Thursday's NCAA Tournament: Magee sets record, Wofford tops Seton Hall for 1st NCAA win
Jacksonville, Fla. — If you didn’t know who Fletcher Magee was before, you should now.
Magee set the Division I career record for 3-pointers, poured in 24 points and led seventh-seeded Wofford to an 84-68 victory over Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
Magee hit seven treys against the 10th-seeded Pirates to help the Terriers to their first tournament win in five tries. Wofford also won its 21st consecutive game overall.
“The kid can shoot it,” teammate Cameron Jackson said. “When he’s open, I’m happy when he shoots it.”
Magee now has 509 3-pointers in four seasons, breaking the career mark set by Oakland’s Travis Bader in 2014. Duke’s J.J. Redick (457), Tennessee’s Chris Lofton (431) and Davidson’s Stephen Curry (414) also rank in the top 10.
Magee tied the mark on a four-point play in the first half and broke it in the opening minute of the second half.
“I definitely noticed the crowd was louder than just the normal 3,” Magee said. “But I feel like I didn’t get too caught up in it. It was a close game. I was just focused on doing whatever I could to help us continue to stretch our lead and win down the stretch. I feel like I was aware of it, but I just kind of blocked it out and tried to focus on winning.”
Extending his record might not be easy against second-seeded Kentucky in the Midwest Region on Saturday. The long, lanky Wildcats tend to give opponents fits, especially from behind the arc.
Then again, Magee is no ordinary shooter .
The 6-foot-4 guard was 7 of 12 behind the arc, none bigger than his third of three 3s from the corner in front of Wofford’s bench in the second half. The first two were wide-open looks that caused Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard some angst, and the third a contested shot that brought the Wofford faithful to their feet and put the Terriers up 76-66 with three minutes to play.
“We ran the same play to get it over there,” Magee said, “and I felt like I was pretty open, so I decided to let it go.”
It was quite a show about two hours north of Magee’s hometown of Orlando. He had about 75 friends and family members on hand for the performance.
“Really, really neat. Really neat,” Wofford coach Mike Young said. “And what you don’t see, what you don’t have a pulse of, is how uncommon he is and how hard he’s worked time and time and time again in that gym.”
Nathan Hoover hit four 3s and added 18 points for the Terriers (30-4), who finished 13 of 28 from 3-point range. Jackson chipped in 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Myles Powell led the Pirates (20-14) with 27 points on 10-of-25 shooting.
Powell helped Seton Hall overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half, and he even put his team ahead 54-53 with about 10 minutes to go. But it was all Wofford late, going on a 17-0 run in the closing minutes before Seton Hall managed a meaningless dunk at the end.
“That’s a heck of a basketball team we played,” Willard said. “When you have a senior-laden team like they do, who’s extremely well-coached, you’re going to have to play really good to beat them.”
Baylor 78, Syracuse 69: In Salt Lake City, Makai Mason scored 22 points and Baylor set a school NCAA Tournament record with 16 3-pointers to beat Syracuse in the West Region.
The ninth-seeded Bears (20-13) found gaps in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, mostly by getting the ball into the high post or driving and kicking out. Baylor nearly matched the school tournament record of 11 3-pointers in the first half (10) and made 16 of 34 overall.
Baylor shot 54 percent and slowed Syracuse’s 3-point barrage in the second half to earn a shot at top-seeded Gonzaga on Saturday.
Mason and Jared Butler (14 points) each hit four 3-pointers.
No. 8 seed Syracuse (20-14) matched the Bears nearly 3 for 3 in a stellar first half before bogging down in the second. Elijah Hughes had 25 points and hit seven of the Orange’s 12 3-pointers. Tyus Battle, who started at point guard in place of suspended senior Frank Howard, scored 16 points after missing both of Syracuse’s ACC Tournament games with a bruised back.
Purdue 61, Old Dominion 48: In Hartford, Conn., Carsen Edwards scored 26 points and third-seeded Purdue coasted to victory against Old Dominion in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The third-seeded Boilermakers (24-9) will play reigning NCAA champion Villanova, the sixth-seed in the South Region, on Saturday.
Edwards, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, has been slumping recently and dealing with a sore back that he insisted was fine on Wednesday. The junior guard had shot 32 percent in his last 11 games, and was 7 for 33 from 3-point range in his last three games.
Ahmad Caver scored 19 points and B.J. Stith had 14 for Old Dominion (26-9). The Monarchs shot 27 percent from the field in their first NCAA appearance since 2011.
