Indianapolis, IN – Upsets highlighted the first full day of the NCAA Tournament. A 15-seed (Oral Roberts), a 13-seed (North Texas), a 12-seed (Oregon State) and an 11-seed (Syracuse) all advanced into the second round.
Oral Roberts pulled off the biggest upset of the day, defeating Ohio State for their first NCAA tournament win since 1974. The Golden Eagles prevailed in overtime 75-72 over the 2-seed Buckeyes. Oral Roberts came out and scored the game’s first seven points, putting Ohio State on notice that they were in for a game. Ohio State came back to lead by eight before Max Abmas, the leading scorer in the country, took control of the half. He hit 5-of-7 three-pointers in the half to help the Golden Eagles to a 36-33 lead. Oral Roberts led most of the second half before Ohio State took a 60-58 lead with under five minutes left. Oral Roberts stayed close and tied the game at 64 with 14 seconds remaining on two free throws by Kevin Obanor. The Buckeyes had a chance to win it but Duane Washington Jr. missed a jumper in the last possession of regulation time.
Obanor took control in overtime, scoring seven of Oral Roberts’ 11 points. The Buckeyes fought back again but missed two three-pointers, the last an open shot from the top of the circle that would have tied the game. Obanor led the Golden Eagles (17-10) with 30 points and 11 rebounds while Abnas added 29 points. E.J. Liddell led Ohio State (21-10) with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
North Texas topped No. 4-seed Purdue 78-69 in overtime behind 24 points from Javion Hamlet for their first NCAA tournament win ever. The Mean Green (18-9) were in control for much of the game taking an eight-point lead into halftime and maintaining the lead through much of the second half. Purdue (18-10) rallied from a nine-point deficit to eventually tie the game and force overtime. In overtime the Boilermakers went cold and did not score until 26.1 seconds were left. By then North Texas had scored 11 straight points. Hamlet added 11 rebounds and five assists while making all eight of his free throws. Freshman Jaden Ivy did his best to keep Purdue close, finishing with a career-high 26 points. Purdue was the third Big Ten team knocked out of the tournament with Ohio State’s loss today and Michigan State’s loss to UCLA last night.
Oregon State had a mediocre regular season but got hot and won the Pac-12 tournament. Different role players have stepped up for the Beavers in each recent game. Today it was 7-1 junior center Roman Silva who made all eight of his field goal attempts and added four rebounds and three blocks. Oregon State took an early double-digit lead and never looked back in a 70-56 win over 5-seed Tennessee. It was Oregon State’s first NCAA tournament win in 39 years. The Beavers led at halftime 33-19 and was never challenged in the second half. They connected on 10-of-21 3s while the Volunteers missed their first nine shots from deep and finished shooting 5-of-26 (19%). Tennessee, playing without John Fulkerson, were out-rebounded by seven.
Buddy Boeheim scored 30 points, connecting 7-of-10 three-pointers as 11th-seeded Syracuse coasted to a 78-62 win over San Diego State, a 6-seed. Syracuse held San Diego State to zero field goals over a ten-minute stretch to the end of the first half. The Orange connected on 15-of-27 (55%) of their three-pointers while the Aztecs shot only 11-of-40. Syracuse extended their lead to 32 points before San Diego State cut the lead late in the game. San Diego State’s star Matt Mitchell scored 17 points but only connected on 1-of-9 from deep.
The two No. 1 seeds playing today had no problems with Illinois romping over Drexel 78-49 and Baylor coasting to a 79-55 win over Hartford. Illinois was the hottest team coming into the tournament. According to SportsBettingDime.com, bettors have lowered the odds of Illinois winning the tournament from +667 (fourth-best odds) to +550 (second-best). Kofi Cockburn led the Illini with 18 points while Ayo Dosunmu added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Baylor didn’t shot particularly well in their win hitting only 11 of their 33 3s but they forced Hartford into 24 turnovers. MaCio Teague was the one Bear who did shoot well, hitting 4-of-8 from deep and scoring a game-high 22 points.
In one of the more competitive games Florida (7 seed) topped Virginia Tech (10 seed) 75-70 in overtime. The Hokies (15-7) forced the overtime on a three-pointer by Nahiem Alleyne with 1.4 seconds left. Tre Mann’s step-back three-pointer with 23 seconds left in overtime was the deciding shot. Florida’s 6-11 center, Colin Castelton, was the difference as he finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and a key late block in regulation.
In other games, Arkansas (3-seed) came back from an early 14-point deficit to top Colgate (14) 85-68. Texas Tech (6) outlasted Utah State (11) 65-53. The Red Raiders forced 22 Utah State turnovers while only committing seven. Georgia Tech (9) missed their leading scorer Moses Wright as they lost to 8-seeded Loyola (IL) 71-60. Loyola hit 11-of-27 3s compared to only 3-of-10 for Georgia Tech. Loyola held Georgia Tech without an offensive rebound until the last minute of the game and had a 12-1 edge on the offensive boards. and a 29-16 rebounding advantage overall.
Cade Cunningham shook off a poor first half, scored 13 points in the second half and led Oklahoma State (4) to a 69-60 win over Liberty (13). Wisconsin (9) ran out to a 40-24 halftime lead and coasted to an 85-62 win over North Carolina (8). Brad Davison scored a career high 29 points as he connected on 5-of-7 3s. No. 2 seed Houston coasted to an easy 87-56 win over Cleveland State as Quinton Grimes scored 18 points.
Rutgers won their first tournament game in 38 years edging Clemson 60-56. The No. 10 seeded Scarlet Knights (16-11) were last in the NCAA tournament in 1991, 30 years ago. Geo Baker (13 points) made a key layup with ten seconds remaining to clinch the game. The Scarlet Knights won despite shooting 8-of-30 from deep. Aamir Simms led Clemson with 15 points and 11 rebounds. West Virginia pulled away from Morehead State in the second half in a 84-67 win. The No. 3-seeded Mountaineers were led by their 6-2 guard Miles McBride, who scored 30 points and added six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Villanova, playing without their starting point guard Collin Gillespie, handed a solid Winthrop (23-2) team only their second loss of the year, in a 73-63 win. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl led the No. 5-seeded Wildcats (17-6) with 22 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots.