NCAA Tournament recap: Round 1, Day 2

All three one-seeds get a bit of a scare, five double-digit seeds pull off upsets, and UB advances

Jon Simon
March 23, 2019 - 2:36 am

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports


The first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament came to a close on Friday with 16 more teams advancing to the Round of 32. The hometown Buffalo Bulls got a huge win over their former head coach. A pair of 12-seeds and a 13-seed advanced with upset victories. All three one-seeds that were in action on Friday trailed a 16-seed in the first half at one point. The second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers ran into some trouble as well.

Check out a full recap of all the madness from Day 2 of the tournament below: 


East Region:

(1) Duke – 85,  (16) North Dakota State – 62:

The top-seeded Blue Devils found themselves in a fight with 16-seed North Dakota State early on in their first round matchup on Friday night. The Bison hung with the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed for much of the first half and held a surprising 14-7 lead six minutes into the game. Duke would go on an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to take the lead, but the Bison kept the Blue Devils from blowing it open and only trailed 31-27 at the break. Duke didn’t waste much time taking full control of the game when they came out for the second half. The Blue Devils scored nine-straight points to open the period and increased their lead to 26 by the under-12 minute media timeout. The Blue Devils coasted the rest of the way, leading by as much as 31 at one point. Zion Williamson finished with 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting. Fellow freshman and top NBA Draft prospect RJ Barrett finished with a double-double, leading the Blue Devils with 26 points and 14 rebounds along with three assists and a steal.

(9) UCF – 73, (8) VCU – 58:

Central Florida’s 7' 6" Tacko Fall has been one of the more polarizing players in college basketball over the last few years simply because of his size. On Friday, Fall’s 13 point, 18 rebound double-double led the nine-seed Knights to a first round victory over the eight-seed Rams. Fall also recorded five blocks in the Knights’ first-ever NCAA tournament win. UCF led 34-24 at halftime and went up by as much as 21 in the second half. VCU fought their way back and got within seven points with 4:55 to go following a three from De’Riante Jenkins, who led all Rams starters with 10 points. The Knights would runaway with the game following Jenkins’ three, out-scoring VCU 11-3 over the final 4:30 to put a lid on the game. UCF will face Duke in the Round of 32. The matchup of Zion Williamson versus Tacko Fall could be an intriguing one, as it pits the game’s most polarizing freshman against a 7' 6" senior who’s playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time as well.

(12) Liberty – 80, (5) Mississippi State – 76:

The Liberty Flames became the third 12-seed in this year’s tournament to advance to the Round of 32. Liberty trailed the fifth-seeded Bulldogs 37-35 at halftime and was down as much as 10 in the second half before coming back to win their first tournament game in program history. Caleb Homesley scored 22 of his game-high 30 points in the second half for the Flames. Homesley scored 14 points in a five-minute span down the stretch. His final bucket of the run was a three-pointer that put Liberty up 69-67 with 2:40 left, giving them their first lead since the 12:40-mark of the first half. Mississippi State would go back up by one, but a three from Lovell Cabbil Jr. put the Flames back in front 72-70 with 1:20 to play. Liberty would take care of business at the free throw line the rest of the way to seal the victory. The Flames will take on the four-seed Virginia Tech Hokies in the second round.

(4) Virginia Tech – 66, (13) Saint Louis – 52:

Virginia Tech hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in 12 years prior to Friday night’s victory over the 13-seed Saint Louis Billikens. The four-seed Hokies went on a 10-0 run in the first half to go up 13 and led Saint Louis at halftime 40-18. The Hokies forced 12 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes and held the Billikens to just 1-of-9 from three. Saint Louis got back within 10 midway through the second half but couldn’t muster much more of a comeback, as Virginia Tech held a double-digit lead all the way to the final buzzer. Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Hokies with 20 points and Kerry Blackshear finished with 15.


