One 12 seed got its first NCAA Tournament win in program history, another staged a huge comeback then hung on for a double-overtime victory and two 11 seeds also pulled upsets. In total, seven lower-seeded teams won in the tourney’s first 16 games, but of course, the No. 1 seeds have so far assured themselves a spot in the second round.
Not bad for the opening day at the NCAA Tournament.
YALE 79, BAYLOR 75
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Makai Mason had a career-high 31 points, including six of Yale’s final nine points, and the No. 12 seed Bulldogs held on to upset fifth seed Baylor on Thursday.
Yale (23-6) earned its first NCAA Tournament victory. It comes in its first appearance since 1962.
Justin Sears added 18 points. Brandon Sherrod finished with 10.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points in the second half before having its lead cut to 1 point. But a late turnover by the Bears helped Yale secure the victory.
Taurean Prince led Baylor (22-12) with 28 points. Johnathan Motley finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Expelled Yale player Jack Montague, dismissed last month because of a sexual assault allegation, was in the stands for the game. He was present as a fan and sat across from the Yale bench.
Yale will play No. 4 seed Duke on Saturday.
DUKE 93, UNC WILMINGTON 85
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Marshall Plumlee ditched the mask guarding his broken nose and responded by scoring a career-high 23 points to lead defending national champion Duke past UNC Wilmington.
Plumlee had 10 of his points and two blocks as the Blue Devils stepped up the defensive pressure early in the second half to build a lead after trailing at the break.
Duke (24-10), seeded fourth in the West, will next play Yale or Baylor. UNCW (25-8), seeded 13th, was in it until the closing moments after Plumlee and Matt Jones fouled out.
Grayson Allen also scored 23 points for the Blue Devils, but 15 came from the foul line as he shot just 4 of 12 from the field. Brandon Ingram added 20.
Craig Ponder led UNCW with 22 points. Chris Flemmings had 18, Denzel Ingram 17 and C.J. Bryce 16.
LITTLE ROCK 85, PURDUE 83, 2OT
DENVER (AP) – Little Rock is advancing thanks to an out-of-nowhere comeback that led to a victory over Purdue.
Josh Hagins sent the game into overtime with a shot from the edge of the midcourt logo, and then into double OT with an arcing shot off glass over an outstretched defender.
The 6-foot-1 senior finished with 31 points, including six in the second overtime.
The 12th-seeded Trojans (30-4), trailed 65-52 with 3:33 to go in regulation, and then went on a 12-0 run to make it a game. Trailing by three on the final possession, Hagins tried to find space, then stepped back and launched from 30 feet to tie it.
Little Rock will face Iowa State on Saturday in the second round.
Vince Edwards led Purdue (26-9) with 24 points.
GONZAGA 68, SETON HALL 52
DENVER (AP) – Gonzaga is moving on in the NCAA Tournament after pulling away from Seton Hall behind 21 points and 16 rebounds from Domantas Sabonis.
Kyle Wiltjer added 13 for the Bulldogs (27-7), who will play Utah on Saturday for a trip to the Sweet 16.
Gonzaga came in as an 11 seed – a team that struggled at times this season and was no sure bet to make its 18th straight trip into March Madness until it won its conference tournament.
But against sixth-seeded Seton Hall (25-9), this didn’t feel like an upset.
The key was limiting Isaiah Whitehead. Whitehead, the star of Seton Hall’s run to its first Big East tournament title since 1993, scored only 10 points and missed all 10 of his 3-point shots.
VIRGINIA 81, HAMPTON 45
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Anthony Gill scored 19 points and Virginia beat Hampton 81-45.
London Perrantes had 12 points and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 11 for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).
They shot 55 percent, hit 12 3-pointers and put this one well out of reach with a 20-3 run late in the first half before coach Tony Bennett collapsed and was taken to the locker room a few seconds early.
Virginia reported that Bennett was dehydrated, and he was back for the second half. His team had no problems advancing to face ninth-seeded Butler (22-10) on Saturday.
