Sunday's Men's NCAA Tournament Capsules

CHICAGO (AP) — Oh yeah, VCU belongs in the NCAA tournament. The real question now: Who can stop the Rams?

Fresh, fast, furious and at times flawless, VCU didn’t look a bit like a team playing its third game in five nights. The Rams pressured Purdue, broke through its defense for numerous layups, and overwhelmed the third-seeded Boilermakers of the Big Ten 94-76 Sunday night to earn their first trip to the round of 16.

As their fans chanted “VCU, VCU,” players hugged and celebrated on the floor of the United Center. What a trip — what a week — it has been. Now it’s on to San Antonio for the 11th-seeded Rams (26-11) to play Florida State on Friday in the Southwest regional semifinals.

It was just a week ago the Rams received an at-large bid to the disbelief of some critics. Shuttled off to Dayton for a first-round game, they beat Southern Cal on Wednesday, got into Chicago in the wee hours Thursday, routed Georgetown on Friday and then did the same to the Boilermakers.

“A week ago, we thought we were done,” said the relentless point guard Joey Rodriguez, who had 12 points, 11 assists and no turnovers in 34 minutes.

“And now, we’re here in the Sweet 16. Anything can happen now.”

Bradford Burgess scored 23 points to lead a balanced offense, and the Rams’ depth wore the Boilermakers down in the second half when the lead reached 20 points.

VCU finished with 26 assists to just four turnovers. The Rams didn’t hesitate to pop up 3-pointers — making 8-of-21 — but they also took it inside against Big Ten Player of the Year JaJuan Johnson, challenging the 6-foot-10 center.

“We made him work for everything he got,” said VCU coach Shaka Smart, noting Johnson appeared to tire a bit.

Johnson did finish with 25 points and 14 rebounds in the final game of a stellar career.

“Honestly it was just one of those nights. Basic principles that we didn’t execute on and that’s all on us, taking nothing away from VCU,” Johnson said.

But VCU really stopped the Boilermakers’ other star, E’Twaun Moore, holding him to 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting. That’s eight points below his average. Ryne Smith had 20 for Purdue, hitting 6-of-8 on 3-pointers.

Arizona 70, Texas 69

TULSA, Okla. — Derrick Williams’ three-point play with 9.6 seconds remaining lifted Arizona to a 70-69 win over Texas in the third round of the NCAA tournament Sunday.

The fifth-seeded Wildcats (29-7) led by as many as 13 in the first half and were up for most of the game before J’Covan Brown’s jumper put the No. 4 seed Longhorns ahead 69-67. Williams misfired on a tying attempt with 14.5 seconds remaining, but Texas (28-8) was called for a five-second violation on the inbounds play to give Arizona one more chance.

Replays appeared to show the call came before the count reached five — as a Texas player tried to call timeout.

Williams took advantage, slipping to the baseline on a pick-and-roll and taking the pass from Kyle Fogg. His shot banked in to tie the game, and his free throw put the Wildcats into the regional semifinals in their return to the NCAA tournament. Last year’s absence snapped a 25-year streak.

Arizona will play top-seeded Duke on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

Duke 73, Michigan 71

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nolan Smith scored 24 points and Duke held off a late rally to beat Michigan and give coach Mike Krzyzewski his 900th career victory.

Kyle Singler added 13 points for the Blue Devils (32-4), who shot 51 percent, never trailed in the second half and advanced to the round of 16 for the 12th time in 14 years.

Darius Morris scored 16 points to lead the eighth-seeded Wolverines (21-14), who trailed by 15 with 10:51 to play but clawed within one point twice in the final 90 seconds. They had one last chance after Smith missed a free throw with 8.7 seconds left.

Morris’ runner in the lane with 2 seconds left bounced off the back iron and Smith grabbed the rebound, sealing Duke’s trip to Anaheim for the West regional semifinals.

Krzyzewski improved to 900-283 in his 36th season.

N. Carolina 86, Washington 83

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tyler Zeller scored 23 points, Harrison Barnes added 22 and North Carolina survived a frantic finish to beat Washington and advance to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for a record 24th time.

Rallying from deficits of 11 points in the first half and five in the second, the second-seeded Tar Heels (28-7) went ahead for good on Barnes’ 3-pointer with 4:06 left. But they needed two free throws from Dexter Strickland and a defensive stop in the closing seconds to advance.

Terrence Ross scored 19 points for the seventh-seeded Huskies (24-11).

Marquette 66, Syracuse 62

CLEVELAND — Darius Johnson-Odom’s 3-pointer with 27 seconds left snapped a tie and gave Marquette a win over Big East foe Syracuse that put the Golden Eagles into the round of 16 for the first time in eight years.

The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles (22-14) had the winning basket set up by one of Syracuse’s 18 turnovers. Marquette will play North Carolina in the East regional semifinals Friday in Newark, N.J.

The Golden Eagles are in the round of 16 for the first time since Dwyane Wade led them to the Final Four in 2003.

This was the second straight early exit for third-seeded Syracuse (27-8). The Orange were a No. 1 seed last year and lost in the round of 16 to Butler.

Ohio St. 98, G. Mason 66

CLEVELAND — David Lighty made all seven of his 3-pointers and scored 25 points, Jared Sullinger added 18 after informing one of George Mason’s players “it’s over” and top-seeded Ohio State made 16 3s to advance in the NCAA tournament with a jaw-dropping rout.

The Buckeyes (34-2) took apart the eighth-seeded Patriots (27-7), who created some March mayhem a few years ago and hoped to follow Butler’s lead by taking out a No. 1 seed in this tourney.

Ohio State destroyed any upset plans and moved closer to its first national title since 1960.

The Buckeyes will meet Kentucky (27-8) in the East regional semifinals Friday in Newark. Ohio State is 5-0 in NCAA tournament matchups with the Wildcats.

After falling behind 11-2, the Big Ten champions used their devastating inside-outside attack to post the most lopsided tournament victory in school history.

William Buford scored 18 and freshman guard Aaron Craft had 15 assists for Ohio State.

Cam Long scored 16 points to lead George Mason, which played without Luke Hancock, one of its best players. The sophomore guard had food poisoning and remained with a trainer at the team’s hotel.

Kansas 73, Illinois 59

TULSA, Okla. — Twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 41 points and 24 rebounds, powering top-seeded Kansas past Illinois to ensure the Jayhawks wouldn’t make an opening-weekend exit from the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

The Jayhawks (34-2) avoided revisiting their loss to another No. 9 seed, Northern Iowa, exactly a year earlier and also on Oklahoma soil. Instead, they’re moving on in a bracket filled with upsets.

No. 11 seed VCU and 12th-seeded Richmond will join them in the Southwest regional semifinals in San Antonio. Kansas plays Richmond on Friday.

Mike Davis led the Fighting Illini (20-14) with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Fla. State 71, Notre Dame 57

CHICAGO — Bernard James scored 14 points, Michael Snaer added 13 and Florida State showed there’s more to its game than defense with a 71-57 upset of second-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday night that put the Seminoles in the regional semifinals for the first time since 1993.

It was an impressive effort by the 10th-seeded Seminoles, who had four players in double figures and were 9-of-19 from 3-point range.

Florida State (23-10) now faces upstart Virginia Commonwealth in the Southwest regional semifinals Friday in San Antonio.

For Notre Dame, meanwhile, it was another disappointing showing in the tournament. Ben Hansbrough scored 18 on 5-of-13 shooting before fouling out with 3:19 left.


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