessee is No. 4 Butler, which pulled away late in a 76-64 decision over Winthrop. Avery Woodson scored 18 points by tying a career high with six 3-pointers for the Bulldogs.

A 12-2 run in the middle of the second half gave Butler a 60-43 lead with less than 8 minutes left and put the game out of reach.

Also in Milwaukee, Vincent Edwards scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half to help Purdue hold off Vermont 80-70. Caleb Swanigan added 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists as the fourth-seeded Boilermakers earned their first tourney win in five years.

Next up for Purdue is Iowa State after Monte Morris had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to push the Cyclones past Nevada, 84-73. Deonte Burton added 14 points and eight rebounds in the Cyclones’ 10th win in 11 games.

Gonzaga was the first No. 1 seed in action, and the Bulldogs trailed for the first 17 minutes before earning a 66-46 win over South Dakota State in Salt Lake City. Jordan Mathews scored 16 points to help the Zags stay afloat while Przemek (SHEH’-mehk) Karnowski was held to just four points through the first 32 minutes. Karnowski came through late in the game, hitting three straight buckets to put Gonzaga up by 20 with five minutes left.

The Bulldogs now prepare for Northwestern, which earned a victory in its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Bryant McIntosh hit a pair of tiebreaking free throws with 15 seconds left to send the Wildcats past Vanderbilt. Northwestern squandered a 15-point lead before McIntosh was inexplicably fouled by Matthew Fisher-Davis in the backcourt with the Wildcats in the double-bonus.

Gonzaga’s arch-rivals also won in Utah as Jock Landale delivered 18 points and 13 rebounds to help No. 7 Saint Mary’s knock out VCU, 85-77. Joe Rahon and Calvin Hermanson finished with 16 points apiece for the Gaels, who led by 15 at halftime but couldn’t put away the Rams until the closing moments.

No. 2 Arizona had no trouble with North Dakota as freshman Lauri Markkanen scored 20 points in a 100-82 pounding at Salt Lake City. Rawle Alkins contributed 20 points to the romp, and Allonzo Trier had 18 as the Wildcats moved on to play Saint Mary’s.

The defending champs were able to advance with a strong second half as No. 1 Villanova thumped Mount St. Mary’s, 76-56 in Buffalo. Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points for the Wildcats, who opened the second half on a 21-6 run. Villanova survived a poor shooting performance by Kris Jenkins, who missed his first 10 attempts and finished 2-for-13.

Bronson Koenig (KAY’-nihg) drained a school-record eight 3-pointers and finished with 28 points as Wisconsin ousted Virginia Tech, 84-74. Nigel Hayes chipped in 16 points to help the Badgers earn a second-round meeting with Villanova.

There were victories by West Virginia and Notre Dame in Buffalo.

Nathan Adrian had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Mountaineers escaped with an 86-80 win against Bucknell. Tarik Phillip scored 16 points for the West Region’s fourth-seeded Mountaineers, who pulled away after wasting double-digit leads in each half.

Bonzie Colson scored 18 points and Matt Farrell added 16 to help the Irish pull out a 60-58 win over No. 12 Princeton. Notre Dame saw an 11-point, second-half lead cut to one before ending the Tigers’ 19-game winning streak.

Virginia and Florida have advanced to the second round in Orlando.

London Perrantes scored 24 points and Marial Shayok added a career-high 23 off the bench as the Cavaliers eked out a 76-71 win against No. 13 UNC Wilmington. Perrantes scored 19 points in the second half to help Virginia erase all of a 15-point deficit.

The Gators got 24 points and seven rebounds from Devin Robinson in an 80-65 downing of East Tennessee State. Kasey Hill chipped in 14 points for Florida, which shot 1-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half before earning a meeting with the Cavaliers.

No. 11 Xavier pulled off a minor upset as Trevon Blueitt scored 21 points and Sean O’Mara had 18 in the Musketeers’s 76-65 decision over Maryland in Orlando. Bluiett came through with 18 second-half points, including three 3-pointers while Xavier outscored the Terrapins 14-0 to take a 61-50 lead with 9:03 left.

Florida State came away with an 86-80 win against Florida Gulf Coast behind Dwayne Bacon’s 25 points Jonathan Isaac had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds as the third-seeded Seminoles won their first tournament game since 2012 to set up a meeting with Xavier.

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