Thursday's basketball: Central Michigan wins, will face Buffalo in semifinal
Cleveland — Larry Austin Jr. scored 23 points and Central Michigan pulled away midway through the second half and hung on for an 89-81 win over Kent State on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament, setting up a matchup against No. 18 Buffalo.
The fifth-seeded Chippewas (23-10) will face the defending champion Bulls (29-3) in Friday’s first semifinal. Central Michigan lost by 14 in its only meeting with Buffalo during the regular season.
Shawn Roundtree Jr. scored 20 for Central Michigan, which used a 20-2 run to open a 71-54 lead with 7:17 remaining.
Kent State crawled back within 79-72 on a 3-pointer by Antonio Williams with 2:32 left. However, the Chippewas took care of the ball and made their free throws down the stretch.
Philip Whittington scored 23 with 14 rebounds and Jaylin Walker 19 with 11 boards to lead the Golden Flashes (22-10). Walker, who made just 4 of 13 3-pointers, returned after being suspended for Kent State’s final regular-season game.
Dallas Morgan made two of his four 3-pointers during Central Michigan’s big second-half spurt.
No. 2 Virginia 76, North Carolina State 56: Kyle Guy scored 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, and Virginia rallied to beat North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.
Big man Jack Salt provided an unexpected offensive boost with a career-high 18 points for the top-seeded Cavaliers (29-2). Down 29-27 at halftime, Virginia shot 63 percent after the break and scored 49 points.
Virginia will play Florida State in the semifinals.
Guy made 10 of 13 shots and 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
Markell Johnson had 13 points for the Wolfpack (22-11).
No. 3 North Carolina 83, Louisville 70: Luke Maye had 19 points and nine rebounds, Coby White added 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists and North Carolina beat Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.
Cameron Johnson scored all of his 14 points in the first half to help the Tar Heels (27-5) extend their winning streak to eight games.
Dwayne Sutton had 14 points for Louisville (20-13). The Cardinals shot just 10 of 34 from 3-point range. They beat North Carolina by 19 on Jan. 12 in Chapel Hill – Roy Williams’ worst home loss ever as Tar Heels coach.
No. 5 Duke 84, Syracuse 72: Zion Williamson made all 13 of his shots, five on high-flying dunks, and scored 29 points in his return to lead No. 5 Duke to an 84-72 victory over Syracuse on Thursday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.
RJ Barrett added 23 points and six rebounds to help Duke (27-5) set up a semifinal showdown with No. 3 North Carolina. The Tar Heels swept both games from the Blue Devils in the regular season, with Williamson injured in the first minute of the first meeting.
Williamson got off to a rousing start two minutes into the game when he stole a pass and drove the length of the floor before cocking his right hand back and throwing down a highlight-reel dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. He added three more soaring dunks in the first half – including one off an alley-oop pass from Barrett – and finished the first half with 21 points on 9-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds as Duke built a 34-28 lead.
It was Williamson’s first game since his left Nike Paul George shoe broke during a Feb. 20 game against the Tar Heels, causing him to miss nearly six full games with a sprained right knee. Williamson wore modified Nike Kyrie 4’s this time specifically designed to lend extra support to his 6-foot-7, 285-pound frame.
He showed no signs of any lingering knee issue and cracked a smile several times throughout the game.
Frank Howard scored 28 points for Syracuse (20-13).
West Virginia 79, No. 7 Texas Tech 74: Emmitt Mathews scored a career-high 28 points and 10th-seeded West Virginia upset Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals.
West Virginia (14-19) will play No. 17 Kansas in the semifinals.
Jarrett Culver scored 26 points, Tariq Owens had 14, and Matt Mooney had 12 for Texas Tech (26-6).
Matthews hit a corner 3 to give West Virginia a 16-point lead with nine minutes to go, but Texas Tech scored 16 of the next 18 to get within four.
No. 12 Florida State 65, No. 16 Virginia Tech 63, OT: Terance Mann hit a wild off-balance runner with 1.8 seconds left in overtime to help Florida State beat Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
Mann’s shot from the right side rattled around the rim before dropping through the net to break a tie for the fourth-seeded Seminoles (26-6). The fifth-seeded Hokies (24-8) had a final chance, but Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed a long desperation 3-pointer at the horn.
