Wesley Saunders hit two clutch free throws and scored 18 points, and Laurent Rivard scored 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers, to lead 14th-seeded Harvard to a 68-62 upset of third-seeded New Mexico in the NCAA Tournament’s second round Thursday.
The Crimson started strong, going up 9-2, and maintained the lead for most of the night to make the most of their second straight NCAA appearance after a 66-year drought.
Harvard, which earned the first NCAA win in school history, will face Arizona in the next round after pulling off Thursday’s biggest upset.
Center Alex Kirk scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Cameron Bairstow added 15 points with nine boards, but it wasn’t enough for the Lobos to avoid being just the 17th No. 14 seed to fall in its opening game in NCAA tournament history.
Four Harvard players hit double figures and the Crimson shot 52.4 percent from the field to pull off the shocker.
SALT LAKE CITY
SAN JOSE — California, a No. 12 seed, held No. 5 seed UNLV without a field goal for 11 1/2 minutes of the second half, breaking from a halftime tie to record an upset victory in the second round of the East Regional at HP Pavilion.
The 12th-seeded Bears (21-11) Cal avenged a 76-75 defeat at the hands of the Runnin’ Rebels.
Playing before a partisan crowd in the heart of Pacific-12 Conference territory, Cal held UNLV star Anthony Bennett to 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting. Bennett tied guard Bryce Dejean-Jones for team-high scoring honors while also grabbing 11 rebounds for the Runnin’ Rebels (25-10).
Pac-12 Player of the Year Allen Crabbe led the Bears with 19 points, and star sidekick Justin Cobbs added 13, making all three of his 3-point attempts. However, it was the unexpected contributions of big men Robert Thurman (6-for-6, 12 points) and Richard Solomon (5-for-8, 11 points) that made the difference both offensively and defensively for Cal.
SALT LAKE CITY
SAN JOSE — The Oregon Ducks picked up right where they left off in the Pacific-12 Conference tournament last weekend, parlaying a stingy defense with dominance on the backboards to a stun stunning victory in the Midwest Regional second round at HP Pavilion.
The Ducks, who earned just a No. 12 seed in the region despite having tied for second in the Pac-12 regular season before sweeping to the conference tournament title, advance to a third-round matchup Saturday in San Jose against fourth-seeded Saint Louis.
Iranian-born senior forward Arsalan Kazemi recorded an 11-point, 17-rebound double-double, helping the Ducks (27-8) to a 44-32 board advantage and a 12-6 margin in second-chance points against the fifth-seeded Cowboys.
Syracuse 81, Montana 34
SAN JOSE — Syracuse left no doubt in an East Regional second-round game.
Playing nearly 3,000 miles from home, the fourth-seeded Orange (27-9) earned a third-round matchup with 12th-seeded California, a team that made the 40-mile drive back to campus following one of Thursday’s upsets.
Brandon Triche hit eight free throws en route to 20 points, and teammates C.J. Fair (13) and DaJuan Coleman (12) also scored in double figures for the Orange, who quickly put the sting of last weekend’s loss to Louisville in the Big East Conference tournament final behind them.
No Montana player scored more than five points.
Gonzaga 64, Southern 58
SALT LAKE CITY — Kelly Olynyk scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half and Kevin Pangos hit a late clutch 3-pointer to help No. 1 seed Gonzaga survive a scare from the 16th seed.
Pangos finished with 16 points, including a dagger of a 3-pointer that gave Gonzaga a 62-58 lead with 1:57 remaining. Pangos then helped the Zags avoid being the first No. 1-seeded team to lose to a No. 16 squad by hitting two free throws with 14 seconds remaining.
Southern (23-10) had to remind Gonzaga (32-2) of its old self by nearly pulling off the huge upset in this first-round game.
Arizona 81, Belmont 64
SALT LAKE CITY — Mark Lyons scored 23 points and red-hot Arizona used its superior athleticism and shooting to dominate Belmont at EnergySolutions Arena.
Lyons put an exclamation mark on his performance and his team’s opening-round showing with a soaring one-handed jam with just over a minute remaining.
The quick 6-foot-1 guard hit 8 of 15 shots from the field, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc, to lead four Arizona double-digit scorers.
Wildcats starters Kevin Parrom, Nick Johnson and Kaleb Tarczewski each scored 12 points.
Parrom and Tarczewski both grabbed eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who powered their way to a 46-20 advantage on the boards.
VCU 88, Akron 42
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Troy Daniels scored 23 points and Juvonte Reddic added 21, leading Virginia Commonwealth to an overwhelming win over in the South Region at The Palace.
Rob Brandenberg chipped in 14 points for fifth-seeded VCU (27-8). The margin of victory was the largest in VCU’s postseason history.
Demetrius Treadwell’s 14 points paced 12th-seeded Akron (26-7), the Mid-American Conference champion. The Zips’ starting point guard, Alex Abreu, was suspended earlier in the month after being arrested on drug charges. Without him, Akron folded under the Rams’ full-court pressure and committed 21 turnovers.
Colorado State 84, Missouri 72
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Colorado State’s Dorian Green scored a career-high 26 points, more than enough to push the eighth-seeded Rams to a win over ninth-seeded Missouri in a second-round game of the Midwest Region.
Green had 17 points at halftime, helping the Rams take a 47-38 lead at the break. Colorado State (26-8) jumped out to an early 15-5 edge, taking advantage of poor Missouri shooting while crashing the boards and eliminating second chances for the Tigers.
