2014 NCAA Tournament: Every 2nd-Round Game from Thursday Summarized
March Madness is the most unique tournament in the world, and the best single event in the stable of American championship games.
The seven compressed, center-stage rounds of March Madness are followed raptly both by the voiceless man on the street and the booming pulpit of the president. There really is nothing to match the symmetry and tension of the two 20-minute halves that decide the fate of 64 superior college basketball teams.
It is a gauntlet like no other.
These slides are an experiment in summary. If you missed the games or just feel like living them again over a few tightly packed sentences, the article aims to preserve the essential moments of every game with links to the final box scores.
South: Dayton (11) vs. Ohio State (6); First Niagara Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
For members of the love covenant as well as card-carrying constituents of the certified haters brigade—there is no middle—Dayton ended the college career of Ohio State's Aaron Craft, 60-59, in the tournament's second round.
Flyers senior guard Vee Sanford nailed a running bank shot over Craft with three seconds to play to put Dayton ahead for good inside the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Craft went end-to-end with the ensuing inbounds pass and touched off a short bank shot as the horn sounded, but it bounced off the front of the rim with the red light already glowing.
The game was over.
Prior to Sanford's game-winner, Craft had put Ohio State up 59-58 with a behind-the-back, reverse-layup drive that split two defenders with 11 seconds left in the game. It appeared enough for the Buckeyes to survive and advance, but Dayton had enough left of Cinderella's magic to beat the big in-state bully from Columbus.
The scoring had gone tensely back and forth over the game's final five minutes, with Craft (16 points, four assists) and Sam Thompson (18 points, four rebounds) answering the bell for Ohio State. Dayton's two best, Dyshawn Pierre (12 points, eight rebounds, two assists) and Sanford (10 points), made sure the Flyers lived to fight another day.
Dayton will play Syracuse Saturday in Buffalo.
West: American University (15) vs. Wisconsin (2); Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said afterward he was glad his team got to play at least 80 minutes of tournament basketball, not just 40 during its second-round game, after his Badgers tore apart American University, 75-35, to advance.
The coach described the first half as "six minutes of jitters" when the Badgers went to the locker room in Milwaukee ahead just 32-22. American had used a 12-0 run in the middle of the period to tighten the game to a single possession for several minutes.
By the time it had ended, Wisconsin christened its largest-ever victory in the NCAA tournament at 40 points. The Badgers have used the same starting lineup every game this season and held American to 13 total points in a punishing second half of basketball.
Ryan said he was excited for BYU and Oregon to tip off, so his assistants could scout the game. The Badgers, a Final Four contender, will play that game's winner Saturday at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Update: Wisconsin will play Oregon.
South: Pittsburgh (9) vs. Colorado (8); Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.
Jamie Dixon left in point guard Cameron Wright to man the controls for Pittsburgh and rested his starters over the final six minutes of a 77-48 win over Colorado in the round of 64.
Like Wisconsin had earlier 1,200 miles to the north, the Panthers established a new all-time school tournament record with the 29-point victory over the Buffaloes at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
The Panthers had sprinted out like they were chasing easy prey over the plains to establish a 33-9 lead in the first 10 minutes. They led 46-18 at the intermission and needed a mere 31-30 advantage in the second half to win by nearly two-score points.
Pittsburgh entered with the well-established reputation of a rugged, principled team that devoted so much energy to defense and rebounding that at times its offense seemed like the mysterious mixture sought after by alchemists.
On Thursday, the Panthers showed a deft hand at both ends, smothering Colorado to 36 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from three-point range while scoring nearly 80 points. They won on the glass 29-26 and had 18 assists to Colorado's six. Pittsburgh's three turnovers went a long way toward the final score, while the Buffaloes committed an insurmountable 17 in the loss.
Pittsburgh gets top overall seed Florida Saturday in Orlando.
East: Harvard (12) vs. Cincinnati (5); Spokane Arena, Spokane, Wash.
The Harvard Crimson proved their intelligence again by showing they had learned from what they did the last time they were there: winning an NCAA tournament game in an upset.
