Monday's NCAAs: Oklahoma can’t hang with Timme, Gonzaga; top seed advances
Indianapolis — Mark Few sat down at the microphone, the Gonzaga coach’s hair disheveled after he was doused with water and threw down a celebratory handstand in the locker room.
Even after 32 straight wins dating to last season, the Bulldogs are relishing their triumphs during an NCAA Tournament run that can only conclude in two ways: perfection or disappointment.
“We’ve been celebrating every one of these wins. We celebrated the other night. We celebrated this one. If we’re lucky enough to get another one, we’re going to celebrate like crazy for that one,” Few said. “This tournament needs to be celebrated, man.”
The way Gonzaga is playing, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were more celebrations to come — four of them, to be exact. Drew Timme scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the top-seeded Bulldogs beat No. 8 seed Oklahoma 87-71 on Monday in the second round.
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A No. 1 seed, two No. 2s and two No. 3s have already been eliminated from this tournament. But Gonzaga (28-0) faces higher expectations as it tries to become the first undefeated champion since Indiana 45 years ago. In the 22nd season of his remarkably consistent career, Few is four wins away from his first national title.
“You gotta bring that fire because all it takes is one good game and you can be out,” Timme said.
The Bulldogs easily dispatched Norfolk State in the first round, but the Sooners were the first power conference opponent for Gonzaga since it embarrassed Virginia in late December.
It didn’t matter all that much. Oklahoma became the 25th straight team the Bulldogs beat by double digits — although the Sooners fought valiantly to keep it from becoming a blowout. Few still had his starters on the floor at the buzzer and screamed at star Jalen Suggs for committing an unnecessary foul with 1:05 left.
The Zags advanced to their sixth straight Sweet 16 and will next face Creighton in the West Region. Gonzaga has won the past two meetings with Creighton.
“We’re not satisfied with this,” Timme said. “This is not the end goal.”
Austin Reaves scored 27 points for Oklahoma (16-11), and after trailing by 19 with 12 minutes left, the Sooners pulled within 77-68 on his 3-pointer with 2:37 left. It was the first 3 of the second half for Oklahoma and the first time the deficit was within single digits since late in the first half.
But Timme was perfect on four free throws sandwiched around a basket from Alondes Williams, and after an Oklahoma turnover, All-American Corey Kispert pushed the lead to 14 with his fourth 3-pointer.
“Thought we got a little better feel for the pace of things in the second half,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Cut into it a little bit. Couldn’t quite get back to make them too nervous.”
Timme, sporting a handlebar mustache, was 9 of 12 shooting and 12 of 14 at the free-throw line.
Kispert finished with 16 points, as did Suggs, who took an awkward tumble on a flagrant foul by Oklahoma’s Elijah Harkless in the closing seconds and had to be restrained by teammates. Joel Ayayi added 12 points, 10 in the first half.
Gonzaga closed the half on an 18-6 run to take control, doing it all with Kispert sitting after picking up his second foul. Ayayi, Timme and Suggs were the instigators offensively, but just as important was continuing to stymie the Sooners after Reaves re-entered the game.
The Sooners trailed 33-30 after Harkless scored, but Suggs answered with a 3 and the Bulldogs scored 13 of the final 17 points to take a 46-34 lead at the break.
“Our defense has been good, pretty dang good all year,” Few said. “I think our offense has been at a historical level so it gets a lot of the pub.”
Williams finished with 15 points for the Sooners and Jalen Hill added 11, but Oklahoma sorely could have used second-leading scorer De’Vion Harmon. He tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Indianapolis.
More NCAA games
Creighton 72, Ohio 58: Marcus Zegarowski scored 20 points to help Creighton beat Ohio, securing the program’s first trip to the round of 16 in 47 years.
Damien Jefferson added 15 points for the fifth-seeded Bluejays (22-8). They had a cold opening few minutes before the offense — and Zegarowski in particular — got rolling with a strong performance that built a double-digit lead by halftime against an upstart trying to spring a second straight tournament upset.
The last time Creighton made it to the regional semifinals, it was 1974 and the tournament field had 25 teams.
Zegarowski finished 7 for 16 from the field with four 3-pointers.
Dwight Wilson III scored 12 points to lead Ohio (17-8), the Mid-American Conference champion. The 13th-seeded Bobcats opened the tournament by bouncing 2019 champion Virginia on Saturday night.
Oregon 95, Iowa 80: Chris Duarte scored 23 points and Oregon showed no signs of rust after a long layoff, beating No. 2 seed Iowa to reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the past five NCAA Tournaments.
The seventh-seeded Ducks (21-6) were put in an unprecedented spot, advancing to the West Region’s second round without playing a game. Virginia Commonwealth’s multiple positive COVID-19 tests took care of that, leaving Oregon with a nine-day break since losing in the Pac-12 Tournament title game.
Oregon’s offense hummed like it was fresh off the line once the ball went up.
The Ducks shot 56% and hit 11 3-pointers. LJ Figueroa made five 3s while scoring 21 points and Will Richardson added 19 points.
The Hawkeyes (22-9) fell one game short of the Sweet 16 for the fourth time under Fran McCaffrey. Luka Garza played like a two-time All-American, capping his stellar college career with 36 points and nine rebounds. Joe Wieskamp added 17 points.
Southern California 85, Kansas 51: Isaiah Mobley hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points, All-American little brother Evan added 10 points and 13 rebounds, and sixth-seeded Southern California rolled past No. 3 seed Kansas — more than doubling the worst margin of defeat for the Jayhawks in 49 trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Isaiah White added 13 points and Tahj Eaddy had 12 for the Trojans (24-7), who kept the Pac-12′s charmed tourney going by reaching their fourth Sweet 16.
Coach Andy Enfield, who took No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast to the second weekend in 2013, had plenty of time to enjoy this one. The Trojans built a 29-21 lead, went on an 11-0 run to finish the first half, then coasted over the final 20 minutes.
USC finished 11 of 18 from beyond the arc, shot 57.1% from the field and nearly doubled up the Jayhawks on the glass.
Marcus Garrett had 15 points for Kansas (21-9), which had never lost an NCAA tourney game by more than 16 points.
Florida State 71, Colorado 53: Anthony Polite scored a career-high 22 points and No. 4 seed Florida State pulled away in the second half to beat Colorado 71-53 and advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight NCAA Tournament.
Polite had never scored more than 15 points in a game, but the junior made 8 of 12 shots, including 4 of 7 3-pointers. Florida State (18-6) will next face Michigan, which knocked out the Seminoles in the 2018 Elite Eight.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton — recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon — again wore a boot as he walked the sideline. His Seminoles shot 53% from the field.
D’Shawn Schwartz scored 13 points for fifth-seeded Colorado (23-9), which shot 36% overall. McKinley Wright IV, Colorado’s leading scorer for the season with more than 15 points per game, finished with 10 on 4-of-12 shooting. Colorado was seeking its first Sweet 16 trip since 1969.
Abilene Christian 67, UCLA 47: Johnny Juzang scored 17 points and 11th-seeded UCLA carefully brushed off pesky Abilene Christian to become the fifth team to go from the First Four to the Sweet 16.
The Bruins (20-9) will meet high-scoring Alabama in their first regional semifinal appearance since 2017 — and their first with second-year coach Mick Cronin.
The Bruins were far from spectacular, but their size and athleticism combined with solid execution were more than enough to keep the 14th-seeded Wildcats from springing another upset.
Reserve Mahki Morris led Abilene Christian (24-5) with 22 points. Abilene Christian beat third-seeded Texas for the school’s first Division I NCAA victory Saturday.
Alabama 96, Maryland 77: Jaden Shackelford and Alabama stuck with what got them to the NCAAs, torching Maryland with 3-point shooting in a second-round rout.
Shackelford scored 21 points and made five of Alabama’s 16 3-pointers as the second-seeded Crimson Tide advanced to their first Sweet 16 since 2004. Nate Oats, the second-year coach who made Buffalo a must-watch team before moving up to the Southeastern Conference, will bring his high-energy style to a regional semifinal for the first time.
After trailing early, the nation’s top 3-point shooting team quickly heated up to overwhelm the 10th-seeded Terrapins.
Aaron Wiggins scored 27 points and Eric Ayala had 13 for Maryland (17-14), which was seeking its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2015 and 15th overall.
John Petty Jr. broke out of a slump to score 20 points with 4 3s for the Crimson Tide, and reserve Jahvon Quinerly added 14 points.