Badgers Knock Off Defending Champs
UNDATED (AP) — The will be a new champion crowned in NCAA men’s basketball on April 3. Wisconsin made sure of that by knocking off Villanova Saturday.
Nigel Hayes hit a tiebreaking layup with 11.4 seconds left as the eighth-seeded Badgers beat the No. 1 overall seed, 65-62. The Wildcats had a chance to tie the game after Hayes’ driving basket, but Josh Hart was stripped of the ball by Ethan Happ before Vitto Brown hit one of two free throws with four seconds left. Villanova’s last shot was well off the mark, setting off a celebration of red-clad fans in Buffalo.
Hayes finished with 19 points and Bronson Koenig had 17 despite foul trouble to help Wisconsin eliminate a No. 1 seed for the third time in four years.
Villanova trailed by four at halftime but led 54-49 with 5:43 remaining before Koenig came off the bench to spark the Badgers’ comeback.
Hart finished with 19 points for the Wildcats, who were hoping to become the tournament’s first repeat champions since Florida in 2007.
Wisconsin will head to New York and face No. 4 Florida.
The Gators had no trouble advancing as Devin Robinson and Justin Leon each had double-doubles in a 65-39 stifling of No. 5 Virginia. Robinson provided 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Leon added 14 boards and 10 boards to help Florida reach the regional semifinals for the fifth time in seven years.
The Gators held Virginia to a season-low 17 points in the first half and 30.2 percent shooting on the night.
Also in Buffalo, fourth seed West Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time in seven years by downing Notre Dame, 83-71. Jevon Carter popped in 24 points to help the Mountaineers overcome Bonzie Colson’s 27 points and eight boards.
Tarik Phillip added 12 points and Esa Ahmad had nine rebounds for the West Virginia, which battles No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the West Regional semifinal Thursday at San Jose.
The Bulldogs stayed alive by holding off Northwestern, 79-73 at Salt Lake City. The Wildcats cut a 22-point lead to five before Nigel Williams-Goss hit a pair of free throws following a technical foul called on Northwestern coach Chris Collins with 4:54 left. Williams-Goss contributed 20 points, eight boards and four assists, while Zach Collins and Jordan Mathews each had 14 points for the Zags.
Xavier will be part of the Sweet 16 after completing its second upset of the tournament. Trevon Blueitt (treh-VAHN’ BLOO’-iht) scored 29 points and the No. 11 Musketeers moved into the West Region semifinal by crushing third-seeded Florida State, 91-66. Kaiser Gates came off the bench to contribute 14 points for Xavier.
The Musketeers shot 56 percent from the field, including 11-for-17 from beyond the arc.
Xavier next battles Arizona.
The second-seeded Wildcats staved off a challenge by No. 7 Saint Mary’s as Lauri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier combined for 30 points in Arizona’s 69-60 win against the Gaels. Trier scored nine of his 14 points during an 11-2 run that put the Wildcats up 55-48. Markkanen finished with 16 points and 11 boards.
Purdue has reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in seven years with a wild 80-76 victory over Iowa State. The Cyclones erased a 19-point deficit in the second half and took the lead with 3:11 to play before P.J. Thompson drained a 3-pointer. Caleb Swanigan provided several huge plays down the stretch and finished with 20 points, 12 boards and seven assists.
The Boilermakers will take on either Kansas or Michigan State Thursday in Kansas City.
Butler is in the regional semifinals for the first time since making back-to-back trips to the title game in 2010 and 2011. Kelan Martin scored 19 points and the Bulldogs supplied smothering defense in a 74-65 decision over 11th seed Middle Tennessee. Andrew Chrabascz added 15 points for fourth-seeded Butler, including a 3 that put Butler ahead 62-56 with 3:25 left.
Butler’s next game is against top seed North Carolina or Arkansas.