NCAA: Albany 71, Mount St. Mary’s 64
D.J. Evans scored 22 points, including two clinching free throws with 12.6 seconds left, to lead Albany to its first NCAA Tournament victory, a win over Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in the First Four in Dayton.
The Great Danes (19-14) advance to meet overall No. 1 seed and top-ranked Florida on Thursday in Orlando.
It was a wild game of incredible turnarounds, with the Great Danes bolting to leads of 13-0 and 21-2, only to have Mount (16-17) bounce back with a 21-2 run of its own to pull even.
Peter Hooley had 20 points and Gary Johnson 13 for Albany, winless in its three previous NCAA trips.
Hooley, one of three Australians on the Albany roster, hit two free throws with 2:43 remaining to stretch the lead to 65-62. After Julian Norfleet countered with a bucket, Hooley again pounded his way to the basket and lofted a shot over a defender for a 67-64 lead at the 2-minute mark.
It stayed that way with the teams missing big shots. Rashad Whack and Norfleet each missed potential tying 3s before Evans was fouled with 12.6 seconds left and hit both shots to increase the lead to five points. Norfleet then missed another 3, and Albany finally could call itself an NCAA winner.
North Carolina State 74, Xavier 59
T.J. Warren scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half, showing why he was the ACC’s player of the year, and North Carolina State led most of the way in a victory over Xavier.
N.C. State (22-12) didn’t have much time to celebrate. The 12th-seeded Wolfpack headed to Orlando, Fla., for a game on Thursday against St. Louis in the Midwest Regional.
Warren had the most to do with it. The sophomore made up for a freshman tournament flop a year earlier and prevented Xavier (21-14) from getting any traction in the second half.
Center Matt Stainbrook led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds despite an injured left knee.
Warren and N.C. State took all the drama out of it in the last 11 minutes, helping the Wolfpack pull away.