West Region:

(6) Buffalo – 91, (11) Arizona State – 74:

The six-seed Bulls didn’t shock anyone this year with a first-round blowout win over a PAC 12 team from Arizona. Nate Oats and crew took care of former Bulls head coach Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils with a 21-5 first half run that put Buffalo up 31-19 with 7:20 to go before halftime. The Bulls doubled-up the Sun Devils on the scoreboard 34-17 over the final 12:30 of the first half and led 44-31 at the break. After Arizona State went on a short run to start the second half, UB went on another run and found themselves up 23 points following a three from Jeremy Harris that made the score 72-49 with 10:05 to play. Harris finished the game tied for the team lead with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Nick Perkins was the other Bull with 21 points, scoring a team-high 12 in the first half. The senior forward also grabbed 10 rebounds to earn a double-double. CJ Massinburg hit four three-pointers and finished with 18 points along with six rebounds, two assists and a steal. The Bulls led by as much as 25 down the stretch in the second half, coasting to a victory. The Bulls will have a tough test in the Round of 32. They’ll take on the Big 12 regular season champion Texas Tech Red Raiders on Sunday night with a shot at their first Sweet 16 appearance in program history.

(3) Texas Tech – 72, (14) Northern Kentucky – 57:

Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver had one of the more impressive individual performances of the first round, scoring 29 points along with eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the three-seed Red Raiders to victory. Tech only led the 14-seed by four at halftime and the Norse pulled within three early in the second half. The Red Raiders proceeded to go on a 13-3 run to get their first double-digit lead of the afternoon. Northern Kentucky was never able to get back within 10 after that point, as Tech out-scored them by 11 in the second half en route to a victory. Northern Kentucky was the 24th-best team in the nation when it came to shooting percentage in the regular season (48.1), but on Friday shot just 37-percent from the field (23-for-62) against a tough Texas Tech defense. The Round of 32 matchup between Texas Tech and UB should be an interesting one as both teams won their first round games convincingly.


South Region:

(10) Iowa – 79, (7) Cincinnati – 72: 

Similar to Thursday, the first game of the day ended with a 10-seed from the Big Ten knocking-off a seven-seed to advance to the Round of 32. The 10-seed Iowa Hawkeyes trailed by as much as 13 points in the first half against the seven-seed Bearcats. Iowa ended the first half on a 7-2 run to cut the Cincinnati lead down to five by halftime, trailing the Bearcats 36-31 at the break. Cincinnati was 23-0 this season in games they in which they were leading at halftime, but the Hawkeyes out-scored the Bearcats by 12 in the second half to snap that streak. Most of the second half was pretty tight as neither team led by more than seven points until Iowa pulled ahead 77-69 with 28-seconds left in the game. The Hawkeyes closed the game on a 17-10 after Cincinnati tied the score 62-62 with 4:20 to go. At the time of Iowa’s victory, Big Ten teams were 6-0 in this year’s tournament.

(2) Tennessee – 77, (15) Colgate – 70: 

Just one day after the Bradley Braves came close to knocking off second-seeded Michigan State, another 15-seed made a run at an upset on Friday. Despite trailing the two-seed Tennessee Volunteers by 12 at halftime, the 15-seed Raiders went on an 11-2 run and took a 52-50 lead with 11:30 to go, but Tennessee tied the game back up a minute later. Colgate was able to hang around down the stretch and trailed by only three with two minutes left. Back-to-back three’s from Admiral Schofield put Tennessee up 73-64 with 50-seconds left on the clock, ending Colgate’s chances of pulling-off the upset. Schofield led the Volunteers with 19 points. Tennessee will face 10-seed Iowa in the Round of 32 on Sunday.

(9) Oklahoma – 95, (8) Mississippi – 72:

According to the bracket, this was an eight-seed versus nine-seed matchup. On the court, the nine-seed Sooners played as a one-seed, and the eight-seed Rebels looked like they belonged in the NIT. Oklahoma jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game and led by as much as 22 points in the first half. The Sooners hung 50 points on Mississippi in the first half, the most they’ve scored in a first half this year. It was also the most points Mississippi gave up in a first half this season. The Rebels’ 17-point halftime deficit was the largest they’d seen all year, but they didn’t have much success coming back in the second half. The Sooners held a double-digit lead from 13:06 mark of the first half all the way to the final buzzer, leading by as much as 29 in the second half. Christian James and Rashard Odomes each scored 20 points for the Sooners. Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek finished right behind them with 19 and points respectively. Oklahoma will take on top-seed Virginia on Sunday for a trip to the Sweet 16.

