Tournament roundup: Gators back in Sweet 16

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin dribbles around Pittsburgh guard James Robinson  during the second half. Wilbekin scored 21 points.  (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin dribbles around Pittsburgh guard James Robinson during the second half. Wilbekin scored 21 points. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – Scottie Wilbekin scored 21 points and top-seeded Florida beat Pittsburgh 61-45 in the NCAA tournament Saturday, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year.

Patric Young added seven points and eight rebounds for the Gators, who extended their school record for consecutive wins to 28 with the victory in the South Regional.

Coming off a lackluster performance in its NCAA opener, Florida (34-2) played with considerably more energy and intensity against the Panthers (26-10).

Wilbekin and Young spearheaded the effort. The Gators were 5 of 20 from behind the arc, with at least five of those rimming in and out.

Florida advanced to the round of 16, where it will play fourth-seeded UCLA or 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin on Thursday in Memphis, Tenn. The Bruins and Lumberjacks play Sunday in San Diego.

Talib Zanna led the Panthers with 10 points, their only player in double figures.

Dayton 55, Syracuse 53: In Buffalo, N.Y., Dyshawn Pierre scored 14 points and Jordan Sibert, held scoreless in the first half, hit a key 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds left as Dayton stunned Syracuse to earn a spot in the Sweet 16 for the first time in three decades.

Syracuse was in position to pull it out, but freshman Tyler Ennis missed two jumpers that would have given the Orange the lead in the final seconds.

Dayton (25-10), the 11th seed in the South, advanced to the regional semifinals next week against No. 2 seed Kansas or 10th-seeded Stanford.

The third-seeded Orange (28-6), who finished second in their first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, struggled all game against the swarming Dayton defense. They missed all 10 attempts from 3-point range, while the Flyers hit seven times from beyond the arc.

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EAST REGIONAL

Michigan State 80, Harvard 73: In Spokane, Wash., Branden Dawson scored a career-high 26 points to help fourth-seeded Michigan State fend off a wild Harvard rally.

The 12th-seeded Crimson (27-5) trailed by 16 early in the second half but took a 62-60 lead when Laurent Rivard hit a 3-pointer with 7:12 remaining. Travis Trice answered with a 3 of his own on the next possession, and the Spartans (28-8) never trailed again.

Michigan State made it to the Sweet 16 for the 12th time in 17 years. Gary Harris had 18 points and five assists for the Spartans, who will play top-seeded Virginia or No. 8 seed Memphis next Friday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Connecticut 77, Villanova 65: In Buffalo, Shabazz Napier scored 25 points in leading Connecticut over second-seeded Villanova, which became the highest seed to get knocked out of the tournament so far.

No. 7 seed Connecticut (28-8) advanced to the regional semifinals in New York City next week, when they’ll play the winner of Sunday’s game between third-seeded Iowa State and sixth-seeded North Carolina.

Ryan Arcidiacono scored 18 points for Villanova (29-5) in a matchup of two former Big East rivals.

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MIDWEST REGIONAL

Louisville 66, Saint Louis 51: Luke Hancock scored 21 points and defending national champion Louisville shrugged off a cold shooting performance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year.

The fourth-seeded Cardinals (31-5) shot under 45 percent, had 19 turnovers and only got 11 points from star Russ Smith. It didn’t matter, with the fifth-seeded Billikens (27-7) going 0 for 15 from 3-point range and struggling to take care of the ball.

Louisville moved on to face No. 1 seed Wichita State or No. 8 seed Kentucky. The unbeaten Shockers and Wildcats meet Sunday in St. Louis.

Michigan 79, Texas 65: In Milwaukee, Nik Stauskas had 17 points and eight assists to lead Michigan to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Jordan Morgan added 15 points and 10 rebounds as No. 2 seed Michigan (27-8) advanced to the regional semifinals in Indianapolis. The Wolverines will face the winner of Sunday’s Mercer-Tennessee game in Raleigh, N.C.

Michigan lost to Louisville in the national championship game a year ago.

Isiah Taylor scored 22 points for Texas on 8-for-22 shooting. The seventh-seeded Longhorns (24-11) outrebounded the Wolverines 41-30, but got off to a slow start and never recovered.

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WEST REGIONAL

Wisconsin 85, Oregon 77: In Milwaukee, Ben Brust hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:07 left and second-seeded Wisconsin overcame seventh-seeded Oregon to reach the Sweet 16.

Brust’s clutch 3 from the corner gave the Badgers (28-7) the lead for good in a heavyweight fight of an NCAA tournament game. They will play third-seeded Creighton or No. 6 seed Baylor in the regional semifinals.

Traevon Jackson followed with three free throws, but missed one with 21 seconds left to give the Ducks (24-10) one more chance to tie trailing by three.

San Diego State 63, North Dakota State 44: In Spokane, Xavier Thames scored 30 points and San Diego State reached the round of 16 for the second time in school history.

The fourth-seeded Aztecs (31-4) now get to make the short drive up the highway to Anaheim, Calif., where they will face No. 1 seed Arizona or eighth-seeded Gonzaga in the West Regional semifinals.

Thames, who was 9 of 19 from the field, had five assists and ended the comeback hopes of the Bison with a six-point spurt late in the second half.

Kory Brown led the 12th-seeded Bison (26-7) with 13 points.