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The News
Wednesday 28 of October 2020

The Latest: Nevada on ropes against Florida in NCAAs

AP Photo,Nevada forward Caleb Martin, center, loses the ball while driving between Florida's Keyontae Johnson, left, and KeVaughn Allen, right, during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo,Nevada forward Caleb Martin, center, loses the ball while driving between Florida's Keyontae Johnson, left, and KeVaughn Allen, right, during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Latest on the first round of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):

8:35 p.m.

Nevada might go from being ranked No. 7 in November to being a one-and-done as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament in March.

Tenth-seeded Florida, which needed a win over LSU in the SEC Tournament to pop off the bubble, opened up a 51-34 lead early in the second half over the Wolfpack.

Nevada managed to score just seven points in the first eight minutes of the second half, and it doesn’t appear to be up to the challenge of facing arguably its most athletic opponent of the season.

___ Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines, Iowa.


8:20 p.m.

The NCAA Tournament game between defending champion Villanova and Saint Mary’s tipped to an almost empty arena, but it wasn’t because nobody had bought tickets.

Fans of the Wildcats, many of whom made the 4-hour drive from Philadelphia to Hartford, Connecticut, were lined up along with Gaels fans behind metal detectors as security emptied the arena from the afternoon session.

Late in the first half, the 16,000-seat XL Center was nearing capacity, but some frustrated fans were sill filing in.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford.


8 p.m.

Even with leading scorer and rebounder PJ Washington sidelined by an injured left foot, the second-seeded Wildcats have raced to a 39-13 lead at halftime of the Midwest Region game in Jacksonville.

Tyler Herro is pacing Kentucky with 14 points. The Wildcats shots 60 percent in the opening half, while limiting Abilene Christian to just 5-of-26 from the field.

Washington was injured during the Southeastern Conference tournament. Kentucky coach John Calipari announced on his Twitter page early Thursday that the 6-foot-8 sophomore was placed in a hard cast after seeing a foot specialist and wouldn’t be able to play. He’s watching the game from the bench and getting around the arena on a scooter.

The injury is still described as a sprain —not a fracture— but it’s not known when Washington will be able to return. If Kentucky knocks off Abilene Christian, they will next play Saturday against the Wofford-Seton Hall winner.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


8 p.m.

Here’s an answer to that burning question: Who, or what, is Fairleigh Dickinson?

According to the school’s website, it’s a private university in New Jersey named after its early benefactor, Farleigh S. Dickinson, who co-founded a medical technology company in the late 19th century.

The school, with enrollment of 11,500, has four campuses. It offers dozens of degrees, in business, science and the arts. The basketball program lists Hackensack as its home.

Three short nights ago, the 16th-seeded Knights earned their first NCAA Tournament victory. Tonight, they’re up against No. 1 Gonzaga, and trailing 30-11 midway through the first half.

—Eddie Pells reporting from Salt Lake City


7:50 p.m.

Florida has taken a somewhat surprising 37-28 halftime lead over Nevada in the West Region’s No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 seed game in Des Moines, with Jalen Hudson of the Gators beating the buzzer with a soaring dunk.

Hudson has 13 points and Kevarrius Hayes has 10 for the 10th-seeded Gators, whose athleticism is giving the Wolf Pack fits.

Nevada has just four losses, but that number might soon reach five if it can’t clean things up in the second half. The Wolf Pack already have nine turnovers, and Caleb Martin was 1 of 7 from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

What should also concern Nevada is that Florida is just 3 of 12 on 3s — and it’s still up nine.

—Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


7:10 p.m.

Murray State’s Ja Morant is the star of the NCAA Tournament’s first day after leading No. 12 seed Murray State to an 83-64 blowout of No. 5 seed Marquette.

Morant ended up with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds to lead four players in double figures.

Markus Howard scored 26 points for Marquette but shot 9 of 27 and didn’t get enough help.

Murray State advances to a second-round matchup with Florida State.


6:50 p.m.

Murray State’s Ja Morant has recorded the ninth triple-double since the NCAA started measuring the statistic in 1987.

Morant has 15 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds with 3:43 remaining in the game. The 12th-seeded Racers lead No. 5 seed Marquette 75-58.

His triple-double is the first in an NCAA Tournament game since Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for Michigan State against LIU Brooklyn in 2012. Green had a total of two NCAA Tournament triple-doubles.