The No. 12 seed Crimson took their second-ever tournament game 61-57 over No. 5 Cincinnati at Spokane Arena in Tacoma, Washington.
Several of last year's knights rode in again on their white horses with Crimson blankets to carry the day.
Laurent Rivard, the senior from Saint-Bruno, Quebec, Canada, scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep. He had splashed home five of nine three-pointers for 17 points in last year's 68-62 upset of No. 3 seed New Mexico.
Teammate Siyani Chambers, a sophomore, put away six of eight critical free throws for 11 points. In last year's game against the Los Lobos, he contributed only five points but played the entire 40 minutes.
Junior Wesley Saunders again led the Crimson on their road to victory. He had 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, while last year he led the team with 18 points.
It was a typical day for the Bearcats, which encapsulated their season. A ferocious defensive team with an often crippled offense, Cincinnati shot 38 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the free-throw line. The Bearcats were reminiscent at times of a lamprey trying to suck the life out of a salmon—an ugly thing that was attempting to survive on the powerful beauty of a superior creation.
Cincinnati's marvelous senior guard Sean Kilpatrick went out as he had defined himself over five years in the program—with heart, pride and a champion's belief in his power to overcome anything. Over 38 minutes, he scored 18 points and had one assist and two steals to go with an unfortunate five turnovers. He finished his career at the university as the second-leading scorer behind only the legendary Oscar Robertson.
Harvard will play Michigan State on Saturday.
South: Western Michigan (14) vs. Syracuse (3); First Niagara Center, Buffalo
Syracuse eased Thursday afternoon into what most forecasters predicted would be a run deep into the NCAA tournament with a 77-53 win over Western Michigan.
All five starters were resting on the Orange's bench when the final horn sounded. The Broncos had been forced by Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense into shooting 17-of-51 from the floor and 4-of-17 from deep. They were also out-rebounded 39-19 by the much longer, more athletic Orange front line and turned the ball over more (13) than they assisted (12).
There had been a creeping concern that Syracuse had lost access to the magnificence of its early-season play when it began 25-0 and ranked No. 1 for almost half the year. The Orange had limped to a 2-5 finish and were upset in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament by 11-loss North Carolina State.
On Thursday, they erased those doubts—and spectacularly. Early in the game, forward C.J. Fair spun like a Russian ballet master down the middle of the lane and finger-rolled in a basket to put his team up 28-13.
Four of Syracuse's five starters finished in double digits, led by 18 from ace sniper Trevor Cooney, who shot 4-of-9 from three and 5-of-10 from the field.
Syracuse gets upset winner Dayton on Saturday.
West: BYU (10) vs. Oregon (7); Bradley Center, Milwaukee
The Ducks flew beyond the reach of the Cougars in the second half, deploying their powerful offense to soar to an easy 87-68 victory at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Oregon faces a challenge in the round of 32 on Saturday against the Wisconsin Badgers, a No. 2 seed with good odds of playing to at least a regional final in the tournament's West bracket.
The Ducks led 39-31 at the half. With six minutes left in the second half, Oregon was 19 points ahead and pulling away from BYU. The Cougars were unable to force any pressure on Oregon the rest of the way.
The Cougars had been a controversial NCAA tournament selection, after losing 11 games overall, finishing second place in the small West Coast Conference and dropping five games within the league. Gonzaga dispatched BYU by 11 points in the conference tournament's championship round, seemingly ending its hopes. But BYU was given a relatively comfortable No. 10 seed by the tournament committee.
Oregon had a strange regular season of its own. Beloved by writers in the preseason, it had opened up 13-0 and ranked in the Top 10. The Ducks then lost six games in a row and nine of 11 to fall out of the rankings completely. They somehow righted the ship and went hot again, finishing the season on an 8-1 tear that was ended by conference tournament champion UCLA in the quarterfinals.
