DES MOINES — Sterling Gibbs made all six of his free throws in the final 45 seconds and Connecticut rallied to take down Colorado 74-67 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.
UConn survived a tense final minute to advance to Saturday’s second round against No. 1 Kansas.
The Huskies stretched their largest lead of the game to 65-53 with seven straight points in just over one minute, but it was far from over.
The Buffaloes led the Pac-12 in free throw shooting but that team didn’t show up until it was too late Thursday afternoon. Colorado was 19-for-30 from the line and made their final six attempts but only after digging a deep hole.
All-Pac-12 forward John Scott had a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for Colorado and was 13 of 18 from the foul line.
With five guards on the court coming out of a timeout and 59.6 seconds left, Gibbs was trapped on the inbounds at Colorado’s end of the court and threw the ball away to Josh Fortune, but he quickly stole it right back and was fouled. Gibbs made both to finally answer Colorado’s 6-0 run and buy the Huskies breathing room at 68-65.
Rodney Purvis paced UConn with 19 points and Daniel Hamilton added 17 and 10 rebounds. Gibbs finished with 12.
Indiana 99, Chattanooga 74
DES MOINES, Iowa — Consider the picnic portion of the NCAA Tournament a wrap for Yogi Ferrell and fifth-seed Indiana.
The Hoosiers (26-7) crushed Chattanooga (29-6) in the first-round game at Wells Fargo Center 99-74 on Thursday to advance to the round of 32, where a possible matchup with Kentucky looms. Win that, and a would-be meeting with No. 1 seed North Carolina might happen in the regional semifinals in Philadelphia.
Ferrell’s 20 points and 10 assists might not fairly describe his dominance of the Moccasins’ guard-heavy lineup. He was 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 6 of 13 overall. Freshman forward OG Anunoby, who averaged 4.6 points this season, had a season-best 14 points and two Vine-worthy dunks. Forward Duke Ethridge led Chattanooga with 16.
Indiana attacked relentlessly on the offensive end with the floor spread for Ferrell to probe the paint and find cutting teammates, dizzying the Moccasins into catch-up mode with the divide at or above 10 points for most of the second half.
Kansas 105, Austin Peay 79
DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas demonstrated why it’s the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, cruising to a 105-79 victory over 16th-seeded Austin Peay on Thursday during the first round at Wells Fargo Arena.
For the first eight minutes, the Governors hung around and were within two points at 12-10. But just before the under-12-minute timeout, the Jayhawks’ onslaught began.
Sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk came off the Jayhawk bench and drained two 3-pointers to extend the lead to 18-10. Mykhailiuk remained hot and ended up finishing with a career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
Ark.-Little Rock 85, Purdue 83 (2OT)
DENVER — Josh Hagins scored 31 points, including six in double overtime, and 12th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock shocked fifth-seeded Purdue with an 85-83 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional on Thursday.
The Trojans (30-5) are the second straight Sun Belt Conference team to pull an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Georgia State did it to Baylor last year.
A.J. Hammons had 16 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks for the Boilermakers (26-9). Vince Edwards scored 24 points, but Purdue blew a 13-point lead late in regulation.
Hagins, who had seven rebounds, six assists and five steals, took over in the second overtime. He hit a jumper to give the Trojans a 77-75 lead at the start and Kemy Osse’s 3-pointer made it five-point game.
Hammons cut it to 81-79 with two free throws before Hagins hit a fadeaway jumper to make it a four-point game.
Hagins split two free throws with 19 seconds left to give the Trojans an 84-81 lead and Edwards scored on a layup at the other end.
After Marius Hill missed two free throws, Purdue’s Johnny Hill turned it over driving to the basket. Hagins hit a free throw and Edwards’ desperation heave was way off.
Duke 93, UNC-Wilmington 85
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram, and Marshall Plumlee combined for 66 points as No. 4 seed Duke brushed off a sluggish start to beat No. 13 seed UNC-Wilmington 93-85 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Allen tallied 23 points on 4 of 12 shooting, going 15 of 17 at the free-throw line. Plumlee totaled a career-best 23 points to go with eight rebounds while Ingram had 20 points and nine boards for the Blue Devils (24-10).