Other players to get official triple-doubles in NCAA Tournament games are Michigan’s Gary Grant in 1987, LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, St. John’s David Cain in 1993, Utah’s Andre Miller in 1998, Marquette’s Dwyane Wade in 2003 and Kansas’ Cole Aldrich in 2009.

The NCAA didn’t start keeping track of triple-doubles until 1987.


6:45 p.m.

Florida State forward Phil Cofer received a phone call from his family after the team’s 76-69 victory over Vermont and learned that his father had died.

Florida State athletic department spokesman Chuck Walsh says Mike Cofer, a former Pro Bowl linebacker with the NFL’s Detroit Lions, had been suffering from a long illness.

Mike Cofer had suffered from an uncommon disease that affects organs and tissue.

Walsh says Phil Cofer received the phone call during the open locker-room period and broke down into tears. The senior forward had missed the game with an injured foot.

Mike Cofer played for the Lions from 1983-92. The Lions drafted him in the third round out of Tennessee.


6:15 p.m.

Murray State has opened up a double-digit lead over Marquette.

The Racers scored the first seven points of the second half on a dunk by KJ Williams and layup to slowly rolled in by Shaq Buchanan. Ja Morant assisted on Buchanan’s bucket and then converted a three-point play to give Murray State a 49-35 lead with 18 minutes left.

The Racers also got a dunk from Morant and are up 55-40 with 15 ½ minutes left

—Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


5:55 p.m.

No. 6 seed Maryland is moving on after surviving a tough bout with Belmont in a 79-77 win, keeping the Big Ten conference perfect through three games.

Jalen Smith threw down a thundering two-handed dunk over Dylan Windler, drawing a foul for a three-point play to give the Terrapins a 77-73 lead with 1:41 to play. The Bruins didn’t fade, though. Nick Muszynski’s 3-pointer cut Maryland’s lead to one point with 1:01 remaining.

The Bruins had the ball after a Terrapins miss with the chance to take the lead, but they turned it over. Windler’s final heave at the buzzer fell short.

Minnesota and Michigan State have already won, making the Big Ten 3-0 so far. Michigan and Purdue play later tonight. The Big Ten sent eight teams to the NCAA Tournament, the most in the field this year and the most in conference history.


5:45 p.m.

Ja Morant has lived up to every bit of the hype in the first half of Murray State’s first-round game against fifth-seeded Marquette.

The 12th-seeded Racers lead 42-35 at the half, which ended with Morant making a step-back 3-pointer. Mostly, the star guard and future NBA lottery pick dominated with his passing. As the Golden Eagles’ defense collapsed on Morant, he kept finding open shooters. Morant, who leads the nation with 10 assists per game, had eight in the first half. Five set up 3-pointers.

Big East player of the year Markus Howard has 16 points for Marquette.

— Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


5:25 p.m.

No. 2 seed Michigan State had a scare from Bradley but pulled away late to win 76-65 and advance to meet Minnesota in an All-Big Ten second-round game.

Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston scored 26 points to lead the Spartans, who haven’t made it past the first weekend of the tournament since 2015.

The Missouri Valley Conference’s Braves gave Michigan State all it could handle through the first 30 minutes. Bradley led 35-34 at the half and was still up by one point with 7 minutes to go. Then a 9-0 spurt put the Spartans ahead 63-55 with 2½ minutes to play.

The Spartans made 25 of 26 free throws.

Elijah Childs scored 19 points to lead the Braves, who were just 3 of 12 on 3-pointers in the second half after starting 6 for 9.

— Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


5:25 p.m.

The Minnesota-Michigan State matchup in the second round will be the earliest two Big Ten teams have ever met in the NCAA Tournament. It’s the eighth all-time in any round.

The only time two Big Ten teams have played before the regional finals was in 1980, when Purdue beat Indiana in the Sweet 16. There hasn’t been an all-Big Ten matchup in any round since Michigan State beat Wisconsin in the Final Four in 2000. That came a few days after Wisconsin’s win over Purdue in the regional finals.

The other NCAA Tournament games involving Big Ten games were Michigan’s win over Ohio State in the 1992 regional finals, Michigan’s win over Illinois in the 1989 Final Four, Purdue’s win over Iowa in the 1980 third-place game and Indiana’s win over Michigan in the 1976 national championship game.

— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis.


5:11 p.m.

Kansas is giving Northeastern problems with its size inside and quickness off the dribble.

Dedric Lawson has 16 points and the fourth-seeded Jayhawks lead the No. 11 Huskies 37-25 at halftime in the Midwest Region.

