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Sunday NCAA roundup: Cinderellas survive, top seeds avoid upsets

Published: Sunday, March 24 2013 10:10 p.m. MDT

Florida Gulf Coast's Dajuan Graf, from left, Eddie Murray and Brett Comer celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast won 81-71.  (Michael Perez, Associated Press) Florida Gulf Coast's Dajuan Graf, from left, Eddie Murray and Brett Comer celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast won 81-71. (Michael Perez, Associated Press)

Midwest Region

Duke tops Creighton 66-50

PHILADELPHIA — Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, Seth Curry scored had 17 and No. 2 seed Duke held off seventh-seeded Creighton 66-50 on Sunday to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.

A year after they lost their NCAA tournament opener, the Blue Devils (29-5) are back in the regional semifinal for the 23rd time. They'll play No. 3 seed Michigan State (27-8) in the regional semifinal Friday in Indianapolis.

Mason Plumlee, Josh Hariston and Ryan Kelly battled foul trouble all game long that could have doomeed the Blue Devils. Creighton (28-8) went cold and never made a serious run in the second half. Doug McDermott scored 21 points but made only four baskets.

Creighton's Avery Dingman, left, and Duke's Seth Curry wrestle for a loose ball during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia.  (Michael Perez, Associated Press) Creighton's Avery Dingman, left, and Duke's Seth Curry wrestle for a loose ball during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Michael Perez, Associated Press)

With McDermott slumping, the Bluejays were knocked out in the third round by an ACC team for the second straight season.

West Region

No. 2 Ohio State beats Iowa State 78-75 on late 3

DAYTON, Ohio — Aaron Craft dribbled in place at the top of the arc, watching to see if any of his Ohio State teammates were getting open near the basket for a game-winning shot.

Nothing there.

The point guard had a clear look at the clock as it raced toward zero atop the backboard. He realized what he had to do — take a little Ohio State tournament history into his hands.

Craft held the ball until he had no other choice, then swished a 3-pointer with a half-second left Sunday for a 78-75 victory over Iowa State, sending the Buckeyes to a school-record fourth straight trip to the round of 16.

Florida Gulf Coast players celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast won 81-71.  (Matt Slocum, Associated Press) Florida Gulf Coast players celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast won 81-71. (Matt Slocum, Associated Press)

No. 2 Ohio State had managed to escape as the lone high seed left in the NCAA tournament's most-busted bracket.

"The moment's a lot bigger than me," said Craft, who had allowed Iowa State to catch up with missed free throws and an errant jumper. "It just happened to be in my hands at the end."

Ohio State (28-7) needed Craft's fearless shot — over 6-foot-7 defender Georges Niang — to avoid yet another upset in the oh-so-wild West Regional. Four of the top five seeds fell fast and hard in the first weekend.

The Buckeyes' 10th straight win sent them to Los Angeles for a game on Thursday against sixth-seeded Arizona.

Garland's late shot leads La Salle to round of 16

Creighton's Grant Gibbs dunks the ball as Duke's Quinn Cook looks on during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia.  (Michael Perez, Associated Press) Creighton's Grant Gibbs dunks the ball as Duke's Quinn Cook looks on during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Michael Perez, Associated Press)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left and 13th-seeded La Salle beat Mississippi 76-74 on Sunday, vaulting the Explorers to their deepest run in the NCAA tournament since they played for the championship in 1955.

Ramon Galloway had 24 points for La Salle (24-9), which was playing its third game in five days. No. 12 Ole Miss (27-9) led 74-72 with 1:58 left but failed to reach the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.

After Tyreek Duren's two foul shots tied it 74-all at the 1:07 mark, Marshall Henderson failed to hit an off-balance bank shot that would have given Mississippi the lead.

South Region

No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast beats SDSU 81-71

PHILADELPHIA — Florida Gulf Coast became the first 15 to reach the Sweet 16, and the Eagles not only made it look easy, they made it look fun.

Indiana head coach Tom Crean thanks forward Christian Watford (2) after they defeated Temple 58-52 in a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio.  (Skip Peterson, Associated Press) Indiana head coach Tom Crean thanks forward Christian Watford (2) after they defeated Temple 58-52 in a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio. (Skip Peterson, Associated Press)

Little-known FGCU beat San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday night, its second NCAA tournament upset of the weekend. Just like in their opening win over second-seeded Georgetown — the Eagles' calling card to the nation — there were plenty of laughs, dunks and dances.

