Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 17 points, hitting two big jumpers early in overtime, and No. 11 seed UCLA held on after Alabama’s Alex Reese drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation to beat the second-seeded Crimson Tide 88-78 in a Sweet 16 showdown Sunday night.
With star guard Johnny Juzang fouled out, Jaquez and David Singleton took control in overtime. Jaquez curled in a jumper to make it 74-68, then drilled a 3-pointer to make it 77-70 moments later. Singleton’s free throws made it 79-70 with under a minute to go, and all UCLA (21-9) had to do was put the game away from the foul line.
After beating Michigan State in overtime just to escape the First Four, the unheralded Bruins are headed to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008. They’ll face top-seeded Michigan on Tuesday night for a spot in the Final Four.
UCLA thought it had the game won in regulation when Cody Riley’s lay-in made it 63-62 with 14 seconds left, and Herbert Jones — a 75 per cent foul shooter for Alabama — missed both of his attempts with 6 seconds left.
Singleton was fouled and made two free throws for UCLA, pushing the lead to 65-62 with 4 seconds to go. But that still gave the Crimson Tide enough time to find Reese, whose tying 3-pointer splashed just before the buzzer.
Jules Bernard also scored 17 points, Singleton had 15 and Juzang and Tyger Campbell added 13 apiece as the Bruins gave coach Mick Cronin his first trip to a regional semifinal in 18 years as a college head coach.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 20 points and John Petty Jr. had 16 for the Crimson Tide (26-7), who have lost eight of their nine games in the Sweet 16. Their only Elite Eight appearance was in 2004 — six national titles ago for their football program.
Gonzaga easily gets past Creighton
Drew Timme scored 22 points and top-seeded Gonzaga did against Creighton what it’s done throughout this unblemished season, rolling past the fifth-seeded Bluejays with versatile offence and efficient defence to win 83-65 on Sunday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Andrew Nembhard of Aurora, Ont., added 17 points for the Bulldogs (29-0), who have won a school-record 33 consecutive games and extended their Division I record to 26 straight double-digit wins.
Gonzaga did it this time on a quiet day for star Jalen Suggs, who finished with nine points. The Bulldogs methodically built a 10-point halftime lead and pushed ahead by 20 on Suggs’ layup with 11:22 left. The Zags will face sixth-seeded Southern California or seventh-seeded Oregon on Tuesday in the West regional final.
Marcus Zegarowski scored 19 points to lead the Bluejays (22-9), who were trying to reach their first Elite Eight since 1941, when only eight teams played in the NCAA Tournament.
As they have many times this season, the Zags led wire to wire.
Gonzaga’s fast start forced Creighton to call its first timeout a little more than two minutes into the game and within seven minutes the Zags already led 22-12.
The Bluejays settled down and fought back within 27-25. But Gonzaga answered with five straight points, took a 43-33 halftime lead and spent most of the second half pulling away.
Nembhard also had eight assists while Timme added six rebounds. Joel Ayayi finished with 13 points and eight rebounds and Corey Kispert had 12 points for Gonzaga, which shot 59.6% from the field.
Denzel Mahoney added 13 points for Creighton.
USC shuts down Oregon
Isaiah White scored 22 points and Southern California shut down Oregon’s potent offence to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 20 years with an 82-68 win in the West Region semifinals Sunday night.
Pac-12 After Dark Indy-style turned into a lights-out performance by USC.
The Trojans (25-7) clipped the high-flying Ducks with their length on the perimeter and 7-footer Evan Mobley in the middle. Offensively, the region’s No. 6 seed bobbed and weaved through the holes in Oregon’s defence, shooting 57 per cent and 10 of 17 from 3.
The all-around domination put three Pac-12 teams in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2001 and gives USC a shot at undefeated Gonzaga in the region finals Tuesday.
Oregon certainly had no answer for the long-armed Trojans.
The seventh-seed Ducks (21-7) floundered against USC’s zone, unable to find holes or get much of anything to drop over it until a late rally that came up short. The Pac-12’s best 3-point shooting team (38 per cent) went 5 of 21 from the arc.
Eugene Omoruyi had 28 points 10 rebounds, and Chris Duarte scored 21 for the Ducks.
Oregon and USC have been a big part of the Pac-12’s unexpected success in the Circle City.
Picked to be the worst among the major conferences, the big league out West opened the NCAA Tournament with nine straight wins and got four teams through to the Sweet 16.
Oregon State and UCLA already advanced, so the showdown between the Ducks and Trojans meant a Pac-12 trio in the Elite Eight.
Oregon was in a familiar position, running this deep into March for the fourth time in five NCAA Tournaments. USC had to reach back to the 2006-07 team with Nick Young and Taj Gibson for its last Sweet 16 ride.
Michigan advances to Elite Eight
Hunter Dickinson scored 14 points and the top-seeded Wolverines took the inside route to the Elite Eight, pounding away in the paint Sunday for a 76-58 takedown of surprisingly helpless Florida State.
Franz Wagner had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, who scored their first 30 points of the second half from close range to lead coach Juwan Howard and Co. to a victory in the only “chalk” meeting between a 1 and 4 seed of the second weekend.
Michigan (23-4) moved to a regional final for the first time since 2018. The Wolverines will play the winner of Sunday’s later UCLA-Alabama game.
Badly off target most of the night, Florida State didn’t eclipse the 20-point mark until M.J. Walker (10 points) hit a jumper with 27 seconds left in the first half.