Kansas went up 31-19 with an 11-0 run and has held one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting team to 5 for 17 from the arc.

The Jayhawks have a 26-4 advantage in the paint.

— John Marshall reporting from Salt Lake City.


5:05 p.m.

The All-America matchup between Murray State’s Ja Morant and Marquette’s Markus Howard is off to a good start.

The 12th-seeded Racers are tied with the fifth-seeded Golden Eagles at 10 with 15:51 left in the first half.

Morant has a 3-pointer and a couple of assists when the defense has collapsed on him. Howard has six points, a 3-point basket and a traditional 3-point play.

— Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


4:55 p.m.

Florida State has moved on to the second round on Saturday, when the fourth-seeded Seminoles hope to have starting forward Phil Cofer back.

The senior sat out of Florida State’s first-round victory against Vermont with a sore ankle. Coach Leonard Hamilton says Cofer’s status is day to day but that he’s not likely to miss any more games after experiencing some swelling after the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Another advancing team, Minnesota, has an injury to a starting forward to keep an eye on. Gophers standout

Jordan Murphy’s back locked up during the win over Louisville, requiring some medical attention behind the bench at times during the second half.

Murphy finished with 18 points. The senior says “there’s no way” he’s missing the next game.


4:45 p.m.

Stealing a few moments from work to catch March Madness? You’re hardly alone.

A Seton Hall University poll released on Thursday says 22 percent of Americans who will watch the NCAA men’s basketball tournament acknowledge they’ll be watching from work. It’s nearly one in three when just men are counted.

The poll also reflects the changing nature of television, with 38 percent of interested viewers saying they’ll be watching either fully or partly online.

Seton Hall polled 606 adults on both land and cell telephones, and their findings had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

— David Bauder reporting from New York


4:35 p.m.

Michigan State has used a 10-0 run to take a 44-39 lead against 15th-seeded Bradley in the NCAA Tournament.

Elijah Childs dunked to put the Missouri Valley Conference’s Braves up 39-34 early in the second half, posing for the Bradley fans as he ran downcourt.

Cassius Winston’s 3-pointer broke a 39-39 tie, and Xavier Tillman’s steal and layup gave the Spartans a 44-39 lead.

No. 15 seeds were 8-128 entering the tournament. Michigan State was the last No. 2 seed to fall to a 15, losing to Middle Tennessee in 2016.

— Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


4:25 p.m.

Florida State withstood a barrage of 3-pointers from 13th-seeded Vermont and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 76-69 victory in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Catamounts went 16 for 32 from 3-point range but cooled in the second half just enough for the Seminoles to take over with their size.

Mfiondu Kabengele scored 21 points to lead fourth-seeded FSU.

The Seminoles will face the winner of Murray State and Marquette in the West Region on Saturday.

-Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


4:23 p.m.

Playing its second game in less than 48 hours, Belmont is turning in another strong performance at the NCAA Tournament.

Dylan Windler scored 15 points and Kevin McClain chipped in with 12 to lead the 11th-seeded Bruins to a 40-34 halftime edge over No. 6 Maryland in the East Regional at Jacksonville, Florida.

Belmont landed an at-large bid to the tournament but was forced to play a First Four game at Dayton on Tuesday night. The Bruins defeated Temple 81-70 for the first NCAA victory in school history, leaving them with a quick turnaround against Big Ten school Maryland.

Showing no signs of fatigue, Windler knocked down four 3-pointers in the opening half. Maryland is being paced by Jalen Smith with nine points.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


4:07 p.m.

No. 15 seed Bradley is leading Michigan State 35-34 at halftime after making 6 of 9 3-pointers the first 20 minutes, including back-to-back 3s by reserve guard Nate Kennell.

Elijah Childs, the 6-foot-7 Bradley forward who gives up at least 20 pounds to Michigan State’s big men, is holding his own with 11 points and four rebounds. Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye has nine points for the Missouri Valley Conference’s Braves.

Cassius Winston has scored 13 points for the Spartans, who are just 2 for 10 on 3s and 11 for 30 overall from the field.

— Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa—


4:05 p.m.

Florida State has a 66-58 lead over 13th-seed Vermont with 2:12 left.

The Catamounts have made bigger Seminoles work hard for baskets and they have filled it up from 3-point range, going 12 for 25. But the 3s haven’t been falling as frequently and Florida State is asserting itself.

