MIDWEST REGIONAL: Kentucky 78, Wichita State 76
It took a program stocked with NBA prospects to finally end Wichita State’s perfect run.
Andrew Harrison scored 20 points, twin brother Aaron had 19 and Kentucky survived a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer by Fred VanVleet to knock off the undefeated Shockers in St. Louis.
Julius Randle added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and James Young also had 13 points for the No. 8 seed Wildcats (26-10), who made a series of clutch free throws in the closing minutes to advance to the Sweet 16 in arguably the most captivating game of a thrilling first weekend.
Now, Big Blue Nation gets to jump right into another high-profile matchup: Louisville awaits in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Indianapolis. The Wildcats beat their bitter in-state rival in December.
Cleanthony Early scored 31 points and Ron Baker had 20 for the Shockers (35-1), who hadn’t lost since last year’s Final Four while taking an entire city — and state — on quite a ride.
Kentucky took the lead for good at 73-71 when Young knocked down a 3-pointer with less than 2 minutes to go. Early answered with a basket for Wichita State, and Andrew Harrison made two free throws for Kentucky. Baker banked in a 3-pointer and Randle made two more foul shots.
Early’s two free throws with 9.8 seconds left got the Shockers within 77-76, and they still had a chance when Andrew Harrison missed the second of two free throws and Early got the rebound.
VanVleet raced up court and called timeout with 3.2 seconds left.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall drew up a play that had Tekele Cotton inbounding the ball to VanVleet, who took a shot from the top of the key. But the shot was wide the entire way, and it clanked off the rim as the buzzer sounded and Kentucky began to celebrate.
Tennessee 83, Mercer 63
Tennessee came to Tobacco Road and turned it into “Raleigh Top.” Jarnell Stokes had 17 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds, and the Volunteers denied Mercer a second straight upset in the NCAA Tournament by routing the Bears in Raleigh, N.C.
Josh Richardson had a career-high 26 points and Antonio Barton had 18 for the 11th-seeded Vols (24-12), who outrebounded Mercer 41-19 and kept the Southeastern Conference perfect in the tournament.
They joined Florida and Kentucky in the round of 16 — the first time three SEC teams made it that far since 2007.
Tennessee will face second-seeded Michigan (27-8) in a Midwest Regional semifinal Friday night in Indianapolis.
Stokes broke his 2-day-old school tournament record for rebounds.
Langston Hall had 15 points to lead the 14th-seeded Bears (27-9). They knocked off Duke in the signature upset of the tournament but couldn’t answer Tennessee’s size.
Mercer trailed by double figures for the entire second half before the Bears threatened to give themselves yet another fantastic finish.
They had the ball down 12 with about 2½ minutes left when Jakob Gollon — one of the heroes of the Duke upset two days earlier — threw the ball away in the lane, then fouled out a few seconds later.
Jordan McRae hit two free throws, and Richardson added a fast-break layup to push the Tennessee lead to 77-61 with 1½ minutes left.
McRae finished with 13 points for the Volunteers.
EAST REGIONAL: Iowa State 85, North Carolina 83
DeAndre Kane drove for the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left and No. 3 seed Iowa State beat North Carolina in San Antonio, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000.
The Cyclones (28-7) head to Madison Square Garden next week to face No. 7 seed Connecticut in the East Regional semifinals.
The Tar Heels (24-10) are gone in the NCAA Tournament’s opening weekend for the first time in consecutive seasons under coach Roy Williams.
North Carolina’s Nate Britt raced the ball up court after Kane’s basket, but time expired before he could reach midcourt and call a timeout. Officials huddled for several minutes reviewing clock replays before ruling the game was over.
Right away Williams — who collapsed on his hands on his knees as Britt dribbled toward him and the buzzer sounded — shook Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg’s hand as North Carolina began absorbing a last-second heartbreaker.
Kane finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. It was just the kind of big game the Cyclones needed without forward Georges Niang, who broke his foot in Friday’s win against North Carolina Central. The 6-foot-7 sophomore sat on the bench wearing a bulky boot while the Cyclones tried their best without their third-leading scorer and tallest starter.
Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 19 points and Kennedy Meeks had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Virginia 78, Memphis 60
Joe Harris scored 16 points and top-seeded Virginia shot 56 percent to beat Memphis, earning its first trip to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in nearly two decades.
Anthony Gill added 13 points for the Cavaliers (30-6), who turned in a dominating performance while controlling the tempo and shutting down the eighth-seeded Tigers (24-10) at nearly every turn in Raleigh, N.C.
Virginia led by 15 at halftime and pushed that to 27 points late, picking right up where it left off in its strong finish to Friday’s tournament-opening win against Coastal Carolina.
In what has already been the program’s most successful season in decades, Virginia added another milestone: its first regional semifinal appearance since making it to a regional final in 1995. And the Cavaliers, carrying a No. 1 seed for the first time since the days of Ralph Sampson, look ready to go even farther.
SOUTH REGIONAL: Stanford 60, Kansas 57
Dwight Powell had 15 points and seven rebounds and No. 10 seed Stanford wrapped up its second straight upset at the free throw line, knocking off No. 2 Kansas in St. Louis.
Chasson Randle added 13 points, six steals and four assists for the Cardinal (23-12), who advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 2008 — also their last NCAA appearance. They beat No. 7 seed New Mexico on Friday.
Stanford will play 11th-seeded Dayton, which beat No. 3 Syracuse 55-53, in the round of 16 in Memphis, Tenn.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins had just four points on 1-for-6 shooting with four turnovers in his final college game for Kansas (25-10). Wiggins is a likely NBA lottery pick and had averaged 28 points the previous four games.
Kansas is the second No. 2 seed to be eliminated. Villanova lost 77-65 to seventh-seeded Connecticut in the East Regional.
Tarik Black had 18 points and six rebounds for the Jayhawks, but he fouled out with 5:25 to go. Conner Frankamp had 12 points on four 3-pointers, the last two in the final 23 seconds to make it close after Stanford had pulled ahead by seven.
Stanford was 9 for 12 at the free throw line over the final 2:04 and needed all those points. Frankamp’s second 3-pointer narrowed the gap to 59-57 with 14.9 seconds left.
Anthony Brown hit just one of two free throws with 12.9 seconds and Frankamp banged a third 3-point attempt off the glass near the buzzer in a bid to tie it.
Kansas went to a full-court press down five points with about 11 minutes to play and forced five turnovers the next 6 minutes to tie it
UCLA 77, Stephen F. Austin 60
Jordan Adams scored 19 points and UCLA beat Stephen F. Austin in San Diego to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
The fourth-seeded Bruins (27-8) will play Florida, the tournament’s overall top seed, in the South Regional semifinals on Thursday in Memphis. First-year coach Steve Alford has won as many NCAA Tournament games in three days as the Bruins had in the previous five seasons combined.
Alford replaced Ben Howland, who was fired a year ago after the Bruins lost to Minnesota in their NCAA Tournament opener. This is UCLA’s first trip to the regionals since Howland got the Bruins to their third straight Final Four in 2008.
Stephen F. Austin (32-2), the No. 12 seed, had its 29-game winning streak snapped. The Lumberjacks hadn’t lost in exactly four months. The Bruins have won five straight and seven of eight overall. UCLA’s Norman Powell, who played at San Diego’s Lincoln High, scored 16 points and Kyle Anderson had 15 points and eight rebounds.
WEST REGIONAL: Baylor 85, Creighton 55
Isaiah Austin and Brady Heslip each scored 17 points and Baylor shut down Creighton’s Doug McDermott with suffocating defense, ending the career of the one of the most prolific scorers in college history with a win in San Antonio.
Baylor’s size and speed overwhelmed the third-seeded Bluejays (27-8) and their national scoring leader, earning a third trip to the Sweet 16 since 2010.
McDermott, who averaged 27 points this season, finished with 15 but had just three in the first half as Baylor built a 20-point lead. McDermott ranks fifth on the NCAA career scoring list.
No. 6 seed Baylor (26-11) had five players score in double figures and shot 64 percent in one of the dominant performances of the NCAA Tournament.