By The Associated Press — Charles Matthews had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Michigan locked down on defense and the third-seeded Wolverines beat Montana 61-47 in a plodding first-round NCAA Tournament game Thursday night.
Michigan (29-7) trailed by 10 in the opening minutes, struggled to get into rhythm until late in the first half, and never really went on a big run to seize control of the game.
Instead, coach John Beilein’s team methodically drew away over a long period of the second half when No. 14 seed Montana (25-8) failed to score, and chugged into a matchup with sixth-seeded Houston – a last-second winner over San Diego State – in the second round of the West Region.
Michael Oguine and Ahmaad Rorie scored 15 points apiece to lead the Grizzlies.
Perhaps the Wolverines were a bit rusty by the long layoff after the Big Ten Tournament, which was moved up a week so that it could be played at Madison Square Garden this year, because it was the plucky Big Sky champions who roared to the game’s first 10 points.
Michigan will take on Houston in the Second Round Saturday night —
St. Bonaventure’s postseason run is in trouble two days after the Bonnies won their first NCAA Tournament game in 48 years.
Egor Koulechov has 13 points to lead Florida, which was leading 54-37 with less than 10 minutes remaining in an East Region first-round game. The Gators have reached the Elite Eight in their past five trips to the tournament.
A whirlwind week has caught up with St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies are shooting 28 percent and have just nine field goals.
The Bonnies were practicing about 12 hours after arriving in Dallas. They beat UCLA in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday. Courtney Stockard, who scored 26 points in the win over the Bruins, was leading St. Bonaventure with 11 points.
Arizona’s surprise loss to Buffalo means the Pac-12 is now Pac-done.
It’s the first time since 1986 that the conference went winless in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona, Utah and Washington all lost their opening games that year.
It’s a disappointing end for the conference that only put three teams in the field and lost UCLA and Arizona State in the First Four in Dayton.
Less than 10 percent of fans with brackets in ESPN and Yahoo games selected Buffalo to win. About 5 percent picked Arizona as the national champion.
John Petty scored 20 points and hit a late 3-pointer that helped clinch No. 9 seed Alabama’s 86-83 win over Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
Petty hit 3 that made it 75-70 and gave the Crimson Tide (20-15) just enough breathing to hang on and advance to play top-seeded Villanova on Saturday.
The eighth-seeded Hokies had a little bit of spark left. They a clutch steal from Justin Robinson and he ended up crashing the lane for an apparent basket that was whistled off because of a charge. Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams, his voice already hoarse, erupted on the sideline and was hit with a technical foul.
Collin Sexton led Alabama with 25 points.
Robinson scored 19 points and Justin Bibbs had 17 points for the Hokies (21-12).
Sexton’s matchup against Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson should make a great matchup in the second round.
The second half of Michigan’s game against Montana in the West Region was delayed for about five minutes with 17:53 to go when the power running the shot clocks went out.
The Wolverines had just stretched their lead to 38-30 on a 3-pointer by Zavier Simpson when the clocks froze at 15 seconds. The officials whistled the game to a halt, and it took a lengthy amount of time -and a bunch of guys wearing suits- to figure out what to do.
The control board was swapped out and the game eventually resumed.
Buffalo is giving Arizona fits with its quickness.
The Bulls are repeatedly getting to the rim for baskets and have collapsed on defense to force the Wildcats to shoot from the perimeter.
The 13th-seeded Bulls lead No. 4 seed Arizona 65-55 midway through the second half in Boise.
Montana is giving third-seeded Michigan everything it can handle in the first round of their West Regional matchup, scoring the game’s first 10 points and trailing just 31-28 at halftime.
Perhaps the Wolverines were a bit rusty by the long layoff between the Big Ten Tournament and the start of the NCAA Tournament. They haven’t played in well over a week.
Michigan would be in worse shape if not for Charles Matthews, who has 12 points and seven rebounds. He’s 6 for 8 from the field, providing the Big Ten champs their only consistent offense.
Justin Bibbs hit all three 3-pointers to help ninth-seeded Virginia Tech grab a 43-41 lead over Alabama at halftime.
Bibbs had 11 points in the half and the Hokies were an impressive 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
The ninth-seeded Crimson Tide shot a solid 60 percent from the floor to keep this opening-round game close.
Virginia Teach coach Buzz Williams must have been a screamer on the sideline. He was hoarse during his halftime interview.
The winner gets top-seeded Villanova on Saturday.
Rob Gray drove for a wind-milling layup that just trickled over the rim with 1.1 seconds left, and Trey Kell’s off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer was no good, giving No. 6 seed Houston a 67-65 victory over San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
Devin Watson had just tied the game for the Aztecs with a turnaround 3-pointer, his second in a matter of seconds, when Gray dribbled up floor with 29 seconds left. He allowed the clock to tick down to six seconds before crossing over, scooting under two defenders and scooping up his shot.
The layup gave him 39 points and the Cougars (27-7) their first tournament win since 1984.
Devin Davis and Corey Davis Jr. added nine points apiece for Houston, which lost two players to fouls down the stretch, and struggled to contain the Aztecs’ big front line.
Kentucky’s record streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer has ended.