Duke meets No. 12 seed Yale in the tournament’s second round on Saturday.
Craig Ponder scored 22 points, Chris Flemmings had 18 and Denzel Ingram chipped in 17 for UNC-Wilmington (25-8), which finished one victory shy of its highest single-season win total in program history.
Miami (Fla.) 79, Buffalo 72
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Angel Rodriguez tallied a season-high 24 points, leading third-seeded Miami (Fla.) past 14th-seeded Buffalo 79-72 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Hurricanes guard Sheldon McClellan scored in double figures for the 21st consecutive game, finishing with 20 points. Kamari Murphy and Davon Reed each had double-doubles, Murphy with 11 points and 13 rebounds, Reed with 10 points and 12 boards.
Murphy set a Hurricanes program record for blocks in an NCAA Tournament game with four.
Miami (26-7) faces sixth-seeded Arizona or 11th-seeded Wichita State in a South Region second-round game Saturday.
Butler 71, Texas Tech 61
RALEIGH, N.C. — Guard Kellen Dunham scored 23 points and Butler pulled away to defeat Texas Tech 71-61 in a first-round game of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon at PNC Arena.
Forward Tyler Wideman added 14 points, forward Andrew Chrabascz had 13 points and guard Kelan Martin scored all of his 11 points in the second half for ninth-seeded Butler (22-10)
Butler will face Virginia in Saturday’s second round.
Guard Devaugntah Williams’ 18 points and forward Justin Gray’s 10 points and reserve forward Aaron Ross’ 10 points paced eighth-seeded Texas Tech (19-13).
North Carolina 83, Florida Gulf Coast 67
RALEIGH, N.C. — Top-seeded North Carolina used a riveting start to the second half to dismiss thoughts of an historic upset on the way to defeating Florida Gulf Coast 83-67 in the NCAA Tournament’s first round Thursday night at PNC Arena.
Forward Brice Johnson scored 18 points and blocked eight shots and guard Joel Berry had 14 points for the Tar Heels, who led by only one point at halftime and didn’t want to become the first No. 1 regional seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed.
North Carolina, which is the top seed in the East Region, also received 12 points apiece from forwards Justin Jackson and Isaiah Hicks and 10 points from guard Marcus Paige.
North Carolina (29-6) will face the winner of the Providence-Southern Cal game in Saturday’s second round of the East Region.
Guard Christian Terrell scored 15 points to lead Florida Gulf Coast.
Virginia 81, Hampton 45
RALEIGH, N.C. — Forward Anthony Gill’s 19 points and seven rebounds led Virginia to an 81-45 romp past Hampton in an NCAA Tournament first-round game on Thursday afternoon at PNC Arena.
It’s the largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game for the Cavaliers.
Virginia (27-7), the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, advances to meet Butler in Saturday’s second round.
Guards London Perrantes and Malcolm Brogdon added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Cavaliers. Guard Marial Shayok had 10 points.
Guard Quinton Chievous scored 17 points and guard Reginald Johnson Jr. added 10 points for 16th-seeded Hampton (21-11).
Iowa State 94, Iona 81
DENVER — Georges Niang had 28 points, Monte Morris scored 20, and No. 4 seed Iowa State Cyclones held off a late rally to beat No. 13 seed Iona 94-81 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional on Thursday.
Abel Nader added 19 points for Iowa State (22-11), which will face the winner of Arkansas-Little Rock and Purdue on Saturday.
A.J. English scored 28 and Jordan Washington had 26 for Iona (22-11), which is still looking for its first win the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels are 0-10 all-time.
Iona tried to use its running style to overcome the size and talent disadvantage, but the Cyclones used a strong transition defense to slow down the Gaels.
Iona got within 58-50 on a 3-pointer by Deyshonee Much with 15:27 left but Nader’s 3-pointer and steal that led to two free throws by Niang push the lead to 16.