South: Albany (16) vs. Florida (1); Amway Center, Orlando
The Great Danes got down with the Gators in the swamp and held their own as long as they could before succumbing 67-55 in a second-round game from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
It was not the beautiful run that Florida, the tournament's top overall seed, had wanted to begin the tournament, but there was never any doubt. The Gators were in the midst of a 16-6 run when the final horn sounded to end what was essentially a technical knockout.
Florida has now won 27 games in a row.
"I was disappointed by the way we played and performed today, but give them a lot of credit for that," said Florida head coach Billy Donovan after the game to CBS. "I'm a little bit baffled with our team right now."
The most compelling part of the game came with 13 seconds left when Albany head coach Will Brown pulled his starters from the floor. They had fought to the bloody end, getting hammered around by a physical Florida team that is the consensus No. 1 team in America.
Brown hugged each of his players as the underdog, sympathetic crowd stood and offered an ovation for their effort. Moments like these, after all, make the NCAA tournament, and college sports, special.
Florida will play Pittsburgh on Saturday.
East: Delaware (13) vs. Michigan State (4); Spokane Arena, Spokane
For 40 minutes, Adreian Payne pounded Delaware with the Spartan hammer, while in the second half, Travis Trice joined the fun for Michigan State in its 93-78 second-round victory.
Despite 10 first-half turnovers, the Spartans led 44-33 at the intermission. Delaware, the Colonial American Association champion, got three starters well into double figures and kept the game respectable with eight three-point baskets.
Payne finished with a Spartan's tournament-record 41 points on 10-of-15 shooting over just 21 minutes. He also set an NCAA record with a 17-of-17 performance from the free-throw line. Trice, who averaged 7.7 points on the season, scored 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting
Senior point guard Keith Appling still does not look back to full strength for Michigan State.
A critical piece for a team that is almost always picked to contend for a Final Four—having reached six under head coach Tom Izzo—Appling sprained a wrist in early February and appeared to lose either confidence or a physical ability he once had. He finished with four points and six assists in 29 minutes against Delaware.
Michigan State gets Harvard Saturday in Tacoma.
East: St. Joseph's (10) vs. UConn (7); First Niagara Center, Buffalo
UConn beat the Atlantic 10 tournament champion St. Joseph's in overtime, 89-81.
UConn's Shabazz Napier started the game slowly and missed an open shot at the horn that would have won a 70-70 game in regulation time. But for the rest of the scrap and during overtime, he put on the kind of bright-lights show that gets him so often compared to Huskies' legend Kemba Walker.
He finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists and was 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
The Hawks, the enduring program out of Philadelphia, looked for the first half and early part of the second like the gamer team. With the loss, fans were bereft of condor-like St. Joseph's forward Ronald Roberts Jr. In the first half of the game, he lifted off the earth like a Harrier Jump Jet and windmilled home a monster dunk that electrified the arena.
UConn will play old Big East rival Villanova Saturday in Buffalo.
Midwest: Wofford (15) vs. Michigan (2); Bradley Center, Milwaukee
The Wolverines ambushed Wofford, clawing into the Terriers from the jump and dominating the second-round game, 57-40, from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Michigan led at the half by 14 points. The team was paced by Nik Stauskas (15 points), Glenn Robinson III (14 points, seven rebounds) and Jordan Morgan (10 points and 10 rebounds).
The Wolverines will play Texas Saturday in Milwaukee.
Midwest: North Carolina State (12) vs. St. Louis (5); Amway Center, Orlando
There is limping into a tournament, and then there is being carried in on a stretcher and left to do what you can. St. Louis University was the latter after losing four of its last five games entering the NCAA tournament.
The Billikens showed heart, though, and made up 16 points in the second half to beat North Carolina State 83-80 in overtime in Orlando.
If the strength of the wolf is the pack, but the strength of the pack is the wolf, then sophomore T.J. Warren was North Carolina State's alpha lupine. But despite scoring 28 points and dominating everyone who tried to check him, he shot 6-of-14 from the free-throw line and failed to seal the deal.
The Wolfpack was 20-37 from the line overall and can look squarely at its futility there as the reason for losing a game it had well under control.
