RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – Dunk City is long gone. Make way for the next bunch of bracket busters from the little-known Atlantic Sun Conference: Mercer.
The 8,300-student school from Macon, Georgia, delivered the biggest shocker in an already topsy-turvy NCAA tournament on Friday, going into Duke’s backyard and knocking off the No. 3 seed Blue Devils 78-71.
“This,” Atlantic Sun player of the year Langston Hall said, “is what March Madness is all about.”
The 14th-seeded Bears — with a starting lineup of five seniors — came back from five points down in the last 4:52 as Duke’s offense collapsed.
Mercer qualified for its first NCAA tournament since 1985 by winning the Atlantic Sun conference championship over Florida Gulf Coast, nicknamed “Dunk City” for the team’s above-the-rim offense. A year earlier, the Bears lost that game and watched FGCU advance to the Sweet 16.
“When they were going on their run, we were sitting at home thinking, ‘Man, that could have been us,’ ” Anthony White Jr. said.
Now it is.
Tennessee 86, UMass 67
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Jarnell Stokes scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Wichita State 64, Cal Poly 37
In St. Louis, Cleananthony Early had 23 points and unbeaten Wichita State faced no resistance.
Kentucky 56, Kansas State 49
In St. Louis, Julius Randle had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Aaron Harrison finished with 18 points.
Stanford 58, New Mexico 53
In St. Louis, Chasson Randle scored 23 points and Stanford made an impression in its first NCAA appearance since 2008.
Kansas 80, Eastern Kentucky, 69
In St. Louis, Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis had double-doubles.
Stephen F. Austin 77, VCU 75 (OT)
In San Diego, Desmond Haymon scored on a four-point play with 3.6 seconds in regulation and hit a big 3-pointer in overtime.
UCLA 76, Tulsa 59
In San Diego, Jordan Adams had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Norman Powell scored 15 points in his hometown.
Baylor 74, Nebraska 60
In San Antonio, Cory Jefferson scored 16 points and sixth-seeded Baylor kept 11th-seeded Nebraska winless in its NCAA tournament history.
Creighton 76, ULL 66
In San Antonio, Doug McDermott scored 30 points and third-seeded Creighton beat Louisiana-Lafayette.
Arizona 68, Weber St. 59
In San Diego, Nick Johnson scored 18 points and Aaron Gordon added 16.
Gonzaga 85, Oklahoma St. 77
In San Diego, Kevin Pangos scored 26 points and Gary Bell Jr. added 17 for eighth-seeded Gonzaga.
North Carolina 79, Providence 77
In San Antonio, James Michael McAdoo sank two free throws in the final 3.5 seconds.
Iowa State 93, NC Central 75
In San Antonio, Georges Niang scored 24 points but also broke his foot and will miss the rest of the NCAA tournament.
Virginia 70, Costal Carolina 59
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Anthony Gill scored 17 points to help No. 1 seed Virginia.
Memphis 71, GW 66
In Raleigh North Carolina, Michael Dixon Jr. scored 19 points and hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to help Memphis hold off George Washington.