NCAA Tournament Day 3: Musketeers, Bulldogs and Boilermakers

Xavier Musketeers guard Trevon Bluiett (5) passes against Florida State Seminoles forward Phil Cofer (0) during the second half in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Amway Center. (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

EAST REGION

No. 8 Wisconsin 65 No. 1 Villanova 62

Nigel Hayes scored 19 points including the go ahead layup with 11.4 seconds left to drive Wisconsin’s upset over defending champion, Villanova (32-4). Getting into foul trouble early, senior Bronson Koenig also added 17 points for the Badgers (27-9). In what would be his last game in a Wildcat uniform, Josh Hart had a team high 19 points but also had a crucial turnover in the final seconds. Wisconsin has now beaten a number one seed in three of the past four years and moves on to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16. They will face Florida next.

No. 4 Florida 65 No. 5 Virginia 39

Devin Robinson and Justin Leon combined for 28 points and 20 rebounds as Florida (26-8) cruised to victory. Holding the Cavaliers (23-11) to a mere 17 points and going on a 21-0 run in the first half, the Gators dominated early and carried the momentum throughout the game. The loss of Isaiah Wilkins (strep throat) who leads Virginia in rebounds, blocks and steals, also proved to be costly as Florida consistently attacked the post. With the win, Florida will look to clinch an Elite Eight berth in their next game against Wisconsin.

WEST REGION

No. 1 Gonzaga 79 No. 8 Northwestern 73

Nigel Williams-Goss compiled 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists as Gonzaga (34-1) held on for the win. Leading by as many as 22 in the first half, the Bulldogs seemed to have full control. However, the Wildcats (24-12) managed to cut Gonzaga’s lead to five before a goaltending call was missed by the referees resulting in coach Chris Collins getting assigned a technical foul. Leading the comeback efforts were Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law who scored a majority of their points in the second half. Gonzaga will continue their hunt for their first Final Four berth in school history against West Virginia.

No. 2 Arizona 69 No. 7 Saint Mary’s 60

Lauri Markkanen propelled Arizona with a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds). After a closely contested first half, the Wildcats (32-4) came alive in the final 20 minutes as they went on an 11-2 run to give them the lead for good. Countering Arizona was All-WCC first team selection, Jock Landale, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for Saint Mary’s (29-5). The Wildcats will take on the Xavier Musketeers next week.

No. 4 West Virginia 83 No. 5 Notre Dame 71

Jevon Carter netted 24 points to lead West Virginia (28-8). Never trailing in the game, the Mountaineers won the rebound battle 34-28 and forced 14 turnovers. First team All-ACC selection, Bonzie Colson, led the Fighting Irish (26-10) with 27 points and 8 rebounds. With the victory, West Virginia advances to their fourth Sweet 16 since coach Bob Huggins took over in 2007. They will face top seeded Gonzaga on Thursday.

No. 11 Xavier 91 No. 3 Florida State 66

Trevon Bluiett netted 29 points as Xavier pulled off yet another upset in the NCAA Tournament. Although the Seminoles (26-9) were viewed as the more athletic team, the Musketeers (23-13) proved otherwise as they shot nearly 65 percent from behind the arc and 55.6 percent from the field. Playing against Florida State was also the poor play of their big men, Michael Ojo and Christ Koumadje, who were outscored in the paint 36-26. Up next for Xavier is a regional semifinal matchup with the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats.

SOUTH REGION

No. 4 Butler 74 No. 12 Middle Tennessee 65

Kelan Martin contributed 19 points off the bench to lead Butler (25-8) to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2011. Andrew Chrabascz also made his presence known as he scored 15 points and was a key player on the defensive side of the ball. For the Blue Raiders (31-5), reigning Conference USA player of the year, JaCorey Williams finished with 20 points. Even more significant though was the lack of scoring by Giddy Potts (0 points) who averaged nearly 16 points per game this season. The Bulldogs move on to play the winner of North Carolina versus Arkansas.

MIDWEST REGION

No. 4 Purdue 80 No. 5 Iowa State 76

Vince Edwards and Caleb Swanigan combined for 41 points, 22 rebounds and 11 assists in Purdue’s win. After losing a 19 point lead in the second half, the Boilermakers (27-7) had found themselves behind with just 3:11 left when P.J Thompson hit a clutch three point shot to retake the lead. It remained close up until the very end though as it took a pair of Purdue free throws with 7 seconds left to seal the victory. For Iowa State (24-11), Deonte Burton scored a team high 25 points. With the victory, Purdue reaches its first Sweet 16 in seven years and will face the winner of top seeded Kansas versus ninth seeded Michigan State.

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