Terrance Mann got out in transition for a layup that extended the lead and put Vermont on the brink of sliding out of the game.

—Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


3:55 p.m.

The first wild finish of the first round is in the books. Fifth-seeded Auburn has held on for a 78-77 win over New Mexico State in the Midwest Region

With the Aggies trailing by two points, A.J. Harris had an open layup he passed up in order to fling the ball to Terrell Brown behind the 3-point line. Brown was fouled with 1.7 seconds left, but he made only one of three free throws.

The Aggies maintained possession after the ball went out of bounds and found Trevelin Queen for an-open 3-pointer at the buzzer, but he fired an airball and the Tigers prevailed in Salt Lake City, Utah.


3:50 p.m.

Vermont has already made some history, regardless of the outcome against Florida State. Ernie Duncan, a senior, Everett Duncan, a junior, and Robin Duncan, a freshman, became the first trio of brothers to ever play in the same NCAA Tournament game.

Vermont officials say the Duncans are just the fifth trio to play on the same Division I men’s team. In January, the three brothers joined Villanova’s Herron trio of the 1970s as the only three brothers to start the same game. The Duncans are the first set of three brothers to play on the same NCAA team since the Plumlees at Duke.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


3:45 p.m.

Florida State used a 6-0 run to take a 50-45 with 9:01 left in the second half.

The run was capped by Mfiondu Kabengele’s dunk in transition.

It matches the Seminoles’ largest lead of the game. Vermont has cooled off from 3-point range, going 1 for 6 after starting 9 for 16.

— Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


3:40 p.m.

Belmont is missing one of its top backups for the East Regional game against Maryland.

Freshman forward Caleb Hollander remained at the team hotel in Jacksonville with an illness, forcing the 11th-seeded Bruins to go without a player who averaged 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Hollander dressed for the play-in game on Tuesday, but didn’t get on the court. With Belmont playing again for the second time in less than 48 hours, he wasn’t even able to make the trip to the arena.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida


3:33 p.m.

Michigan State has its hands full with 15th-seeded Bradley midway through the first half of its NCAA Tournament game in Des Moines, Iowa.

Darrell Brown’s 3-pointer gave the Braves of the Missouri Valley Conference a six-point lead less than four minutes into the game. The Spartans used a 9-0 run to take the lead, but Brown hit a deep 3-pointer to tie it at 18-all.

Michigan State lost to Middle Tennessee as a No. 2 seed in 2016. The Spartans haven’t made it past the second round in three appearances since 2015.

— Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


3:30 p.m.

Vermont started the second half with a couple more 3-pointers and is still in a tight game with Florida State.

Florida State led 44-43 with 11:34 remaining.

The 13th-seeded Catamounts have beaten a No. 4 seed in the NCAA before, knocking out Syracuse in 2005.

-Ralph Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


3 p.m.

Vermont used the 3-point shot to force a 27-27 halftime tie with a much taller Florida State team.

The Catamounts had just 10 baskets before intermission, but seven of those came from behind the arc.

Vermont also didn’t let their lack of size prevent them from hitting the glass. The 13th seed, which didn’t start a player taller than 6-foot-6, outrebounded Florida State 20-18.

The Seminoles had a 14-0 run midway through the half to lead 21-16, but found themselves tied at the break.

—Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


2:55 p.m.

Third-seeded LSU has advanced in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament, holding off upset-minded Yale 79-74.

The Tigers led 45-29 at halftime and pushed the edge to as many as 18 points before the Bulldogs rallied down the stretch with a barrage of 3-pointers.

But LSU made enough free throws to hold off No. 14 seed Yale, which was trying for the Ivy League’s first victory in the tournament since its upset of Baylor in 2016.

The Tigers will face the winner of Belmont-Maryland game on Saturday. Yale’s season ended with a record of 22-8.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


2:50 p.m.

LSU freshman Emmitt Williams took quite a spill during the Tigers’ game against Yale.

Belmont’s radio announcer fared even worse.

Williams tumbled over press row in the second half while pursuing a loose ball, winding up on the floor behind the table. He knocked over several drinks, busted a chair and wound up on top of Belmont play-by-play man Kevin Ingram, who was watching the game while preparing for the Bruins’ contest against Maryland.

Ingram was a little sore but insisted he was OK after the encounter with Williams, who is 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds. His slacks were soaked and the cover of his iPad was cracked, but the device he got as a Christmas gift survived the collision. Ingram picked up a smashed cup as a souvenir, saying it’s “going home with me.”