Quinton Chievous scored 17 points and Reginald Johnson Jr. had 10 for 16th-seeded Hampton (20-11), which was just 4 of 20 from 3-point range.
IOWA STATE 94, IONA 81
DENVER (AP) – Monte Morris showed no lingering effects of his right shoulder injury, scoring 20 points and dishing out eight assists in Iowa State’s win over Iona.
Georges Niang’s 28 points led the No. 3 seed Cyclones (22-11), who saw all five of their starters score in double figures. They will play either Purdue or Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday at the Pepsi Center.
Less than 24 hours after declaring he’d never felt better, Morris went out and proved it. Abdel Nader added 19 points, Matt Thomas had 14 and Jameel McKay 11 for the Cyclones.
A.J. English led 14th-seeded Iona (22-11) with 28 points and Jordan Washington scored 26.
BUTLER 71, TEXAS TECH 61
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Kelan Martin scored all 11 of his points in the final 8 1/2 minutes, including consecutive 3-pointers to break a tie game, to help Butler beat Texas Tech.
Kellen Dunham scored 23 points to lead the Bulldogs (22-10), including a critical 3 of his own with 2:26 left as the Midwest Region’s No. 9 seed finally pulled away in the final minutes. Butler shot 52 percent after halftime, using some NCAA Tournament experience to rally from an early eight-point deficit and finally push ahead midway through the second half.
Devaugntah Williams scored 18 points to lead the eighth-seeded Red Raiders (19-13), who were making their first tournament appearance since 2007. But Texas Tech made just 2 of 9 shots to close the game as Butler began to take over in the critical moments.
UTAH 80, FRESNO STATE 69
DENVER (AP) – Sophomore 7-footer Jakob Poeltl scored 16 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds to help Utah hold off feisty Fresno State.
Utah, the third seed in the Midwest, used a blistering 20-2 run down the stretch to regain control after falling behind for the first time all night with 10:32 remaining.
Lorenzo Bonham had 17 points and Brandon Taylor added 16 for the Utes (27-8), who will try for their second straight trip to the Sweet 16 when they face Seton Hall or Gonzaga on Saturday night.
Marvelle Harris, the Mountain West’s player of the year, led the Bulldogs (25-10) with 24 points. It was their first NCAA appearance since 2001.
WICHITA STATE 65, ARIZONA 55
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker combined for 29 points and Wichita State’s swarming defense did the rest as the Shockers beat Arizona.
Wichita State (26-8) will play Miami (26-7), the third seed in the South Region, on Saturday.
Arizona coach Sean Miller called a timeout 53 seconds into the game after VanVleet and Baker pounced on a loose ball in the Wildcats end. It was evident from the outset that Wichita State’s in-your-face defense was going to be the decisive factor against Arizona (25-9).
The Shockers forced 19 turnovers they converted into 22 points and snared nine steals.
Arizona’s big three of Ryan Anderson, Gabe York, and Allonzo Trier, each averaging 15 points, combined for 28.
KANSAS 105, AUSTIN PEAY 79
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Svi Mykhailiuk scored a career-high 23 points, Perry Ellis added 21 and top-seeded Kansas throttled Austin Peay.
Landen Lucas scored 16 points for the Jayhawks (31-4), who will face Connecticut on Saturday with a chance to return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013.
Kansas, the No. 1 seed in the South Region, jumped ahead by 20 by halftime and cruised to its 10th straight win in an NCAA Tournament opener.
Josh Robinson scored 24 points for the Governors (18-18), who learned quickly that the magic they leaned on to win four straight and the Ohio Valley title was no match for talent-laded Jayhawks.
CONNECTICUT 74, COLORADO 67
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Rodney Purvis, Daniel Hamilton and a stifling defense carried Connecticut back from an 11-point first-half deficit, giving the Huskies enough for a victory over Colorado that kept coach Kevin Ollie unbeaten in the NCAA Tournament.
Purvis scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime, Daniel Hamilton had 17 points and 10 rebounds and the No. 9 seed Huskies (25-10) advanced to the second round of the South Region.