St. Louis gets defending national champion Louisville on Saturday.
West: North Dakota State (12) vs. Oklahoma (5); Spokane Arena, Spokane
The metamorphosis of North Dakota State from a Division II football power to a three-time national football champion in Division I-AA and now an NCAA tournament-winning team is as amazing as anything nature can do.
The team from the Northern Plains beat the Oklahoma Sooners from the Southern Plains in overtime 80-75 in Spokane.
"I've got a group of seniors I don't want to say goodbye to," said head coach Saul Phillips afterward on the court as the arena hummed with energy.
The Bison's junior guard Lawrence Alexander made a three-pointer with 11 seconds left to tie the game. He had a scintillating night, scoring 28 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
Oklahoma called a timeout to set up a final play but missed on three attempts at the horn, sending the game to overtime.
NDSU freshman Carlin Dupree entered the game for the first time with 1:20 in overtime after star Taylor Braun fouled out. Dupree hit two free throws and then buried a shot on an isolation play to put NDSU ahead by four points.
North Dakota State will get its second shot at an upset Saturday against No. 4 seed San Diego State.
East: Milwaukee (15) vs. Villanova (2); First Niagara Center, Buffalo
Villanova was 0-of-12 from distance in the first half and started the game 3-of-19 from the floor and went to the locker room leading No. 15 seed Milwaukee just 27-23.
The Wildcats came to life in the second half, scoring 46 points to beat the Panthers 73-53 in the second-round game from Buffalo.
The team's leading scorer Darrun Hilliard netted 16 points for the Wildcats. JayVaughn Pinkston contributed 13, and two bench players, Josh Hart and Chris Jenkins, each added 11 in the winning effort.
Villanova will play its old Big East rival UConn in the tournament's third round.
Midwest: Arizona State (10) vs. Texas (7); Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Cameron Ridley wore the cloak and stuck the dagger into the heart of Arizona State as the final horn sounded, giving Texas an 87-85 second-round win in Milwaukee.
The Sun Devils trailed at the half by five points before going down 14 points in the second. Arizona State then battled furiously to outscore Texas by three in the second half, forcing an 85-85 score as the clock wound down under 10 seconds.
The Longhorns' Jonathan Holmes bricked a long three-pointer off the side of the backboard that was collected during a short scrum under the basket by Ridley. He stepped to the left and tossed up a shot—which arced over 7'2'' Jordan Bachynski's fingers by millimeters—that kissed off the window and through with the red light on behind the backboard.
Texas' bench erupted into a mob over Ridley on the floor, while Arizona State collapsed in shock at its sudden-death elimination from the tournament. The game was the perfect avatar for the agony and the ecstasy of March basketball.
Texas gets No. 2 seed Michigan in the third round.
Midwest: Manhattan (13) vs. Louisville (4); Amway Center, Orlando
Both teams wanted to run, press and score, but defending champion Louisville did it a little better in its opening-round 71-64 win over the Manhattan Jaspers.
The Jaspers actually took a 58-55 lead over the Cardinals with under four minutes to play, sending the first rumblings of upset tremors across the country as mighty Louisville seemed to be on the brink of a monumental loss.
Cardinal stars Russ "Russdiculous" Smith knocked down a three-pointer that tied the game. Then last year's tournament hero Luke Hancock crushed two deep balls for Louisville to put it ahead for good.
The Cardinals get St. Louis on Saturday in the round of 32.
West: New Mexico State (13) vs. San Diego State (4)
San Diego State outscored New Mexico State by 12 in the first half but then was outscored by 12 in the second and needed overtime to dispatch Aggies, 73-69.
It was the night session's final game and the fourth overtime game of the tournament's first day. The Aztecs never trailed the entire game but could not get an edge when the clock sounded to end regulation time.
In the extra session, San Diego State sunk its free throws and knocked down enough shots to outscore New Mexico State 13-9 and advance to the third round. Waiting there is fearless North Dakota State, the giant killers from Fargo who also went to an extra session to knock out No. 5 seed Oklahoma in Spokane.