NCAA Tournament recap: Sweet 16, Day 1

Four teams punched their tickets to the Elite Eight on Thursday night

Jon Simon
March 29, 2019 - 2:12 am

Photo: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports


March Madness returned Thursday night with four Sweet 16 games in the NCAA Tournament.

The slate featured a defensive battle, a blowout due to dominant defense, an overtime thriller, and one game saw a team avenge a loss to their opponent in the Sweet 16 last season. Check out a full recap from Thursday night’s games here:


West Region (Anaheim, CA):

(1) Gonzaga – 72, (4) Florida State – 58:

The top-seeded Bulldogs avenged their loss to Florida State in last year’s Sweet 16 on Thursday night with a 14-point win over the fourth-seeded Seminoles.

“This year we came out with revenge and we did it,” said Rui Hachiumura, who led Gonzaga with 17 points.

The Bulldogs defense had a strong showing, holding the Seminoles to just 39-percent shooting (24-for- 61) and 3-for-20 from three. Gonzaga also out-rebounded Florida State by nine and forced 14 turnovers.

13 of Gonzaga’s rebounds were offensive boards, a big reason why the Bulldogs finished with 17 second-chance points. The extra possessions proved to be a big difference maker; Gonzaga didn’t shoot that much better than Florida State. They finished 25-for-62, good for just above 40-percent.

Gonzaga led 38-27 at halftime and stayed in front most of the game. Florida State cut it to four with four minutes left but fell short of making any more of a comeback. The Seminoles missed six of their last seven shots and the Bulldogs closed the game on a 12-2 run.

Brandon Clarke had another solid game at both ends of the floor for Gonzaga, finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and two assists. Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins each finished with 14 points for the Bulldogs as well.

Trent Forest led Florida State with 20 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Forest was the only Seminole to finish in double figures. Senior Terance Mann was held to just five points on 1-of-8 shooting in his final game.

Gonzaga will be making their fourth Elite Eight appearance in school history and third in the last five years. The Bulldogs will take on 3-seed Texas Tech on Saturday.


(3) Texas Tech – 63, (2) Michigan – 44: 

Many believed going in that this game was going to be a defensive battle. The second-seeded Wolverines and the third-seeded Red Raiders boast two of the top three defenses in the country, but it was Texas Tech’s who had the upper hand Thursday night.

The Red Raider defense put on a spectacular performance. Texas Tech held Michigan to 32-percent shooting (16-for-49) from the field and a putrid 1-for-19 from three. The Wolverines’ lone three-pointer came with just 20-seconds left in the game. Texas Tech also forced 14 Michigan turnovers.

The Wolverines were only able to muster 16 points in the first half but managed to trail by only eight at the break. The Red Raiders blew Michigan out of the water with a 12-2 run in the first four minutes of the second half. Texas Tech took a 36-18 lead and had all the momentum on their side.

The game was never close after that stretch. The Wolverines never even got within single digits and trailed by as much as 25 with eight minutes left.

The Red Raiders managed to finish 24-for-55 from the field, good for 43-percent, after a slow offensive start. Jarrett Culver, the Big 12 Player of the Year, had another great tournament game and led Texas Tech with 22 points. Davide Moretti finished second in scoring for the Red Raiders with 15 points and shot 3-for-4 from behind the arc.

Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Charles Matthews was the only other Wolverine to finish in double figures with 12 points.

Texas Tech will be making their second consecutive Elite Eight appearance. Last year, the eventual champion Villanova Wildcats defeated them 71-59. The Red Raiders will take on 1-seed Gonzaga on Saturday with a chance to make their first Final Four in program history.

The matchup between the Bulldogs and Red Raiders will be an interesting one. Gonzaga will pit the top scoring offense in the country, averaging almost 89 points per-game, against Texas Tech’s third-ranked scoring defense. The Bulldogs are no slouch defensively either. Gonzaga had the sixth-best defensive efficiency in the nation this year. However, the Red Raiders finished first in the country in the same category.


South Region (Louisville, KY):

(3) Purdue – 99, (2) Tennessee – 94 (OT):

The third time truly proved to be the charm for the third-seeded Boilermakers. Purdue made their third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance on Thursday night, but in the previous two years, the Boilermakers failed to advance to the Elite Eight. Despite blowing an 18-point lead, Purdue broke that glass ceiling and defeated the second-seeded Volunteers in overtime to advance to their first regional final since 2000.

Carsen Edwards led Purdue in scoring with 29 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. The junior has been the Boilermakers’ leading scorer in all three NCAA tournament games this year and now has the most NCAA tournament points in Purdue history. He’s scored 25 points or more in his last four tournament games.

Ryan Cline absolutely shot the lights out for the Boilermakers, going 10-for-13 from the field and 7-for-10 from three. The senior guard finished with a career-high 27 points and four assists.

Purdue took a 40-28 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes and went up 51-33 four minutes into the second half. Tennessee proceeded to go on a 16-2 run to tie the game 65-65 with seven minutes to play in regulation.

The score remained tight over the final minutes of the second half. A put-back dunk from Grant Williams put Tennessee up 82-80 with 8.8-seconds to go. Williams came up with a big block on Edwards at the other end with four seconds left, but the ball went out of bounds and gave Purdue one last chance.

Edwards got fouled on a three-point attempt from the corner with two seconds left and would go to the line with a chance to give Purdue the lead. The junior missed the first but would sink the next two to tie it up and force overtime.

The Boilermakers out-scored Tennessee 9-2 to start the extra period to lead 91-84 with 1:40 left. Edwards hit four big free throws down the stretch to preserve the lead for Purdue, as they held on for the five-point victory.

It was a tough end to a great season for the Tennessee Volunteers. Williams and fellow senior Admiral Schofield scored 21 points apiece to lead the Vols. Williams and Schofield are two of four players graduating from this year’s group. Juniors Jordan Bowen and Lamonte Turner finished with 16 and 15 points respectively for Tennessee.

Purdue will be playing in their first Elite Eight under head coach Matt Painter, who is in his 14th season with the team. The Boilermakers will take on 1-seed Virginia for a trip to the Final Four, where Purdue made their last appearance in 1980.


(1) Virginia – 53, (12) Oregon – 49: 

The 12-seeded Ducks impressive run through March came to an end late Thursday night with a loss to the top-seeded Cavaliers. Oregon managed to hold Virginia to a season-low 53 points, but Virginia’s famed defense kept the Ducks under 50 en route to clinching their second Elite Eight appearance in the last four years.

Oregon trailed 30-22 at the midway point but would manage to hang around early in the second half. The Ducks would go on an 11-2 run midway through the half and took a 45-42 lead on a three from Louis King with 5:44 to go. King finished with a team-high 16 points for Oregon.

Virginia would take the lead back and go up 48-45 following a three from Ty Jerome with 3:33 left. The Cavaliers held the Ducks scoreless for over five minutes after King’s aforementioned three. Oregon didn’t score their 46th point until there was 15-seconds left. The Ducks managed to cut it to three, but two clutch free throws from De’Andre Hunter put Virginia up 52-47 with 13 seconds to go and they held on from there. 

Jerome led the Cavaliers with 13 points to go with six assists and six rebounds. Kihei Clark finished second in scoring with 12 points and Hunter finished with 11. Mamadi Diakite grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and scored seven points for Virginia.

The Cavaliers’ win put an end to Oregon’s 10-game winning streak. It also kept the Ducks from going to their third Elite Eight in the last four years.

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