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Timme sparkles, Gonzaga rolls past Oklahoma into Sweet 16

by The Associated Press
| March 23, 2021 10:55 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gonzaga continued to roll behind a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds from Drew Timme as the top-seeded Bulldogs beat No. 8 seed Oklahoma 87-71 on Monday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga (28-0) won its 32nd straight game dating to last season, passing its first real test of the NCAAs in the Bulldogs’ quest to be the first undefeated champion since Indiana 45 years ago.

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.

The Zags advanced to their sixth straight Sweet 16 and will next face Creighton in the West Region.

Austin Reaves scored 27 points for Oklahoma (16-11).

Timme, sporting a handlebar mustache, was 9 of 12 shooting and 12 of 14 at the free-throw line. Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs added 16 points each for Gonzaga.

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. Oregon will next face Pac-12 rival Southern California.

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.

EAST

MICHIGAN 86, LSU 78

Top-seeded Michigan salvaged the Big Ten’s best hope for NCAA Tournament glory, getting 21 points each from Chaundee Brown and Eli Brooks in a a roller-coaster victory over talent-rich LSU.

In a game full of big runs, the Wolverines (22-4) used the biggest — 14-1 over the decisive stretch midway through the second half — to pull away and preserve a glimmer of hope for a conference that has mostly tanked in Indianapolis.

Michigan moved on to its fourth straight Sweet 16, where it will play Florida State next weekend.

LSU’s Cameron Thomas went from lighting up Michigan to barely being able to get a shot off. He finished with 30 points but it took 23 shots, and he went 3 for 10 in the second half. The Tigers (19-10) finished shooting 39% from the floor.

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.