(1) Virginia – 71, (16) Gardner-Webb - 56: 

The 16-seed Gardner-Webb Bulldogs gave top-seeded Virginia serious flashbacks of UMBC, the 16-seed who made history and knocked the Cavaliers out of the tournament in the first round one year ago. Virginia never led in the first half and at one point trailed by as much as 14. The Cavaliers cut the deficit to six by halftime and put any chances of an upset to rest in the second half. Virginia out-scored the Bulldogs 25-5 in the first 10 minutes of the second half to take a commanding double-digit lead. The Cavaliers defense locked down and held Gardner-Webb to just 20 points in the second half and forced 11 turnovers in the first 12 minutes after halftime. Virginia took a 21-point lead, their largest of the afternoon, with 3:16 to go and wouldn’t score another basket, but hung on to win by 15 regardless. Sophomore De’Andre Hunter led Virginia with 23 points. Mamadi Diakite finished second in scoring with 17 points, going 8-for-10 from the field, and led the Cavaliers with nine rebounds.

(13) UC Irvine – 70, (4) Kansas State – 64:

The 13-seed UC Irvine Anteaters pulled off the biggest upset of the first round on Friday afternoon in San Jose, CA, edging out the Big 12 regular season co-champion and four-seed Kansas State Wildcats for their 17th-straight victory and first NCAA tournament win in program history. The score was knotted 30-30 after 20 minutes of play and neither side was able to pull away for the most of the second half either. Irvine went up 61-53 with 5:16 to go; that eight-point lead was the largest either side had since the 7:16 mark of the first half when the Wildcats were up 10. Kansas State found themselves down 66-64 with a minute to go and following a missed layup from Irvine’s Robert Cartwright, Kansas State’s Barry Brown Jr. brought the ball up the court with a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but threw an errant pass out of bounds, giving the ball back to Irvine with 38-seconds left. The Anteaters were able to preserve the win with clutch free throw shooting, going 4-for-4 from the line in the final 20 seconds. Evan Leonard and Max Hazzard led Irvine with 19 points apiece. Hazzard hit a team-high five three-pointers, while Leonard finished a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. The Anteaters will take that win-streak into the Round of 32 on Sunday when they take on Oregon, who will come in riding a nine-game win-streak of their own. 

(12) Oregon – 72, (5) Wisconsin – 54:  

The 12-seed Ducks shot an incredible 71-percent from the field in a second half drubbing of the fifth-seeded Wisconsin Badgers. Oregon out-scored Wisconsin 47-29 in the final 20 minutes of the game. The score at halftime was 25-25, as both teams struggled offensively in the first half. The Badgers were able to climb back into the game after Oregon started the second half with a run that put them up by as much as nine. An Ethan Happ layup with 6:26 to play made the score 52-47 in favor of the Ducks, but Wisconsin would fail to get any closer. Oregon would go on a 20-4 run over the next five minutes and led by 21 with less than 30-seconds to go. Happ finished a great career at Wisconsin with 12 points and eight rebounds. Payton Pritchard led all scorers with 19 points, along with eight assists, six rebounds and two steals. Wisconsin was the only Big Ten team to lose on Thursday or Friday. The conference finished 7-1 the first round.


Midwest Region:

(9) Washington – 78, (8) Utah State – 61:

The nine-seed Washington Huskies made their first NCAA tournament appearance in eight years on Friday night. The PAC 12 regular season champions seized the moment and took care of a solid eight-seed Aggies team, who had won 17 of their last 18 games coming in and were the champions from the Mountain West Conference. Utah State committed 11 turnovers in the first half and found themselves down 40-28 at the midway point following a 13-3 Washington run to end the opening period. The Aggies erased a double-digit deficit and cut Washington’s lead to 54-53 with about 10 minutes to go. Nahziah Carter would hit back-to-back threes to stretch the Huskies’ lead back to seven. From there Washington would extend their lead back into double-digits and would bury the Aggies late, out-scoring them 13-3 in the final 4:30. Senior Noah Dickerson finished with a double-double for the Huskies, scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, both were team-highs. Washington will face the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in the Round of 32 on Sunday.