Josh Scott had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the No. 8 Buffaloes (22-12), finishing 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament in his career. He had five of Colorado’s 11 misses in 30 free-throw attempts, aiding UConn’s comeback.
MIAMI 79, BUFFALO 72
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Angel Rodriguez had 24 points and seven rebounds as third-seeded Miami held on to defeat No. 14 seed Buffalo.
Sheldon McClellan added 20 points and five rebounds. It is Miami’s first tournament win since it went to the Sweet 16 in 2013. The Hurricanes advance to play the winner of Arizona and Wichita State in the second round of the South Region on Saturday.
Miami (26-7) kept the Bulls at bay for most of the second half, leading by as many as 12.
The Bulls (20-15) finally got some traction, closing within 72-68 on a jumper by Lamonte Bearden with less than two minutes to play. But Miami hit enough free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Nick Perkins had 20 points and six rebounds to lead Buffalo. Bearden added 19 points.
NORTH CAROLINA 83, FLORIDA GULF COAST 67
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Brice Johnson scored 18 points and No. 1 seed North Carolina needed an overwhelming second-half start to put away 16th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast.
Isaiah Hicks added 12 points off the bench for the Tar Heels (29-6), who led by just a point after a frustration-filled opening 20 minutes in which the Eagles stayed right with the East Region’s top seed. But UNC dominated the opening 10 minutes of the second half, running off a 20-3 burst by controlling the boards and locking down defensively to build a 20-point lead.
That helped the Tar Heels avoid the unwanted history of being the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed in tournament history.
Florida Gulf Coast (21-14) already owned a bit of underdog history with its ”Dunk City” bunch the first 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16, in 2013.
INDIANA 99, CHATTANOOGA 74
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Yogi Ferrell had 20 points and a season-high 10 assists, O.G. Anunoby pitched in 14 points and No. 5 seed Indiana took charge of its NCAA Tournament opener against Chattanooga.
Thomas Bryant had 13 points and Troy Williams added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Hoosiers (26-7), who had their high-powered offense in prime form. They shot 37 for 57 from the floor for 64.9 percent. Anunoby, the long-armed freshman forward, was 6 for 7 with a highlight-reel array of 3-pointers and dunks.
Duke Ethridge had 14 points and Justin Tuoyo scored 12 points for the No. 12 seed Mocs (29-6), whose stellar first season under young coach Matt McCall came to a screeching end.
KENTUCKY 85, STONY BROOK 57
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Jamal Murray led five players in double figures with 19 points and fourth-seeded Kentucky routed Stony Brook, setting up a showdown with rival Indiana in the second round.
Isaiah Briscoe scored 13 with 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (27-8), who haven’t faced the Hoosiers since beating them in the Sweet 16 in 2012.
Kentucky opened the second half on a 20-6 run that put it ahead 53-25 with 14 minutes to go. The Wildcats hit 13 of their first 16 shots after the break, helping validate coach John Calipari’s cries that they were under-seeded.
Jameel Warney had 23 points and 15 rebounds for Stony Brook (26-7), which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Seawolves, who shot 47.6 percent entering play, was just 20 of 76 from the field.
PROVIDENCE 70, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 69
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Rodney Bullock hit a layup with 1.5 seconds left and Providence beat Southern California.
Ben Bentil scored 19 points and Bullock finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the ninth-seeded Friars (24-10) earn their first win in the tournament since 1997. They will face top-seeded North Carolina (29-6) on Saturday in the second round of the East Regional.
Jordan McLaughlin had 15 points for eighth-seeded Southern California (21-13), which missed the front ends of two one-and-ones in the final minute.
Julian Jacobs’ missed free throw with 11.6 seconds set up Providence’s last chance. Big East player of the year Kris Dunn missed a jumper with about 5 seconds left and the rebound went out of bounds to the Friars.
Drew Edwards then inbounded the ball to Bullock and he banked in the go-ahead layup.