The Wildcats had it a 3 in every game since 1988, but went 0 for 6 in a 78-73 win over Davidson in the South Region.
Kentucky last went without a 3-pointer on Nov. 26, 1988, against Seton Hall in the Great Alaska Shootout, a span of 1,047 games.
The streak nearly came to an end against Missouri in February. The Wildcats were 0 of 13 from 3-point range until Wenyen Gabriel knocked one down with 2:51 left.
UNLV now has the longest streak at 1,040 straight games.
Stephen F. Austin is looking to be the life of March Madness again but No. 3 seed Texas Tech made a run to tighten the Lumberjacks’ lead midway through the second half. Stephen F. Austin leads 53-52 with just about eight minutes left on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Kentucky pulled away late in the second half to stifle Davidson’s chances of sparking a Cinderella run 10 years after Steph Curry made his mark on March Madness.
Looks like Alabama forward Donta Hall will play for the Crimson Tide in their first-round game against Virginia Tech.
Hall took the court with the rest of his teammates for warm-ups six days after suffering a concussion in the second half of a victory over Auburn in the SEC Tournament. Hall has been the most consistent big man this season for the Crimson Tide, averaging 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Head coach Avery Johnson said there was a 60 percent chance Hall would be able to face the Hokies.
Top-seeded Villanova’s scorching shooting lifted the Wildcats to an easy 87-61 win over Radford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Jalen Brunson led six Wildcats in double figures with 16 points as Villanova cruised. Mikal Bridges added 13 points for the Wildcats.
Villanova (31-4) knocked down 14 3-pointers and shot 60 percent (31 of 52) from the field for the Big East champions, who will play either Virginia Tech or Alabama in the second round on Saturday.
Donald Hicks scored 13 for Radford (23-13) but Villanova needed just 11 minutes to build a 20-point lead and the Highlanders never threatened.
No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin has a 30-27 halftime lead over Big 12 runner-up Texas Tech.
Kevon Harris hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to put the Lumberjacks back in the lead. SFA led for 15 minutes in the first half.
This is a matchup of former junior college colleges who used to have meals together at McDonald’s on recruiting trips. Chris Beard is in his second season at Texas Tech, like Kyle Keller at Stephen F. Austin.
All-Big 12 guard Keenan Evans had only four points – on four free throws while going 0-for-4 from the field. But he had the highlight assist, starting the alley-oop play that ended with a 360-degree dunk by Zhaire Smith.
Rob Gray has shot sixth-seeded Houston to a 39-29 lead over San Diego State at halftime of their opening-round game in the West Region.
The Cougars’ star guard hit a 3-pointer from about 30 feet as the shot clock wound down, and just before the halftime buzzer, to finish with 16 points. He also has five rebounds.
Houston struggled early against the Aztecs’ length, especially 6-foot-11 forwards Malik Pope and Jalen McDaniels. But the Cougars finally had success getting to the rim late in the half, allowing them to draw away to their biggest lead of the game.
Tournament betting favorite Villanova is rolling against Radford in the first round.
The top-seeded Wildcats thrashed No. 16 Radford in the first half of their NCAA Tournament game.
The Wildcats lead 44-23.
It could have been much worse. At one point, Big East player of the year Jalen Brunson had 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting. Radford? Just 10 points on 4 of 20 from the floor.
Villanova started the game shooting 81 percent. For those who struggle with math, that’s a crisp 81 percent.
Radford won a First Four game to advance to Pittsburgh. The Wildcats just won the Big East Tournament in New York. With more shooting performances like this one, they’ll win much, much more in March.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann gave a special shoutout after his fifth-seeded Buckeyes beat No. 12 seed South Dakota State 81-73, saying his players were motivated by bracketeers saying they would lose.
Holtmann said in a postgame TV interview Thursday that he gets the hoopla over upsets and his team may have fed into it with some mixed results.
But fans weren’t fading the Buckeyes nearly as much as he thinks – more than three-fourths picked Ohio State to win in the first round, better backing than fellow No. 5 seed Clemson.
The upset many fans called was Loyola of Chicago, which beat Miami on a last-second 3-pointer to reward 36 percent of the brackets filled out on ESPN and Yahoo.
Loyola Chicago’s Donte Ingram drained a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to help the 11th-seeded Ramblers defeat No. 6 seed Miami 64-62 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Miami had one last chance, but the Hurricanes had to go the length of the court and couldn’t get a shot off.
The Ramblers won the Missouri Valley Tournament to reach the NCAAs for the first time since losing to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the Sweet 16 in 1985. It was Loyola’s 11th straight win.
Loyola advanced to play No. 3 seed Tennessee on Saturday.
Seton Hall and North Carolina State have decided defense is optional in their first-round game.
Desi Rodriguez poured in 14 points, Khadeem Carrington added 13 and the Pirates shot 61 percent from the field in taking a 51-41 lead over the Wolfpack into halftime.
Seton Hall scored on its first eight possessions, building an early led it kept most of the half.
Al Freeman led three Pirates in double-figures scoring with 14 first-half points.
The winner gets top-seeded Kansas in the Midwest Region’s second round Saturday.
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