(1) North Carolina – 88, (16) Iona – 73: 

The Iona Gales didn’t want to be the only 16-seed to not make some noise on the second day of March Madness. The top-seeded Tar Heels, similar to fellow one-seeds and ACC foes Duke and Virginia, found themselves trailing their underdog opponent in the first half. North Carolina became the second one-seed on Friday to trail a 16-seed at halftime, as the Gales took a 38-33 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes. The Tar Heels were 5-6 this season in games in which they trailed at halftime. It didn’t take much time for Carolina to take control and improve that record to .500 as they went on an 18-5 run in the first five minutes of the second half to take a 51-43 lead. Iona hit 10 three-pointers in the first half but shot just 5-for-21 from three in the second period, making just one of their first 12 attempts. UNC’s lead would grow to as much as 20 late in the second half as they finished off the Gales for a 15-point win. Cam Johnson scored 21 points to lead the Tar Heels along with seven rebounds and four assists. Fellow senior Luke Maye finished with 16 points and led UNC in rebounds with nine. Iona senior Ricky McGill scored a game-high 26 points in his final appearance for the Gales, going 7-for-9 from three. Carolina’s head coach Roy Williams career record in the first round improves to 29-0 with the win. The Tar Heels are a one-seed for a record 17th time and are looking to make it to the Final Four for a 21st time. The Heels’ 21 appearances is already an NCAA record. 

(3) Houston – 84, (14) Georgia State – 55:

The three-seed Cougars came sprinting out of the gates and set the tone early in their first round matchup. Houston out-scored the 14-seed Georgia State Panthers 15-3 in the first five minutes of the game and cruised to a victory from there. Houston’s Corey Davis Jr. scored a game-high 26 points along with seven rebounds and six assists. Davis Jr. led a Cougar offense that shot 52-percent from the floor, while holding Georgia State to 30-percent shooting. The Panthers averaged 75 points per-game in the regular season. Fabian White Jr. grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Houston and finished second in scoring with 14 points. Georgia State kept it close in the first half and trailed the Cougars 40-31 at halftime. Houston opened the second half on a 10-2 run and took a 17-point lead with 17:10 left. The Cougars never looked back after that as they out-scored Georgia State 44-24 in the second half for an easy win. Houston now heads on to the Round of 32 for the second straight year and will face the 11-seed Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday.

(11) Ohio State – 62, (6) Iowa State – 59:

One of the final matchups of the first round ended up being one of the most thrilling. The 11-seed Buckeyes and six-seed Cyclones took part in a 40-minute grudge match on Friday night, with Ohio State coming out on top for the upset victory. Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Keyshawn Woods finished second in scoring for Ohio State with 19 points. Iowa State led only once in the second half, 54-53 with 3:40 left following a jumper from Marial Shayok. Ohio State went back in front by one on the next possession thanks to a made basket from Woods. Iowa State’s Lindell Wigginton nailed a three with 23-seconds to go to make it a one-point game again. Woods got fouled on the ensuing possession and made two clutch free throws to put the Buckeyes up 62-59 with 18-seconds left. Ohio State decided to foul with a three-point lead. Shayok went to the line for the Cyclones and missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the ball back to the Buckeyes with a chance to put the game on ice. Wesson was fouled immediately after he grabbed the rebound off Shayok’s missed free throw. But, when Wesson went to the line with a chance to make it a two-possession game with 10-seconds left, he missed the first shot of a one-and-one, giving the Cyclones one last chance. Nick Weiler-Babb missed the game-tying three in the final seconds, allowing Ohio State to breathe a sigh of relief. Some didn’t believe the Buckeyes deserved an NCAA tournament bid, but they beat a good Iowa State team on Friday to advance to the Round of 32 for the third time in the last five years.

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