Saturday's NCAA basketball tourney: Arkansas ousts defending champ Kansas from March Madness
Des Moines, Iowa — Kansas' national title defense ended in the second round of NCAA Tournament on Saturday when Arkansas' Ricky Council IV made five free throws in the closing seconds and the eighth-seeded Razorbacks beat the No. 1 seed Jayhawks 72-71.
Davonte Davis scored 25 points and Council added 21 as Arkansas rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit. Kansas, playing without ailing coach Bill Self, became the second top seed not to escape the tournament's first weekend after Purdue lost on Friday night to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.
Arkansas (22-13) and coach Eric Musselman return to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. The Razorbacks will play either Saint Mary's or UConn in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Musselman and his players rushed to a second of fans sitting courtside after the final buzzer. Musselman ripped his polo shirt off, waved it over his head and shouted with joy.
Self has been with the Jayhawks (28-8) since they arrived in Des Moines and has attended practices and meetings, but he still doesn’t feel well enough to coach a game after having a heart procedure March 8 to clear clogged arteries.
Longtime assistant Norm Roberts was acting coach for a fifth straight game in Self’s absence.
Kansas, bidding to become the first repeat national champion since Florida in 2006-07, was ahead 35-27 at halftime and lost for the first time in 27 games when entering the second half with a lead. Kansas had been 47-0 in the NCAA Tournament when leading by eight points or more at the half.
Davis scored 21 of his points in the second half. He fouled out with 1:56 left, turning things over to the veteran Council, a transfer from Wichita State who scored nine of the Razorbacks’ final 11 points.
Council's free throw put Arkansas ahead to stay, 68-67, with 24 seconds left. He then rebounded his own miss of the second free throw and made two more to give the Razorbacks a three-point lead.
The teams traded free throws, and Arkansas sent the Jayhawks' Jalen Wilson to the line with 3 seconds left to prevent a potential tying 3-pointer. Wilson made the first free throw and appeared to try to miss the second intentionally, but it banked hard off the glass and in, and Kansas never regained possession.
Arkansas was playing a No. 1 seed for the third straight year. Last year, the Razorbacks knocked out Gonzaga on the way to their second straight Elite Eight.
More NCAA Tournament
UCLA 68, Northwestern 63
Sacramento, Calif. — Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 24 points and UCLA withstood a second-half push from Northwestern to get back to the Sweet 16.
The second-seeded Bruins (31-5) turned up the defensive intensity late, holding the seventh-seeded Wildcats to 1-for-12 shooting during a key late-game stretch.
UCLA's David Singleton went down in extreme pain with a right leg injury with 20.3 seconds remaining. He stayed down on the court for a few minutes before getting helped off by teammates and going straight to the locker room. There was no immediate word on the extent of the injury.
UCLA made it to a third straight Sweet 16 for the first time in 15 years. The Bruins will play either Gonzaga or TCU in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday night.
Amari Bailey added 14 points and Tyger Campbell scored 12 for UCLA.
Boo Buie scored 18 points to lead Northwestern (22-12), Matthew Nicholson added 17 and Chase Audige scored all 16 of his points in the second half.
Tennessee 65, Duke 52
Orlando, Fla. — Olivier Nkamhoua tied his career high with 27 points, including 13 straight for Tennessee during a decisive span in the second half, and the fourth-seeded Volunteers beat Duke to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019.
Tennessee (25-10) ended Duke’s 10-game winning streak and sent first-year coach Jon Scheyer, charged with replacing Mike Krzyzewski, home after two NCAA Tournament games. These Vols used a brand of “bully ball” to send the fifth-seeded Blue Devils (27-9) packing.
Tennessee advanced to face Florida Atlantic or Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday in the East Region semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Duke didn’t handle Tennessee’s physical style very well. The Volunteers set the tone early, clearly wanting to push around Kyle Filipowski and get hands in the faces of guards Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor. Filipowski took an elbow to his face and ended up with a small cut under his left eye.
Proctor led Duke with 16 points. Roach and Filipowski chipped in 13 apiece.
San Diego State 75, Furman 52
Orlando, Fla. — San Diego State had little trouble ending the run of March Madness darling Furman, getting 16 points from Micah Parrish to pace a balanced scoring attack.
Darrion Trammell had 13 points, Lamont Butler added 12 and leading scorer Matt Bradley finished with 10 for San Diego State (29-6), which is heading to its first Sweet 16 since 2004. The Aztecs have won 11 of their past 13 games and will play either Alabama or Maryland next week in the South Region semifinals in Louisville, Kentucky.
San Diego State is the first Mountain West Conference team to reach the Sweet 16 since Nevada in 2018.
Mike Bothwell led the 13th-seeded Paladins (28-8) with 15 points. Furman had eliminated Virginia in the first round, the initial bracket-busting result in this year’s tournament.
Princeton 78, Missouri 63
Sacramento, Calif. — Blake Peters made five 3-pointers in the second half and Princeton shocked another power conference team to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 56 years.
No. 15 seed Princeton (23-8) followed up a first-round win over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by dominating 10th-seeded Missouri (25-10) of the Southeastern Conference from the start.
The Ivy League school reached the regional semifinals for the first time since 1967 when only 23 teams even made the tournament. Princeton will play either Baylor or Creighton in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday night.
This marks the third straight year a team seeded 15th made it to the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and Saint Peter’s last year. The only other time a 15 seed made it this far came in 2012 when Florida Gulf Coast did it.
Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points and Peters added 17.
DeAndre Gholston scored 19 points and Noah Carter added 14 for Missouri, which was seeking its first berth in the Sweet 16 since 2009.
Houston 81, Auburn 64
Birmingham, Ala. — Marcus Sasser looked just fine, scoring 22 points, and top-seeded Houston stifled local favorite Auburn in the second half.
The Cougars (33-3) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit. Essentially shutting down the lane, Houston played with the desperation of a national championship contender that wasn’t ready to suffer the same fate as Purdue and Kansas — No. 1s that already were sent home.
Led by Tramon Mark with 26 points, Houston advanced to face either Indiana or Miami in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday.
Johni Broome and Jaylin Williams each scored 14 points to lead the Tigers (21-13) were doomed by a stretch of more than 10 1/2 minutes without a field goal and finished just 4 of 24 from the field in the second half.
Texas 71, Penn State 66
Des Moines, Iowa — Dylan Disu had a season-high 28 points on 14-for-20 shooting and steadied Texas down the stretch as the Longhorns beat Penn State to reach their first Sweet 16 in 15 years.
The second-seeded Longhorns (28-8) made just one of 13 shots from 3-point land, so Disu turned this one into a mid-range game. He went 5 for 5 over the final 4 1/2 minutes and finished with 10 rebounds.
Sir’Jabari Rice scored 13 points for Texas, which will play the Pittsburgh-Xavier winner on Friday in the regional semifinals.
Camren Wynter had 16 points for the 10th-seeded Nittany Lions (23-14), who were coming off their first NCAA Tournament victory in 20 years. Second-team All-American Jalen Pickett had 11 points and 10 rebounds with seven turnovers.