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NCAA Tournament Roundup: Defending champion Villanova stunned by Wisconsin 65-62

Associated Press Published: March 19, 2017 4:00 AM
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- No. 1 and done.

Top-seeded Villanova was bounced from the NCAA Tournament by eighth-seeded Wisconsin, which overcame foul trouble for two of its stars in the second half Saturday to upset the defending champions 65-62 in the East Region.

Nigel Hayes scored 19 points, dropping a layup in traffic with 11.4 seconds left to put Wisconsin ahead 64-62, and Bronson Koenig added 17 for the tournament-toughened Badgers (27-9), who are going back to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year. They'll play next week at New York's Madison Square Garden after knocking off Villanova (32-4), which never found its traction in snowy Buffalo.

Josh Hart scored 19 to lead the Wildcats, but the senior guard was stripped by Wisconsin center Ethan Happ on a drive in the final seconds. Wisconsin's Vitto Brown then split a pair of free throws with four seconds left, but Villanova couldn't get off a final shot.

When the horn sounded, Wisconsin's red-clad fans erupted in celebration and the Badgers stormed the floor after taking down a No. 1 seed for the third time in four years. Wisconsin beat Arizona in 2014, Kentucky in 2015 and now can add Villanova to its list.

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Flushed with pride, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard hugged his wife and children as the Badgers' pep band played their hearts out.

For Villanova, it's a bitter end to a great season by the Big East champions, who came into the tournament expected to at least escape the East's bracket but had their hopes busted and will have to relish those moments from last year when they won their first title since 1985.

Wildcats coach Jay Wright was concerned about Wisconsin, calling them a "great number eight" seed. As it turned out, the Badgers were more than that, as savvy seniors Koenig and Hayes made several key plays in the closing minutes.

Super sub freshman Donte DiVincenzo scored 15 and Jalen Brunson added 11 for Villanova, which had looked so vulnerable in a first-round win over No. 16-seeded Mount St. Mary's.

The sloppy performance foreshadowed trouble for the Wildcats and it hurt that Kris Jenkins, the hero of last year's title game when he drained a 3-pointer to beat North Carolina, couldn't shake a prolonged shooting slump. Jenkins went just 2-of-9 against Wisconsin and finished 4-of-22 in two games in KeyBank Center.

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Jenkins and fellow seniors Hart and Darryl Reynolds finish their career 129-17 in four years, but the sting of their last loss might linger.

In other NCAA Tournament second-round games on Saturday:

EAST REGION

FLORIDA 65, VIRGINIA 39

Devin Robinson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, the fifth double-double of his career, and No. 4 seed Florida handled fifth-seeded Virginia 65-39 Saturday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Justin Leon added 14 points and nine boards for the Gators (26-8), who advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 11th time in school history and fifth in the last seven years. They will play No. 8 seed Wisconsin in the East Region in New York City on Friday.

They can thank stingy defense and a ridiculous run spanning halftime for this trip to Madison Square Garden.

Florida held Virginia (23-11) to a season-low 17 points in the first half and 30.2-percent shooting on the night. The turning point came late in the first half, when the Gators started a 21-0 run that was their most lopsided of the season.

WEST REGION

GONZAGA 79, NORTHWESTERN 73

SALT LAKE CITY -- Top-seeded Gonzaga fought off a wild Northwestern comeback for a 79-73 victory Saturday night with help from an untimely technical foul on Wildcats coach Chris Collins.

Northwestern trimmed a 22-point deficit to five and had the ball when Gonzaga's Zach Collins reached up through the basket to reject Dererk Pardon's shot with 4:54 left.

There was no call, and Collins, jawing with the officials all day, ran onto the court and was slapped with a technical foul.

Nigel Williams-Goss made both free throws, and eighth-seeded Northwestern (24-12), in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, never got closer.

Williams-Goss led the Zags (34-1) with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Collins and Jordan Mathews had 14 points each.

Bryant McIntosh, who hit the go-ahead free throws in Northwestern's opening-round win, had 20 for the Wildcats and Vic Law had 18.

WEST VIRGINIA 83, NOTRE DAME 71

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jevon Carter scored 24 points, and West Virginia is headed to the Sweet 16 for the third time since 2010 following a 83-71 win over Notre Dame.

Tarik Phillip added 12 points and Esa Ahmad had nine rebounds for the Mountaineers (28-8), the West region's fourth-seeded team.

Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson hit 10-of-15 shots, scored 27 points and had eight rebounds. The fifth-seeded Fighting Irish (26-10) were stopped from making their third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance after entering the tournament as the only school to reach each of the past two Elite Eight rounds.

Carter ended the game by bouncing the ball untouched atop the Fighting Irish key and then slamming it emphatically to the court as the final buzzer sounded, ending a matchup of former Big East rivals.

XAVIER 91, FLORIDA STATE 66

ORLANDO -- Trevon Bluiett scored 29 points and Kaiser Gates came off the bench to contribute 14 as the 11 seed Xavier pulled off its second upset of the NCAA Tournament with a 91-66 victory over third-seeded Florida State during Saturday's second round.

The Musketeers (23-13) advance to the West Region semifinal marking the second time in two years and the eighth time in program history they have made it to the Sweet 16. The Seminoles, the ACC runners-up, end their season at 26-9.

Florida State was the bigger program from a power conference, but Xavier came in as a tournament tested team and it showed. The Musketeers dominated the bigger and more athletic Seminoles inside and then put the game out of reach with their superior 3-point shooting.

ARIZONA 69, ST. MARY'S 60

SALT LAKE CITY -- Lauri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier combined for 30 points and No. 2-seeded Arizona rallied to defeat No. 7 Saint Mary's 69-60 and advance to the West Regional's Sweet Sixteen on Saturday night.

The Wildcats were on the ropes in the first half, but found life in the second half to pull away for the win.

The teams went back and forth in the second 20 minutes until Arizona went on an 11-2 run sparked by Trier, who took over the second half. He scored nine of those 11 points during the stretch with a dribble-drive layup, midrange jumpers and a 3-pointer. The run gave the Wildcats a 55-48 lead and Saint Mary's never led again.

Arizona shot 59.1 percent from the field in the second half.

Markkanen finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Trier scored 14.

Jock Landale battled with Markkanen throughout and had his 17th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Gaels. Teammate Calvin Hermanson added 14 points.

SOUTH REGION

BUTLER 74, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE 65

MILWAUKEE -- Kelan Martin scored 19 points, and Butler limited Middle Tennessee's athletic scorers with smothering defense in a 74-65 victory Saturday night to advance to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals.

The Bulldogs (25-8) are going to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011, when they wrapped up back-to-back appearances in the national title game.

Andrew Chrabascz added 15 points for fourth-seeded Butler, including a 3 with 3:25 left that snapped a 7-0 run for Middle Tennessee to get the lead back to 62-56.

The senior forward played an even more important role in leading a sterling defensive effort for the Bulldogs.

Conference USA Player of the Year JaCorey Williams finished with 20 points, but had to work hard for nearly every bucket for No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee (31-5).

Giddy Potts, who averaged nearly 16 points a game this year, was held scoreless, going 0-of-8 from the field.


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