"We don't take ourselves too seriously," said Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield, whose players tossed him in the air and doused him with water in a raucous celebration before his postgame interviews. "We try to have fun, get serious when we have to.

"Our goal was to make history and we did it."

Kansas rallies in second half to topple North Carolina

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After 20 minutes on Sunday, the Kansas Jayhawks’ season was on the line. They had missed layups, and clanked three-pointers, and thrown passes that appeared destined for trombone players.

Former Kansas coach Roy Williams had returned to the Sprint Center, playing his former team for the third time in six years. And here he was, ready to play spoiler on a Sunday afternoon in Kansas City.

Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown, left, and Chase Fieler celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to reach the regional semifinals with their 81-71 victory over San Diego State.  (Michael Perez, Associated Press) Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown, left, and Chase Fieler celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to reach the regional semifinals with their 81-71 victory over San Diego State. (Michael Perez, Associated Press)

But Kansas senior Travis Releford had returned to his hometown to play for the final time. And he wasn’t about to let any of that happen.

Releford finished with 22 points and eight rebounds as the No. 1-seeded Jayhawks mounted a furious second-half comeback in a 70-58 victory, advancing to the Sweet 16 in Arlington, Texas.

Minnesota ousted by Florida

After allowing Minnesota — led by a hot Andre Hollins — to cut a 23-point first-half deficit to seven points midway through the second half, Florida (28-7) regrouped and shut down the hopeful Gophers, barring Minnesota from their first official Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1990.

The Gators sank five three-pointers in the first half and shot 65.2 percent from the field after making 10 of their first 13 attempts from the field. In the second half, Hollins’ strong play — he finished with a team-high 25 points — and Mbakwe’s aggressiveness pulled the Gophers close, but the momentum was quickly flipped once more with a 12-5 Gators run that had the Gophers down 16 at 75-59 with 1:58 to go.

Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon, right, tries to get a shot past Creighton's Austin Chatman during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia.  (Matt Slocum, Associated Press) Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon, right, tries to get a shot past Creighton's Austin Chatman during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum, Associated Press)

“We respected them, but obviously not enough,” forward Rodney Williams said. “We weren’t communicating on defense early, we were leaving guys wide open for threes. So whenever you’re wide open and you’re a good shooter, nine times out of ten, it’s going to go in.”

East Region

Indiana holds off Temple 58-52 to reach Sweet 16

Temple pushed Indiana's season to the brink before folding in the final minutes and losing 58-52 on Sunday to the top-seeded Hoosiers, who were lucky to advance in the East Regional.

Wyatt scored 31 points — 20 in the first half — but the Owls, who led 52-48 with less than three minutes left, were outscored 10-0 by Indiana down the stretch.

"It was fun while it lasted," Temple star guard Khalif Wyatt said.

Duke's Mason Plumlee, right, drives against Creighton's Gregory Echenique during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia.  (Matt Slocum, Associated Press) Duke's Mason Plumlee, right, drives against Creighton's Gregory Echenique during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum, Associated Press)

The Owls (24-10) nearly became the third Philadelphia school to knock off a No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament in Dayton Arena, which has hosted more tournament games that any venue. But minutes away from joining Saint Joseph's (1981) and Villanova (1985) as giant killers in Ohio, the Owls fell apart.

Miami moves to Sweet 16 with 63-59 win over Illini

AUSTIN, Texas — Shane Larkin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left and Miami kept possession on a ball knocked out of bounds that probably should have gone to Illinois, helping the Hurricanes hold on for a 63-59 victory Sunday night to advance to the NCAA round of 16.

After Larkin's first field goal in about 9 1/2 minutes, D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer. In the fight for the rebound, the ball appeared to ricochet off the hands of Miami's Kenny Kadji out of bounds. But the Hurricanes kept the ball, and Durand Scott made two free throws after that.

Creighton's Austin Chatman (1) shoots against Duke's Ryan Kelly, right, and Seth Curry during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia.  (Michael Perez, Associated Press) Creighton's Austin Chatman (1) shoots against Duke's Ryan Kelly, right, and Seth Curry during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Michael Perez, Associated Press)

Miami (29-6) is in the round of 16 for only the second time in school history. The Hurricanes play Marquette (25-8) in Washington D.C. on Thursday night.

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