Dog Day Friday: Norfolk State over Missouri and Lehigh over Duke heads parade of lower seed winners
On Thursday, higher seeds won 14 of 16 matchups with favorites going 9-6-1. On Friday, the lower seeds and dogs were back with a vengeance winning half the 16 games with the dogs barking nine times. For the first time in tournament history, two No.15 seeds won over No.2 seeds as Norfolk State Spartons upset Missouri and the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh knocked out Duke for their first ever win in the Big Dance. Both teams can make history again on Sunday as no No.15 seed has ever advanced to the Sweet Dieciseis. Here are the game-by-game thumbnails followed by a brief preview and some free plays for Saturday.
Cincinnati jumped out to a 16-2 lead over Texas and led the Longhorns 31-17 at the half. J’Covan Brown (19 points) led a furious Longhorn comeback that cut the lead to one with 5:43 to play but the Bearcats held on for the 65-59 win. Yancy Gates had 15/10 for the winners who kept UT in the game by going 8-16 from the foul line and 3-16 from beyond the arc. Cinn meets Florida State in the Round of 32.
North Carolina State was one the “sexy” picks among the talking heads and the only higher seed to be favored in Thursday/Friday action. The Wolf Pack took the lead at 27-26 and never looked back cruising to a 79-65 win over San Diego State. Lorenzo Brown had 17/9/8 for NC State who held the Aztecs to just 23-61 (37%) from the field.
The Creighton Bluejays overcame an 11-point second half deficit to edge Alabama 59-58. Josh Jones missed two FTs with eight seconds left but block the Tides final shot to seal the deal. Doug McDermott, the nation’s third leading scorer and MVC MVP, had 16/10 including nine down the stretch. McDermott went to HS with North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes who he’ll face in the next round.
The Florida is one of the top outside shooting teams in the country and generally live and die by the three. The Gators connected on just four of their 23 trifecta but connected on 24 of 30 two point shots to rout Virginia 71-49. It was one and done for the Cavs who were outrebounded 36-19.
St Bonnies led the first 32:24 of their game with Florida State but coulsn’t seal the deal as the Seminoles escaped with a 66-63 victory. Bernard James had 19/9 for FSU while Bonnie NBA prospect Andrew Nicholson was the best player on the floor and finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds.
Belmont was the “other sexy pick” by the pundits for Friday but the Bruins got their doors blown off by the bigger and more athletic Georgetown Hoyas. GTown shot a sizzling 61% (30-49) from the field in what turned out to be a laugher. Blake Jenkins 17 points was the only bright spot for Belmont.
North Carolina barely broke a sweat in manhandling a weary and outmanned Vermont outfit. The Catamounts had just two players in double-digits and leading scorer Four McGlynn was held to just six points. Tyler Zeller and James Michael McAdoo had 17 for UNC who were without defensive wiz John Henson for the third straight game.
If you knew that Missouri would shoot 52% from the field and knock down 13 treys, would you have thought that they had won ??? The Tigers couldn’t get it done in on the defensive end as three Spartans scored 20+ points. Norfolk State outrebounded Mizzou 35-23 and interestingly enough had ZERO bench points. The win came exactly 11 years to the day since Norfolk conference rival Hampton upset Iowa State as a 15-seed.
Memphis and St Louis were all tied at 23-23 at the half but the final 20 minutes was all Billikens who rolled to a 61-54 win. It’s going to be a long summer for young Tiger HC Josh Pastner and underachieving Memphis. St Louis coach Rick Majerus is now 11-1 in NCAA opening round play.
Lehigh not only beat Duke, they won in what was for all intents and purposes a Duke home game. CJ McCollum was a one-man wrecking crew for the Engineers. lehigh won the game at the foul line outscoring the Blue Devils 25-16 from the charity stripe. It was the second time in 16 years that Duke bowed out in the opening round.
In a battle of college basketball legacies, the Nick Kellogg and the Ohio Bobcats beat Michigan featuring Tim Hardaway Jr 65-60. Ohio was in control the entire way and the much respected Armadillo commented that you would have never thought that this was an upet if you didn’t know the names on the uniforms. Two years ago Ohio beat Georgetown as a No.14 seed.
Purdue led St Mary’s for the first 39:15 before the Gaels took a one-point lead with 45 seconds to go. The Boilers scored the Final Cuatro points and watched a Rob Jones three-pointer at the buzzer clang off the rim for the 72-69 win. Terone Johnson had 21 points on 9-13 shooting for Purdue.
Michigan State throttle LIU 89-67 behind a triple-double by Draymond Green. The Spartans led by just five at the half but outscored the Blackbirds 47-30 in the second stanza. Sparty shot 58% from the field and held LIU to just three offensive rebounds.
On Wednesday, South Florida held Cal to just 13 first half points in their play-in game. Friday, the Bulls held Temple to just 19 first half points but … scored just 15 themselves. USF put the hammer down in the second half outscoring the Owls 43-25 in a 58-44 win. USF plays tough physical defense.
Xavier rallied from 11 down in the second half to send Notre Dame home 67-63. The Muskateers outscored the Irish 18-4 from the foul line and that was the difference. Remember that Xavier was unbeaten prior to their brawl with Cincinnati, an incident that the Muskies have been slow to overcome. They could be flicking the switch at the right time as this is a very talented bunch.
In the night’s finale, the Kansas Jayhawks dispatched Detroit in routine fashion 65-50. The Titans could manage just 30% shooting from the field. Thomas Robinson had 16/13 for the winners who will meet Purdue on Sunday. Detroit finished an injury filled up and own year at 22-14.
(CBB) Marquette -5.5 over Murray State, 5:15 PM EST
(CBB) New Mexico/Louisville Under 128.5, 9:40 PM EST
(NBA) NY Knicks +4 over Indiana
(NBA) Chicago -6 over Philadelphia