The Boilermakers scored the last 11 points of the first half as ODU went stone cold. The Monarchs missed their last 11 shots and went scoreless for 6:17 as Purdue took a control and led 32-19 at the break.
It got no better for the Monarchs in the second half.
Villanova 61, Saint Mary's 57: In Hartford, Conn., The defending national champions are moving on in the NCAA Tournament.
Phil Booth scored 20 points, fellow senior Eric Paschell added 14 and No. 6 seed Villanova held off Saint Mary’s in the first round of the South Region.
Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts each had 13 points for Saint Mary’s (22-12), which never trailed by more than eight.
The 11th-seeded Gaels, who pulled off an upset win over Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Tournament, had a chance down the stretch in this one.
Ford’s basket in the lane after a few nifty moves got the Gaels within six points at 61-55 with 34 seconds left. After Paschell missed a foul shot on the other end, Fitts cut the deficit to four points with a leaner in the lane.
The Gaels had two more chances in the final seconds after a foul by Booth and some missed free throws. But Fitts hit the rim on a 3-point attempt and Saddiq Bey stole the ball from Ford in the final seconds to seal the win.
Gonzaga 87, Fairleigh Dickinson 49: In Salt Lake City, one year after dreamers and underdog lovers rejoiced at top-seeded Virginia’s first-of-its-kind, first-round loss, the Gonzaga Bulldogs crushed any thought of a repeat with a wire-to-wire thumping of Fairleigh Dickinson in the West Region.
Rui Hachimura led the Zags (31-3) with 21 points and eight rebounds.
Gonzaga led by 10 after the first 4:12, by 20 after 10:25 and by the score of 53-17 at halftime.
By the time Gonzaga turned it over when Josh Perkins tried flipping a no-look pass backward to Killian Tillie, coach Mark Few looked barely awake, sitting in his chair, cheek cupped in his hand. The Bulldogs led 70-34.
The Knights (21-14) were unable to repeat their amazing shooting three nights earlier in a come-from-behind win over Prairie View A&M in the First Four.
Fairleigh Dickinson shot 30 percent and went 6 for 21 from 3-point range. Its star from the win, Darnell Edge, had trouble getting any looks, let alone good ones. He went 2 for 11 for seven points.
Murray State 83, Marquette 64: In Hartford, Conn. Ja Morant recorded the ninth triple-double in the NCAA Tournament since 1987 as Murray State trounced fifth-seeded Marquette in the first round of the West Region.
Murray State continued a trend of a No. 12 seed winning at least one game in all but three tournaments since 2001 — including last year’s — but this looked nothing like an upset.
Morant had 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds as he sliced through Marquette and showed the Racers (28-4) were better in every way than their opponent from the Big East. The Ohio Valley Conference champions face fourth-seeded Florida State on Saturday as the Racers next try to take down an Atlantic Coast Conference foe.
With 4:36 left in the second half and Murray State up 20, Morant grabbed his 10th rebound. Racers fans began chanting “triple-double” to mark the first one since Michigan State’s Draymond Green in 2012 against LIU-Brooklyn.
The game was billed as a showcase of two of the nation’s best point guards and Morant and Markus Howard delivered plenty of highlights. Howard scored 16 in the first half on a mix of 3s off screens and hard drives to the hoop and finished with 26 points for Marquette (24-10).
Kentucky 79, Abilene Christian 44: Keldon Johnson scored 25 points in a huge mismatch that was over by halftime, and second-seeded Kentucky romped in the Midwest Regional over NCAA Tournament newcomer Abilene Christian.
The Wildcats shot 60 percent in the opening period, held Abilene Christian to 5 of 26 from the field and went to the locker room with a 39-13 lead.
Even without PJ Washington, who sprained his left foot in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Wildcats had far too many weapons for the Southland Conference representative, a No. 15 seed. Reid Travis added 18 points and Tyler Herro 14.
Jaren Lewis led Abilene Christian with 17 points, the only player in double figures.
The big question: Will Washington be able to go? Kentucky coach John Calipari tweeted before the game that a foot specialist confirmed the injury was only a sprain, not a fracture.
Maryland 79, Belmont 77: In Jacksonville, Fla., Maryland’s Darryl Morsell made a crucial defensive stop as Belmont went for a last-second upset in the NCAA Tournament, allowing the Terrapins to escape in the East Regional.
The mid-major powerhouse from Nashville, Tennessee couldn’t knock off the No. 6-seeded Terrapins (23-10) from the Big Ten, despite a 35-point performance by Dylan Windler.
