Florida avoids upset

Top-ranked Gators hold off Albany, extend win streak to 27

AP

There never came a point when top-seeded Florida looked or felt comfortable against Albany.

The Great Danes made 10 of their first 15 shots, swapped the lead back and forth early and even had the Gators reeling late.

If not for a 4-minute stretch midway through the second half, the Danes might be the talk of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Instead, they’re just the latest 16 seed to give a 1 seed trouble.

DJ Evans had 21 points and seven rebounds, but didn’t get enough help in a 67-55 second-round loss to Florida in the South Region on Thursday.

The Gators, ranked No. 1 in the last Associated Press poll, have won 27 straight games.

“Very few people gave us a chance,” said coach Will Brown, whose 11-year-old son even asked if Albany was going to get killed. “If we didn’t come here to win, we should have got on that plane in Dayton and went right back to Albany. A 16 is going to beat a 1 at some point, and we wanted to be that team.”

Gary Johnson added 13 points for the Danes (19-15), and John Puk had 10 points before fouling out with 1:27 to play. Leading scorer Peter Hooley finished with six points on 1-for-10 shooting, and Sam Rowley also struggled (1-for-8) from the field.

The loss dropped 16 seeds to 0-117 against 1 seeds since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Dayton 60, Ohio State 59

In Buffalo, New York, Vee Sanford scored on a layup with 3.8 seconds left to lift 11th-seeded Dayton over No. 6 Ohio State.

Syracuse 77, W. Michigan 53

In Buffalo, Syracuse’s backcourt of Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis combined for 34 points and the No. 3 Orange defense clamped down against No. 14 Western Michigan.

Pittsburgh 77, Colorado 48

In Orlando, Talib Zanna scored 16 of his 18 points in the opening half, helping ninth-seeded Pittsburgh build a 28-point lead against No. 8 Colorado.

EAST REGIONAL

Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57

In Spokane, Washington, Siyani Chambers scored 11 points, including five straight in the final 2 minutes, and 12th-seeded Harvard won its second NCAA tournament game in history, upsetting fifth-seeded Cincinnati.

Michigan St. 93, Delaware 78

In Spokane, Adreian Payne scored a career-high 41 points to lead No. 4 Michigan State past 13th-seeded Delaware.

UConn 89, Saint Joseph’s 81 (OT)

In Buffalo, Shabazz Napier shook off a miss at the second-half buzzer to score nine of his 24 points in overtime to carry seventh-seeded Connecticut past No. 10 Saint Joseph’s.

Villanova 73, Milwaukee 53

In Buffalo, Darrun Hilliard scored 16 points and JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 for second-seeded Villanova against No. 15 Milwaukee.

MIDWEST REGIONAL

Michigan 57, Wofford 40

In Milwaukee, Glenn Robinson III scored 14 points and second-seeded Michigan started its quest for a second straight trip to the Final Four by beating No. 15 Wofford.

Louisville 71, Manhattan 64

In Orlando, Luke Hancock hit two huge 3-pointers in the final 1:19 to help defending champion and No. 4 Louisville finally shake free from 13th-seeded Manhattan.

Texas 87, Arizona State 85

In Milwaukee, Cameron Ridley’s buzzer-beating layup lifted seventh-seeded Texas to a dramatic win over No. 10 Arizona State.

Saint Louis 83, N.C. State 80 (OT)

In Orlando, Rob Loe scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, helping No. 5 St. Louis wipe out a late 14-point deficit and knock off 12th-seeded North Carolina State in overtime.

WEST REGIONAL

Wisconsin 75, American 35

In Milwaukee, Ben Brust scored 17 points and second-seeded Wisconsin devastated No. 15 American with a 22-5 run to close the first half.

Oregon 87, BYU 68

In Milwaukee, Elgin Cook, son of former NBA All-Star Alvin Robertson, scored a career-high 23 points for seventh-seeded Oregon against No. 10 BYU.

N.D. St. 80, Oklahoma 75 (OT)

In Spokane, Lawrence Alexander hit a 3 with 11 seconds left to force overtime and freshman Carlin Dupree scored four points in the final 75 seconds as No. 12 seed North Dakota State topped No. 5 Oklahoma.

SDSU 73, NMSU 69 (OT)

In Spokane, Xavier Thames scored the first basket of OT and made three free throws at the end of the extra session to help fourth-seeded San Diego State (30-4) beat 13th-seeded New Mexico State.