Devin Vassell scored 14 points to lead the Seminoles, including a contested 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Alexander-Walker finished with 21 points for the Hokies, including a 3 that bounced up off the front rim and dropped through the net for a 63-60 lead with 1:40 left in OT. It marked the second straight week that Florida State beat Virginia Tech in overtime.
No. 14 Nevada 77, Boise State 69: Jazz Johnson scored 20 points, Caleb Martin had 19 and Nevada rallied to beat Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
Tre’Shawn Thurman added 17 points, and Cody Martin had 10 to help top-seeded Nevada (29-3) tie the school record for victories in a season. The Wolf Pack will face San Diego State in the semifinals.
Down 34-29 at halftime, Nevada shot 62 percent from the field in the second half, going 5 of 11 from 3-point range.
Derrick Alston led Boise State (13-20) with 21 points, and Justinian Jessup had 18.
No. 15 Kansas State 70, TCU 61: Xavier Snead scored 19 points, none bigger than a 3-pointer as the shot clock sounded in the final minute, and Kansas State rallied from a slow start to beat TCU Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals.
Barry Brown added 12 points, Kamau Stokes had 11 and Makol Mawien had 10 for the tournament’s top seed. The Wildcats (25-7) advanced to play No. 5 seed Iowa State in the semifinals.
Kansas State (25-7) played without forward Dean Wade, who is sidelined once again with a foot injury. The senior watched the game from the sideline with a boot on his right foot.
Desmond Bane had 16 points for the Horned Frogs (20-13).
No. 17 Kansas 65, Texas 57: Devon Dotson scored 17 points, Dedric Lawson added 16 and Kansas pulled away in the second half to beat Texas in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals.
David McCormack added 13 points and a career-best nine rebounds for the third-seeded Jayhawks (24-9).
Dylan Osetkowski had 18 points to lead the sixth-seeded Longhorns (16-16), who may have needed a win at the Sprint Center to help their NCAA Tournament resume.
No. 18 Buffalo 82, Akron 46: Jeremy Harris scored 23 points, Dontay Caruthers and Buffalo routed Akron in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The top-seeded Bulls (29-3) built a 20-point lead in the first half and pushed it to 30 points midway through the second half. Seeking its fourth MAC title in five years, Buffalo will play Central Michigan in the semifinals.
Buffalo got just 10 points from C.J. Massinburg, the MAC’s Player of the Year, and still rolled to its 10th straight win.
Moments after the game, Bulls coach Nate Oats met with athletic director Mark Alnutt in signed an extension through 2024.
Loren Cristian Jackson scored 16 points for Akron (17-16).
No. 22 Auburn 81, Missouri 71: Bryce Brown scored all 17 of his points in the second half and Auburn beat Missouri in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Auburn (23-9) won its fifth straight to advance to the quarterfinals Friday against fourth-seeded South Carolina. The Tigers also snapped a three-game skid at the SEC tournament dating to 2015 when they reached the semifinals.
Jordan Geist had 25 points for Missouri (15-17).
No. 23 Marquette 86, St. John's 54: Markus Howard scored 12 of his 30 points in a game-breaking 23-2 second-half run, and Marquette snapped a four-game losing streak with the rout of St. John’s in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.
Fellow guard Sacar Anim added 13 points to help the second-seeded Golden Eagles (24-8) beat seventh-seeded St. John’s (21-12) for the first time in three tries this season. Marquette will face Seton Hall in the semifinals.
Justin Simon had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Red Storm.
No. 25 Villanova 73, Providence 62: Eric Paschall had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Villanova took control in final nine minutes to beat Providence in the Big East Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
Collin Gillespie added 19 points and six assists for the top-seeded and two-time defending champion Wildcats (23-9). Villanova capitalized on a 17-5 run to beat the Friars (18-15) for the third time this season.
Villanova will face Xavier in the semifinals.
Nate Watson had 15 points for Providence.