Providence, R.I. — The Ivy League has produced its share of surprise winners in the NCAA Tournament.
It can add Yale to that list of bracket spoilers.
Makai Mason had a career-high 31 points, including six of the final nine Bulldogs points, and 12th-seeded Yale held on to upset No. 5 seed Baylor, 79-75, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
Yale (23-6) earns its first NCAA Tournament victory. It comes in its first appearance since 1962.
“This was bigger than us, and we wanted to do it for all the Yale faithful out there,” said senior Justin Sears. “It’s great right now. I don’t think it’s really hit us how big this is yet.”
Afterward, the Bulldogs celebrated like a team that had been waiting 54 years to play in the big dance.
When the final horn sounded, coach James Jones walked across the floor with his arms raised. Stopping in front of a cheering throng of Yale fans, he slammed both hands down on the scorer’s table before again lifting his arms high.
Since Cornell made a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16 in 2010, Ivy League teams have gone 4-3 in first-round games. That Cornell team, coincidentally, was also a No. 12 seed.
Yale advances to face fourth-seeded Duke on Saturday.
Sears added 18 points. Brandon Sherrod finished with 10.
“The guys in this locker room have known,” said Yale guard Nick Victor. “People outside, they always thought we couldn’t win this one. We knew from the start that we could do this.”
The Bulldogs controlled the game from the opening tap, and suffocated a Bears defense with its quickness and nullified its advantage inside with methodical movement on offense.
Mason was the catalyst, connecting on nine of his 18 attempts, and going 11-for-11 from the free throw line.
“I kind of just felt in the zone, I guess,” Mason said. “I guess I thought if I missed it, I’m sure our coach would have screamed at me. ... Luckily, I was able to knock it down.”
For the Bears (22-12), it is the second straight first-round exit from the Tournament. Baylor lost on a last-second 3-pointer last year in Georgia State’s memorable victory.
Taurean Prince led Baylor (22-12) with 28 points. Johnathan Motley finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
“We just got outrebounded and they played harder than us the whole 40 minutes,” Prince said.
Yale played a chunk of the second half without Sears and Brandon Sherrod after both picked up their fourth fouls. Both returned with just over four minutes to play in the game.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points in the second half before having its lead cut it to 76-75.
Baylor applied full court pressure on the inbounds play, but Yale got a long pass into Nick Victor, who was fouled with 6.8 seconds left.
Victor connected on the first, but air-balled the second attempt. Baylor got the ball into Lester Medford. He slipped on his way to the basket, turning it over.
“I thought Yale did a great job in the second half making things tough for us to score,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We only shot 38 percent. But I thought Mason really controlled the game. We had a difficult time matching him.”
No. 4 Duke 93, No. 13 UNC Wilmington 85: Marshall Plumlee ditched the mask guarding his broken nose in the first half and responded by scoring a career-high 23 points to lead defending national champion Duke in the first round at Providence, R.I.
Plumlee had 10 of his points and two blocks as the Blue Devils (24-10) stepped up the defensive pressure early in the second half to build a lead after trailing at the break.
Duke, seeded fourth in the West, will next play Yale.
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. Freshman Brandon Ingram, likely playing in his only NCAA Tournament, added 20.
Craig Ponder led UNCW with 22 points. Chris Flemmings had 18, Denzel Ingram 17 and C.J. Bryce 16.
No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock 85, No. 5 Purdue 83 (2OT): Little Rock is moving on in the NCAA Tournament, thanks to an out-of-nowhere comeback that led to an 85-83 double-overtime 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.
Vince Edwards led Purdue (26-9) with 24 points.
No. 11 Gonzaga 68, No. 6 Seton Hall 52: Gonzaga pulled 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 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 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 and missed all 10 of his 3-point shots.
No. 9 Butler 71, No. 8 Texas Tech 61: Kelan Martin scored all 11 of his points in the final 8 1/2 minutes, including consecutive 3-pointers to break a tie game, helping Butler win its first-round game at Raleigh, N.C.
Kellen Dunham scored 23 to lead the Bulldogs (22-10), who shot 52 percent after halftime.
Devaugntah Williams scored 18 to lead the Red Raiders (19-13).
No. 1 Virginia 81, No. 16 Hampton 45: Anthony Gill 19 points and Virginia rolled over Hampton in Raleigh, N.C.
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 officials reported that Bennett was dehydrated, and he was back for the second half.
Quinton Chievous scored 17 and Reginald Johnson Jr. had 10 for Hampton (20-11), which was 4-for-20 from 3-point range.
No. 4 Iowa State 94, No. 13 Iona 81: Monte Morris (Flint) showed no lingering effects of his right shoulder injury, scoring 20 points and dishing out eight assists for Iowa State in Denver.
Georges Niang’s 28 points led the third-seeded Cyclones (22-11), who saw all five of their starters score in double figures.
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 Iona (22-11) with 28 points and Jordan Washington finished with 26.
No. 3 Utah 80, No. 14 Fresno State 69: 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 19-2 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 on Saturday night against the winner between Seton Hall and Gonzaga.
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.
No. 1 Kansas 105, No. 16 Austin Peay 79: Svi Mykhailiuk scored a career-high 23, Perry Ellis added 21 and Kansas throttled Austin Peay.
Landen Lucas scored 16 for the Jayhawks (31-4), who jumped ahead by 20 by halftime and cruised to their 10th consecutive victory in an NCAA Tournament opener.
Josh Robinson scored 24 for the Governors (18-18).
No. 9 Connecticut 74, No. 8 Colorado 67: Rodney Purvis, Daniel Hamilton and a stifling defense carried Connecticut back from an 11-point first-half deficit, giving the Huskies enough for a first-round victory in Des Moines, Iowa, and keeping Kevin Ollie unbeaten as a coach in the Tournament.
Purvis scored 15 of his 19 after halftime, and Daniel Hamilton added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies (25-10).
Josh Scott had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Buffaloes (22-12).
No. 3 Miami 79, No. 14 Buffalo 72: Angel Rodriguez had 24 points and seven rebounds as Miami held on.
Sheldon McClellan added 20 points and five rebounds for the Hurricanes (26-7) in their first NCAA Tournament victory since they went to the Sweet 16 in 2013.
Nick Perkins had 20 points and six rebounds and Lamonte Bearden scored 19 for the Bulls (20-15).
No. 11 Wichita State 65, Arizona 55: Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker combined for 29 points and Wichita State’s swarming defense did the rest. Wichita State (26-8) will play Miami (26-7), the third seed, 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).
No. 1North Carolina 83, No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast 67: Brice Johnson scored 18 and North Carolina needed an overwhelming second-half start to put away Florida Gulf Coast.
Isaiah Hicks added 12 points off the bench for the Tar Heels (29-6), who led by one point after a frustration-filled opening 20 minutes.
No. 5 Indiana 99, No. 12 Chattanooga 74: Yogi Ferrell had 20 points and a season-high 10 assists, O.G. Anunoby pitched in 14 points and Indiana (26-7) took charge of its opener.
Duke Ethridge had 16 points and Justin Tuoyo scored 12 for the Mocs (29-6).
No. 9 Providence 70, No. 8 Southern California 69: Rodney Bullock hit a layup with 1.5 seconds left. Ben Bentil scored 19 points and Bullock finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the 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.
No. 4 Kentucky 85, No. 13 Stony Brook 57: Jamal Murray led five players in double figures with 19 points, setting up Kentucky’s 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, were just 20 of 76 from the field.