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UMBC made sports history on Friday night by becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The America East champions pulled off a shocking 74-54 upset over No. 1 seed Virginia in the South Region.
The Retrievers (25-10) not only made history by beating a No. 1 seed — they also knocked off the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament in dominating fashion. Tied at the half, UMBC jumped out to a double-digit lead and maintained its dominance throughout the second half by consistently knocking down three-pointers and keeping the pressure on.
Senior guard Jairus Lyle, the team’s hero in the America East title game, finished with 28 points to pace the Retrievers as he went 9-for-11 from the field. Joe Shurburne (14 points), Arkel Lamar (12 points) and K.J. Maura (10 points) also finished in double-figures for UMBC, as they extended its winning streak to six games.
Virginia (31-3) won the ACC regular season by four games. They took the league’s conference tournament as well. The Cavaliers were the most consistent team in college basketball this season. The Cavaliers lost sixth man DeAndre Hunter to the season with an injury earlier in the week. They were still a heavy favorite in this game.
But Virginia struggled to knock down three-pointers. It was clear Virginia started playing scared once the upset became apparent. And that’s how once of the biggest upsets in sports history went down. Sophomore guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome led Virginia with 15 points each.
Virginia shot only 41 percent (23-for-56) from the field and 19 percent (4-for-22) from three-point range as they couldn’t find consistent offense or a go-to player.
UMBC advances to battle No. 9 seed Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats advanced earlier on Friday night with a balanced effort in a win over No. 8 seed Creighton.
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DETROIT — Marek Dolezaj scored 17 points before fouling out and 11th-seeded Syracuse shut down sixth-seeded TCU for a 57-52 victory in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
The Orange (22-13) won for the second time in the tournament and advanced to face third-seeded Michigan State on Sunday by holding off the Horned Frogs with another impressive defensive effort. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field.
TCU (21-12) is still without an NCAA Tournament victory since 1987, when coach Jamie Dixon was a player. This was the school’s first appearance since 1998, and it was short-lived.
There was little doubt who won the much-anticipated matchup between TCU’s excellent offense and Syracuse’s zone defense. The Horned Frogs were held 31 points below their season average.
Syracuse led 50-49 before mid-range shots by Tyus Battle and Frank Howard pushed the lead to five. That margin was plenty in this game.
A tight, compelling contest throughout, the game nevertheless had an odd feel, with Little Caesars Arena having mostly emptied out after the Michigan State-Bucknell game. TCU and Syracuse played in front of a handful of fans who at times seemed as interested in periodic Virginia-UMBC updates as what was going on in front of them on the court.
TCU struggled offensively throughout, but the Horned Frogs did score eight straight points to finish the first half with a 28-27 lead.
It’s March, and Syracuse again looks like a threat after barely making the NCAAs as the last team selected for the field of 68. The Orange weren’t impressive at all on offense, but it didn’t matter. Now it’ll be Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s turn to try to solve that 2/3 zone.
TCU had one real highlight on the night — an alley-oop pass from Alex Robinson to Kenrich Williams near the end of the first half that traveled about three-quarters of the length of the court.
Syracuse had to beat Arizona State in the First Four to start this tournament, so the game against Michigan State will be its third in five days.
The offseason comes earlier than TCU would like, but the program is clearly making progress under Dixon.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ninth-seeded Florida State has lots of guys who can score, and the Seminoles used that depth to win their fourth straight NCAA Tournament opener.
Mfiondu Kabengele scored 14 points, and Florida State beat No. 8 seed Missouri 67-54 on Friday night in the West Region.
Florida State (21-11) will play No. 1 seed Xavier in the second round on Sunday.
PJ Savoy had 12 points and Phil Cofer scored 11. A total of 10 Seminoles scored at least two points apiece — by halftime — as they wore out Missouri, which had only eight healthy players available.
This was the first trip to the tournament for every player on the roster for Missouri (20-13). Even with new players and a new coach in Cuonzo Martin, the Tigers head home from their first NCAA trip since 2013 with the program’s fourth straight loss in a first round.
Kassius Robertson had 19 points for Missouri. Michael Porter Jr. scored 16 in what might be his final college game, with 13 in the second half. Missouri never got closer than six in the second half before the Seminoles sealed the win with 15 straight points.
The Tigers started well enough as Robertson opened the game with a 3-pointer, and Missouri scored seven of the first eight points.
That’s when Florida State woke up.
Cofer scored on a tip-in, starting an 11-0 run capped by Savoy’s 3-pointer. That would up as part of a 20-4 spurt capped by a 3-pointer by Braian Angola midway through the half. Florida State went into intermission up 42-20, and all 10 Seminoles who played scored.
This was just the third game this season for Porter, the possible NBA lottery pick who suffered a back injury in Missouri’s season opener. Even with another week of practice since the Southeastern Conference Tournament, he looked rusty. Porter had the ball stolen from him with 7:55 left in the first half and followed that up just over a minute later with an airball jumper.
The Tigers pulled within 52-44 on a pair of free throws by Porter as Missouri opened the second half by outscoring Florida State 24-8.
Cofer hit two of three free throws to start a 15-0 spurt that pushed the lead back to double digits. By the time Missouri scored again, Jontay Porter’s jumper with 5:08 left only pulled the Tigers within 65-46.
Florida State: The Seminoles came in having lost three of four. But they came in as the ACC’s third-highest scoring team, averaging 81.8 points a game, and they showed off their offense by smothering Missouri in points.
Missouri: The Tigers will never know how much having their second-leading scorer might have helped. Guard Jordan Barnett was suspended from Missouri’s first-round game after being arrested for driving while intoxicated last week . The senior guard was averaging 13.7 points per game.
Florida State: Playing Xavier for a trip to the Sweet 16.
Missouri: Waiting to see if Michael Porter Jr. enjoyed college life enough to stick around for his sophomore season or chooses to enter the NBA draft as a possible lottery pick.
The eyes of the sports world are on UMBC. Cinderella has arrived.
The No. 16 seed shocked No. 1 seed Virginia by double digits on Friday night as the Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
UMBC’s basketball team wasn’t the only group from the school ready to go on Friday night.
The school’s social media presence was trolling everyone and showing tons of swagger as the Retrievers built a second-half double-digit lead on Virginia.
The UMBC Athletics account called out pundits, trolled doubters and had fun with fans during a special moment in sports history.
We won 24 games and a conference title, it’s not like we are a YMCA team, dude https://t.co/TNYHHdwNZy
— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 17, 2018
We’re just a 16 seed, happy to be here, also we’re up 35-24 on No.1 Virginia with Jairus going to the line to shoot 3 ft with 15:52 left
— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 17, 2018
Hi Seth, remember when you declared the game over at tip? We are up 14 with 14 minutes left https://t.co/duUviOMvZO
— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 17, 2018
University of Maryland Baltimore County, who are you? https://t.co/XGp9MacmGb
— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 17, 2018
Now that the historic win has gone down, UMBC, and their social media account, have become immortal.
Xavier got off to a slow start, but rallied to run past No. 16 Texas Southern for a 102-83 NCAA tournament victory on Friday night in the West Region.
The Musketeers (29-5) had huge performances from seniors Trevon Bluiett (26 points) and J.P. Macura (29 points) as the duo combined for seven three-pointers and 35 points in the first 20 minutes. The duo ended up getting a third major scorer in the second half when senior big man Kerem Kanter stepped up his play. Kanter ended up with 24 points.
Xavier shot 45 percent (11-for-24) from three-point range and 54 percent from the field (35-for-64) in the win.
Texas Southern (16-20) went on a 16-0 run at one point in the first half to take a 20-13 lead. The Tigers had the momentum, but things quickly turned the other way when Xavier responded with its own 16-0 flurry.
The Tigers had five double-figure scorers, led by point guard Damontrae Jefferson with 20 points, but they couldn’t get stops on the other end. Guard Derrick Bruce finished with 18 points while Robert Lewis (14 points), Donte Clark (12 points) and Trayvon Reed (10 points) also finished in double-figures.
The Tigers started this season 0-13 as they lost all road games against tough competition. The SWAC champions rallied to win eight straight games before the NCAA tournament and put up an admirable fight before falling to the Big East regular season champions.
Xavier moves on to face the winner of No. 8 seed Missouri and No. 9 seed Florida State as the Musketeers could have a tough matchup against either team.
Auburn did everything they possibly could to become the third No. 4 seed to fall to a No. 13 seed in their first round game of the NCAA tournament.
Charleston, who was essentially playing without their best player, Joe Chealey, who was a shell of himself as he battled an ankle injury, turned the ball over 21 times and shot 5-for-22 from beyond the arc and still managed to find a way to be ahead in the final three minutes.
The Tigers, who are eighth in the country in free throw shooting percentage, made just 15-of-32 from the charity stripe. They missed all 13 threes they shot in the first half — a first for the program in Bruce Pearl’s tenure — and finish the night just 5-for-24 from beyond the arc while shooting 35.6 percent from the floor.
After Bruce Brown missed a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, Charleston’s Grant Riller had a shot to tie the game. He missed, Auburn finally made a free throw down the stretch, and the Tigers escaped with a 62-58 win that they barely deserved.
The most important part of that sentence, however, is “win”.
There’s a reason that the saying in March is “survive and advance”. As long as you survive, as long as you live to advance and play another day, there’s always a chance.
I don’t think there is a single player on that Auburn roster, on the Auburn coaching staff or in the state of Alabama that will believe that the way they played on Friday night will be enough to get this team — who were co-champions of the SEC that went wire to wire in first place in the league — where they want to be this year. And to be frank, with the injury to Anfernee McLemore and the shoulder issue that is plaguing Bruce Brown, there’s a chance that this team may be too beaten down to make any kind of serious run in March.
But they’re still here.
Hope is still alive.
And that counts for something.
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