Ingram knows he’ll get plenty of ribbing from his friends. He joked that “this is not the way I wanted to be on ESPN.”

Williams remained in the game, though his jersey and shorts were noticeably marked up with soft drink stains.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


2:37 p.m.

Freshman Gabe Kalscheur scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half to lead No. 10 seed Minnesota past No. 7 seed Louisville 86-76 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The win was Richard Pitino’s first in the tournament in his six seasons with the Gophers and extra sweet because it came against the school that fired his father, Rick Pitino, in 2017.

Backed by a throng of fans who made the easy drive to central Iowa, the Gophers were at their best in the East Region game. They took the lead midway through the first half and built it to 19 with 9:48 left.

Kalscheur made five of the Gophers’ 11 3-pointers while scoring his second-most points of the season. Minnesota’s starters did all the scoring. The Gophers are the first team to win with no bench points since Norfolk State beat Missouri in 2012.

Louisville, which lost nine of its final 14 games, got 22 points from Christen Cunningham.

—Eric Olson reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


2:35 p.m.

Yale didn’t bring its pep band to the NCAA Tournament.

No problem.

North Florida filled in for the Bulldogs.

Donning navy blue T-shirts with “Yale” emblazoned across the front, the Ospreys’ pep band provided a musical accompaniment for the Ivy League champions during their opening game against LSU.

They really got into it, too. Not only were they wearing Yale colors, the 22-member group cheered loudly for the underdog team and joined in cheers such as “Defense! Defense!” and “Let’s go Bulldogs!”

North Florida band director Stephen Putnam says he’s not sure why Yale’s band didn’t come to the tournament, but he assumes it’s because the school is on spring break and couldn’t get all its members together. North Florida is also on spring break, but many of its students live in Jacksonville, so they were thrilled to get a chance to attend the NCAA tournament.

Putnam says “we have great school spirit at UNF, but we’re proud to bring it for Yale today.” He called it a good matchup because the Bulldogs are from “the best school in the Ivy League, and North Florida is the best school in the A-Sun.”

Actually, the Ospreys were 14-19 this season and failed to make the second NCAA appearance in school history.

But at least their band made it to the Big Dance.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


2:30 p.m.

New Mexico State went nearly seven minutes without scoring, but the Aggies closed the first half only trailing Auburn 32-29.

Chuma Okeke leads the fifth-seeded Tigers with eight points. Johnny McCants has 10 for the 12th-seeded Aggies, including a 3-pointer he banked in as the shot-clock buzzer was going off.

The teams came into March Madness with conference titles and large winning streaks in tow.

Auburn, the Southeastern Conference Tournament champion, has won eight straight. New Mexico State, champion of the Western Athletic Conference, has won 19 in a row.

—Eddie Pells in Salt Lake City.


1:45 p.m.

LSU’s Tremont Waters is giving Yale fits in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers’ 5-foor-11 point guard is hitting shots, blowing by defenders and making everything happen for the third-seeded Tigers in the East Region.

LSU leads the 14th-seeded Bulldogs 45-29 at halftime thanks partly to Waters’ 13 points and six assists. Waters was a staggering plus-19 in a little more than 18 minutes on the court.

Yale, the best 3-point shooting team in the Ivy League this season, missed 14 of 17 from beyond the arc.

—Mark Long reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


1:30 p.m.

Minnesota has taken a 50-38 lead over Louisville early in the second half of the first game of the day, no doubt buoyed a bit by a friendly crowd with the arena in Des Moines, Iowa, just 250 miles south of campus.

Louisville has the most famous fan in the building on its side, with movie star Bill Murray sitting in the seats in support of his son, Luke Murray, who’s an assistant coach for the Cardinals. Luke Murray followed head coach Chris Mack from Xavier, where Bill Murray used to show his allegiance.

Just like in the movie “Caddyshack,” Murray is having trouble with Gophers. Amir Coffey had 13 points in the first half.

— Luke Meredith reporting from Des Moines, Iowa


1:25 p.m.

Florida State forward Phil Cofer was not in uniform for warmups before the No. 4 seed Seminoles’ game against No. 13 seed Vermont. He was wearing a protective boot on his right foot.

The 6-foot-8 Cofer has averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. He missed the Seminoles’ first nine games of the season with a right foot injury suffered during a preseason practice. Cofer has started 19 games this season, including the last 15.

— Pat Eaton-Robb reporting from Hartford, Connecticut


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