Maryland was clinging to a one-point lead and the shot clock was off as Belmont (26-6) had a chance to win it at the buzzer. The Bruins didn’t bother calling a timeout to set up a play; they knew what they wanted to do – a backdoor pass to Windler. But Morsell anticipated the pass and stepped in front of Windler to pick intercept the pass while the Belmont star tumbled to the court.
Morsell was fouled with 2.5 seconds to go, sending him to the foul line for two shots. He made the first and missed the second, and Windler heaved an unsuccessful desperation shot from midcourt.
Jalen Smith led four Maryland players in double figures with 19 points, including a huge three-point play with 1:41 remaining, and Bruno Fernando added 14 points and 13 rebounds
Belmont led by as many as 12 points in the first half and went to the break with a 40-34 lead.
Auburn 78, New Mexico State 77: In Salt Lake City, after a teammate passed up an open layup that could have tied the game, New Mexico State’s Terrell Brown was fouled behind the arc and missed two of three free throws as the Aggies dropped a heartbreaker to fifth-seeded Auburn in the Midwest Region.
The Aggies (30-5) were trailing 78-76 when guard A.J. Harris had his defender beat and looked to be headed to the glass for the tying bucket. He instead lobbed out to Brown, who was spotted up at the elbow for a possible game-winner. Brown missed but was fouled with 1.1 seconds left.
With Auburn’s J’von McCormick grabbing his throat as Harris toed the line, Brown missed the first, made the second, then watched the third one rim out.
Auburn (27-9) knocked the ball out of bounds on the rebound and New Mexico State had one more good look, but Trevelin Queen’s 3 at the buzzer was an air ball.
Florida State 76, Vermont 69: In Hartford, Conn., Mfiondu Kabengele had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Florida State held off a barrage of 3-pointers from 13th-seeded Vermont in the opening round of the West Regional.
Terance Mann added 19 points for the fourth-seeded Seminoles (28-7), who were tied with the Catamounts at halftime but pulled away late.
Anthony Lamb had 16 points to lead a balanced, long-range attack for Vermont (27-7), which lost for the first time in seven games. Three Catamounts finished with 15 points.
The America East champions stayed close by hitting 16 of 32 3-point attempts. The Seminoles countered by wearing out Vermont down low, outscoring the Catamounts 30-14 in the paint.
A dunk by Kabengele gave Florida State a 50-45 lead with nine minutes left, part of a 6-0 run that put the Seminoles ahead for good.
Another by the 6-10 sophomore made it 61-53, and the cheers of Vermont fans, who made the four-hour drive south from Burlington, gave way to the tomahawk chop from behind Florida State’s bench.
LSU 79, Yale 74: In Jacksonville, Fla., Skylar Mays hit four free throws in the final 15 seconds to help embattled LSU slip past 14th-seeded Yale.
Mays scored 19 points but sealed the game from the foul line, and the Tigers (27-6) needed each one of his free throws.
Yale (22-8) hit four 3-pointers in the final minute and whittled an 18-point deficit to three in the closing seconds. With the lead on the line, Mays calmly stepped to the line and sank all his free throws.
Tremont Waters finished with 15 points, but had just two after the break for LSU. He was 0 for 7 from the field in the final 20 minutes after dominating the first half with 13 points and six assists. Naz Reid had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kavell Bigby-Williams also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
LSU moves on without coach Will Wade, who is suspended for his role in an alleged cheating scandal. University officials won’t allow Wade to resume his duties unless he speaks with the school about an FBI wiretap that resulted in his suspension. Tony Benford continued in his role as interim coach.
Alex Copeland led Yale with 24 points. He had 16 points in the second half and hit two 3s in the final minute.
Kansas 87, Northeastern 54: In Salt Lake City, Dedric Lawson had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and fourth-seeded Kansas dominated inside in a rout over Northeastern in the Midwest Region.
The fourth-seeded Jayhawks (26-9) had a notable size advantage inside and used it, outscoring the Huskies 50-16 in the paint while grabbing 17 more rebounds.
Devon Dotson controlled the offense and scored 18 points, while Dedric’s brother, K.J., chipped in 13 points.
Kansas shot 56 percent and advanced to Saturday’s second round against fifth-seeded Auburn.
The best shot for the 13th-seeded Huskies (23-11) was to make their 3-point tries. They didn’t. The Colonial Athletic Association champions went 6 for 28 from the arc after finishing the regular season 17th in Division I at 38.6 percent.
Sharpshooter Vasa Pusica had a hard time getting separation from the Jayhawks’ athletic guards, finishing with seven points on 2-of-11 shooting. Jordan Roland had 12 points to lead the Huskies, who shot 28 percent overall.