Colorado State made the most of its early possessions, shooting 15-for-26 from the floor in the first half and going a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Louisville 79, North Carolina A&T 48
LEXINGTON, Ky. — No. 1 Louisville, the top overall seed, had no trouble in its tournament opener.
The Cardinals (30-5) were nearly unstoppable, suffocating the underdog Aggies with a full-court press from the opening tip until Louisville coach Rick Pitino pulled his starters with about six minutes to play and a substantial lead.
Louisville’s 20 team steals set the record for steals in an NCAA Tournament game. It was also a season best for the Cardinals, who had 18 against College of Charleston on Nov. 4. Louisville guard Russ Smith finished with a career-high eight steals for the Cardinals.
Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Freshman forward Glenn Robinson III and junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points apiece, lifting Michigan in a second-round South Region game at The Palace.
Robinson’s point total equaled his career high for fourth-seeded Michigan (26-7), which was upset as a No. 4 seed by Ohio in its tournament opener last season.
The duel between dynamic point guards never materialized. Michigan sophomore Trey Burke, the Big Ten Player of the Year, scored six points on 2-for-12 shooting. Senior guard Nate Wolters, the Jackrabbits’ all-time leading scorer, was held to 10 points while shooting 3-for-14.
Marquette 59, Davidson 58
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Vander Blue hit a running lay-up with one second left completing Marquette’s comeback win in a second-round game of the East Regional at Rupp Arena.
Davidson’s De’Mon Brooks threw the ball away with 6.7 seconds left and a one-point lead, and Marquette was given a final shot. Jamil Wilson inbounded the ball to Blue near midcourt with five seconds remaining, and Blue drove all the way to the basket on Davidson’s Jake Cohen.
Blue, a 6-foot-4 guard, went to his left and got the ball off the backboard just over Cohen, who is 6-10.
Davidson (26-8) had won 17 games in a row, which was the longest active winning streak in the country.
Blue hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to bring Marquette within two points, but Nik Cochran answered with two free throws for the Wildcats.
Memphis 54, St. Mary’s 52
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Joe Jackson had 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds as sixth-seeded Memphis barely won in the Midwest Region at The Palace.
Matthew Dellavedova of St. Mary’s missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Jackson’s turnover with 1.9 seconds left.
Memphis’ defense keyed the victory, as the Tigers blocked 12 shots, including eight by D.J. Stephens, and had nine steals. Tarik Black supplied 12 points and seven rebounds and Adonis Thomas added 12 points for the Tigers, who led by 15 in the first half and hung on down the stretch.
Dellavedova, an 86 percent free throw shooter, missed two from the line in the final minutes, including the front end of a 1-and-1 with 4:16 left.
Jackson hit a 3-pointer at the other end and Memphis scored five consecutive points to lead, 49-40, getting just enough breathing room down the stretch.
Wichita State 73, Pitt 55
SALT LAKE CITY — Guard Malcolm Almstead scored 22 points and reserve forward Cleanthony Early had 21 points to lead Wichita State to a surprisingly one-sided victory.
While getting a pair of 20-point games was an offensive boost for the ninth-seeded Shockers, it was their stingy defense that pushed them into the next round.
Wichita State held eighth-seeded Pittsburgh scoreless for nearly six minutes spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half.
The Shockers went on an 11-0 run in that period and then sealed the win with a dominating 15-5 surge, which included a Tekele Cotton steal and slam and five points from Armstead.
Saint Louis 64, New Mexico State 44
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dwayne Evans poured in 24 points, including 16 in a first half in which he equaled New Mexico State’s total, as Saint Louis used suffocating defense early and an opportunistic offense late while cruising in the Midwest Regional at HP Pavilion.
The Billikens’ 16th victory in their last 17 games advanced them to a third-round.
Evans, the Most Outstanding Player of last week’s Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament in Brooklyn, got inside the New Mexico State zone defense for three open jumpers just inside the free-throw line, accounting for six of his 16 first-half points and helping the Billikens (28-6) run off to a 29-16 halftime advantage.
Butler 68, Bucknell 56
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Butler relented from its trademarked tight defense in the second half, but the Bulldogs took off the kid gloves and finished strong for a victory in the East Regional.
The Bulldogs (27-8), seeded sixth, allowed Bucknell to make a 17-2 run and take a 37-33 lead midway through the second half, but Butler answered with two quick 3-pointers to retake a lead, 39-37.
Those deep bombs, and the second was Rotnei Clarke’s shot from NBA range, were unusual because they were the Bulldogs’ 3-point baskets of the game, as Butler missed its first 13 tries from behind the arc.
Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Senior center Derrick Nix powered for 23 points and 15 rebounds and Michigan State scored 14 unanswered points in the first half as the third-seeded Spartans cruised in their Midwest Region opener at The Palace.
Keith Appling had 15 points and six rebounds for third-seeded Michigan State (26-8). Freshman Gary Harris chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Spartans, who led by as much as 27.
Making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004, Valparaiso (26-8) couldn’t recreate the magic of their 1998 run when current coach Bryce Drew hit an iconic buzzer beater to defeat Ole Miss. The Horizon League champion Crusaders, who were led by Ben Boggs’ 15 points and Erik Buggs’ 14, shot just 35.2 percent from the field.