March Madness Sweet 16 Update

March Madness
March Madness basketball | Image by Al Sermeno Photography

The first four games of the Sweet 16 were played Thursday night and delivered a couple of classics and some surprises.

Here is what happened on the court.

Kansas State 98, Michigan State 93 (overtime), East Region

The night’s first game was among the best of the NCAA Tournament.

Kansas State shot 62% from the floor and 7/12 from three in the first half to take the lead, while Michigan State battled back and seemed in control for much of the second half.

Kansas State went on a 10-0 run late in the game to take the lead, but Michigan State’s Tyson Walker drove down the lane and converted a tough layup in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.

Crucial missed free throws and untimely turnovers cost Michigan State as Kansas State continued its hot shooting throughout the game. Leading by one late in overtime, Kansas State inbounded the ball to Ismael Massoud, who drained a baseline jumper.

Michigan State had an opportunity to attempt the tying shot, but no one seemed willing to take it, and Markquis Nowell stole the ball for a breakaway layup.

Nowell broke the NCAA Tournament record for assists in a game with 19 while adding 20 points in the win.


UConn 88, Arkansas 65, West Region

UConn controlled this game from the start, as Arkansas never led. The Huskies have now won every game of the NCAA Tournament by double-digits and are rolling after being upset in the first round last year.

A 20-5 run in the first half helped UConn set the tone, as it led by 17 at the half.

While the second half was more competitive, Arkansas could never climb out of the hole and shot just 31.7% for the game. UConn led by as many as 29 as it routed Arkansas and got a step closer to the Final Four.

Jordan Hawkins led the Huskies with 24 points, while Anthony Black had 20 for the Razorbacks.


Florida Atlantic 62, Tennessee 55, East Region

Florida Atlantic is going to its first-ever Elite Eight after a comeback win over Tennessee.

The Owls are making just their second NCAA Tournament appearance in their 30-year history as a basketball program and are just one win away from their first Final Four.

Tennessee jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first half and held it for the first 30 minutes of the game.

Florida Atlantic flipped the script and took its first lead on a Michael Forrest three with 9:50 remaining that sparked a 10-2 run and left Tennessee scrambling for answers.

The Volunteers suddenly found themselves down nine and could not close the gap in a game they once controlled.


Gonzaga 79, UCLA 76, West Region
Gonzaga and UCLA delivered another classic in a long line of great games between the two over recent years.

Trailing by 13 at the half, Gonzaga came back to tie the game at 59 with 9:32 left and took the lead on a Malachi Smith jumper 22 seconds later.

With 2:30 to go, the Zags found themselves up by ten, but UCLA refused to go away.

The Bruins deployed a fouling strategy to extend the game by forcing Gonzaga players to make their free throws, and the resulting misses opened the door for UCLA to reclaim momentum.

UCLA stormed all the way back to take the lead on a three-pointer from Amari Bailey with 13 seconds left.

Gonzaga was in a difficult spot as guard Julian Strawther pulled up from the edge of the halfcourt logo and knocked down a clutch three to put the Bulldogs back on top.

The Zags came up with a steal on the ensuing possession, and Tyger Campbell’s game-tying shot attempt glanced off the back of the rim as the clock hit zero.

Richardson native Drew Timme led all scorers with 36 points for Gonzaga.


Elite Eight Matchups
Florida Atlantic (34-3) vs. Kansas State (26-9), East Region, 5:09 p.m. CT Saturday
UConn (28-8) vs. Gonzaga (31-5), West Region, 7:49 p.m. CT Saturday

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *