Iowa State rockets into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000 with a riveting win over North Carolina
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 24, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 02:14 a.m. HST, Mar 24, 2014
SAN ANTONIO » Iowa State's DeAndre Kane did exactly as his coach had instructed, driving for a layup that gave the Cyclones the lead. North Carolina never got a chance to answer because Roy Williams' players didn't do what he wanted.
With Williams jumping and gesticulating for a timeout, the Tar Heels inbounded the ball to Nate Britt who dribbled past midcourt as time expired in Iowa State's 85-83 victory Sunday.
The Cyclones got to celebrate twice. Once as the buzzer sounded, and a few minutes later when officials viewed replays and confirmed that Kane's twisting shot had put Iowa State in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000.
"He's been our Mariano Rivera. He's been our closer all throughout this season," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Now the third-seeded Cyclones (28-7) are headed to the home of the former Yankees star, New York City, where they will play
No. 7 seed Connecticut in the East Regional semifinals next week.
As soon as officials explained that the game was over, Williams -- who collapsed his hands on his knees as Britt surged toward him -- shook Hoiberg's hand as North Carolina began absorbing the heartbreaker.
"Let's not anybody lay it on the officials or anything like that. We didn't call the timeout with 1.6 seconds to play," Williams said.
The sixth-seeded Tar Heels (24-10) are gone in the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend for the first time in consecutive seasons under Williams, who choked back tears following the end of his 10th season in Chapel Hill.
Britt said he thought North Carolina got the timeout before the buzzer.
"When I looked up at the clock I saw one-point-something time left," he said. "I saw staff screaming and trying to call timeout."
Kane finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. It was just the kind of big game the Cyclones needed without forward Georges Niang, who broke his foot in Friday's win against North Carolina Central. The 6-foot-7 sophomore sat on the bench wearing a bulky boot while the Cyclones tried their best without their third-leading scorer and tallest starter.
Kane said the last possession called for him to attack the basket, unless North Carolina defenders swarmed him as he penetrated.
"But nobody helped, and I made an acrobatic shot and it went in," Kane said.
Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 19 points and Kennedy Meeks had 15 points and 13 rebounds. But North Carolina played nearly the entire game without forward Brice Johnson, who sprained an ankle in the opening minutes.
The team said X-rays were negative, but the Tar Heels' third-leading scorer never returned.
Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejam had 19 points for the Cyclones and Monte Morris added 13.
The Tar Heels crave a fast pace, and -- after dealing with the grind-it-out style of recent opponents -- Williams and Paige had spoken of relishing the chance to finally hit the gas against the similarly up-tempo Cyclones.
But this was no track meet.
Undersized Iowa State bottled up the Tar Heels before they could run and bombarded them with 3-pointers (12-for-26) instead of quick baskets. The first dunk came from Kane, not the high-flying Tar Heels, and not until 12 minutes into the game after a handful of bungled North Carolina fast breaks.
Niang's injury left Hoiberg with a tough choice: go small with his best remaining five or put a little-used big man in place of his star sophomore. He opted for size over another shooter, giving 6-foot-8 forward Daniel Edozie his first career start.
Edozie missed the only two shots he tried and grabbed four rebounds. But Johnson's bum ankle reduced North Carolina's size advantage.
VIRGINIA 78, MEMPHIS 60
RALEIGH, N.C. » Joe Harris scored 16 points and the top-seeded Cavaliers (30-6) shot 56 percent, earning its first trip to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in nearly two decades.
Anthony Gill added 13 points for Virginia, which turned in a dominating performance while controlling the tempo and shutting down the eighth-seeded Tigers (24-10) at nearly every turn.
Virginia led by 15 at halftime and pushed that to 27 points late, picking right up where it left off in its strong finish to Friday's tournament-opening win against Coastal Carolina.
TENNESSEE 83, MERCER 63
RALEIGH, N.C. » Jarnell Stokes had 17 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds, and the Volunteers denied the Bears a second straight upset in the NCAA Tournament.
Josh Richardson had a career-high 26 points and Antonio Barton added 18 for 11th-seeded Tennessee (24-12), which outrebounded Mercer 41-19 and kept the Southeastern Conference perfect in the tournament.
They joined Florida and Kentucky in the round of 16 -- the first time three SEC teams made it that far since 2007.
Tennessee will face second-seeded Michigan (27-8) in a Midwest Regional semifinal Friday night in Indianapolis.
Langston Hall had 15 points to lead the 14th-seeded Bears (27-9), who beat Duke in the signature upset of the tournament but couldn't answer Tennessee's size.
STANFORD 60, KANSAS 57
Dwight Powell had 15 points and seven rebounds and the 10th-seeded Cardinal wrapped up their second straight upset at the free-throw line.
Chasson Randle added 13 points, six steals and four assists for Stanford
(23-12), which advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 2008. They beat No. 7 seed New Mexico on Friday.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins had just four points on 1-for-6 shooting with four turnovers in what could have been his final college game for the Jayhawks (25-10).
UCLA 77, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 60
SAN DIEGO » Jordan Adams scored 19 points and the Bruins (28-8) reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
Fourth-seeded UCLA will play Florida, the tournament's overall top seed, in the South Regional semifinals on Thursday in Memphis. First-year coach Steve Alford has won as many NCAA Tournament games in three days as the Bruins had in the previous five seasons combined.
Stephen F. Austin (32-3), the No. 12 seed, had its 29-game winning streak snapped.
BAYLOR 85, CREIGHTON 55
SAN ANTONIO » Isaiah Austin and Brady Heslip each scored 17 points and the Bears (26-11) shut down Doug McDermott of the Bluejays (27-8) with suffocating defense, ending the career of the one of the most prolific scorers in college history.
Baylor's size and speed overwhelmed third-seeded Creighton and their national scoring leader, earning a third trip to the Sweet 16 since 2010.
McDermott, who averaged 27 points this season, finished with 15 but had just three in the first half as Baylor built a 20-point lead. McDermott ranks fifth on the NCAA career scoring list.
ARIZONA 84, GONZAGA 61
SAN DIEGO » Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 18 points each, and the Wildcats (32-4) looked every bit the
No. 1 seed in the West by beating the Bulldogs (29-7).
After four days of upsets and buzzer-beaters, Arizona closed out the NCAA Tournament's first weekend with a display of domination.
The Wildcats harassed eighth-seeded Gonzaga into 21 turnovers -- 15 on steals -- that led to 31 points.