Tiny Saint Peter’s took down basketball royalty on Thursday night, getting 27 points from Daryl Banks III in an 85-79 overtime victory over second-seeded Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Peacocks became the 10th No 15 seed to win a first-round game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 and handed Kentucky its first opening-round loss under coach John Calipari.
Saint Peter’s, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions, kept it close throughout and Banks’ two free throws with 1:45 left in overtime gave the Peacocks the lead for good. Doug Edert’s layup with 24 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. He also made the final two game-sealing free throws for the Peacocks and finished with 20 points.
Saint Peter’s (20-11) move on to face either Murray State or San Francisco in Saturday’s second round in the East Region.
Not bad for a private Jesuit school in Jersey City, New Jersey, that’s made half as many NCAA tournament appearances (four) as Kentucky has national titles (eight).
Oscar Tshiebwe had 30 points and 16 rebounds for Kentucky (26-8) but his pair of missed free throws early in overtime was costly, and the Wildcats lacked a reliable secondary scorer. TyTy Washington Jr was held to five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
The game featured 16 ties and 13 lead changes. Kentucky went ahead 68-62 on Sahvir Wheeler’s driving layup with 4:12 remaining. Saint Peter’s followed with seven unanswered points, capped by Edert’s go-ahead three-pointer with 1:25 remaining. Kellan Grady put Kentucky back ahead before Edert forced OT.
No 12 Richmond 67, No 5 Iowa 63
Jacob Gilyard scored 24 points to help 12th-seeded Richmond to a 67-63 upset victory against fifth-seeded Iowa on Thursday afternoon as the NCAA tournament tipped off in earnest.
Tyler Burton notched a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Spiders (24-12). Nathan Cayo added 15 points for Richmond, including a key layup that produced a three-point lead with 1:24 to go and a three-point play 50 seconds later.
The Spiders held on to stretch their winning streak to five and advanced to face fourth-seeded Providence in the second round on Saturday.
Inconsistency doomed the Big Ten tournament champion Hawkeyes (26-10). After using an 11-0 run to take a five-point lead with 16:24 remaining, Iowa slumped through a scoreless drought of 5:07 as the Spiders responded with an 11-0 run of their own.
Richmond, the Atlantic 10 tournament champions, led by as many as eight while shooting 42.%. Iowa shot 36.4% and was 6-for-29 (20.7%) from three-point range.
All-American Keegan Murray paced Iowa with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Patrick McCaffery chipped in 18 points, including four three-pointers.
Although Iowa held a 40-36 rebounding edge behind nine boards from Filip Rebraca, the Spiders outscored the Hawkeyes 38-30 in the paint.
Richmond took a 29-28 lead into halftime after capitalizing on the last in a series of early Iowa gaffes. Fouled on an errant three-point attempt with seven seconds left in the first half, Burton swished each of his free throws to put the Spiders ahead.
Iowa missed a trey and a jumper inside the arc just before the break, closing a first half that saw it struggle to 30.3% shooting, including 1-for-13 from deep.
No 12 New Mexico State 70, No 5 Connecticut 63
Teddy Allen scored 37 points and New Mexico State won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time almost three decades, upsetting fifth-seeded Connecticut 70-63 Thursday night to become the second No 12 seed to advance out of the first round.
The Aggies (27-6) will face the winner of the Arkansas-Vermont game on Saturday in the West Region. In their 23rd NCAA appearance, the Aggies won for the first time since beating Syracuse in the first round in 1993.
New Mexico State had not been back to Upstate New York since beating Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. In Buffalo, Allen and the Aggies made another memory.
Allen made a rainbow three off the dribble with 1:40 to put New Mexico State up 61-58.
He wasn’t done. After RJ Cole (20 points) cut the lead to one for UConn (23-10), Allen went back to work.
The 6ft 6in junior drove hard to the basket and scooped it home while drawing a foul. He popped off the floor and ran over to the sideline to flex for the Aggies’ fans before completing the three-point play for a 66-60 lead with 27 seconds left.
The Western Athletic Conference champions followed the tournament’s first 5-12 upset onto the floor at KeyBank Center. After Richmond eliminated Big Ten champion Iowa, New Mexico State asserted itself in the first half against UConn from the Big East.
No 11 Michigan 75, No 6 Colorado State 63
Freshman Frankie Collins provided the spark Michigan needed in a turbulent year for the Wolverines and coach Juwan Howard, helping the 11th-seeded Wolverines rally from a 15-point deficit to beat sixth-seeded Colorado State 75-63 on Thursday in the first round.
Collins, pressed into the starting lineup because starting point guard DeVante’ Jones was out with a concussion, had season highs of 14 points, six rebounds and 31 minutes. He came in averaging less than 10 minutes per game.
Big man Hunter Dickinson led Michigan with 21 points on eight-of-10 shooting. Eli Brooks had 16 points and Caleb Houstan added 13 for the Wolverines (18-14), who will face either third-seeded Tennessee in the second round of the South Region on Saturday.
The Wolverines, highly touted at the beginning of the season, squeaked into the tournament thanks largely to their stout schedule. Howard was suspended for five games down the stretch for hitting a Wisconsin assistant coach in the postgame handshake line, and Michigan hasn’t won two straight games in more than a month.
Dischon Thomas scored 15 points on five-of-seven three-point shooting for Colorado State (25-6), and Mountain West Conference player of the year David Roddy had 13 points and six rebounds.
But the Rams could not take advantage of the highest seed in school history, the momentum from nine wins in their previous 11 games or the big, early lead.
No 4 Providence 66, No 13 South Dakota State 57
Al Durham had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Jared Bynum made three big free throws with 29.9 seconds left as Providence snapped the longest winning streak in college basketball by beating South Dakota State 66-57.
The fourth-seeded Friars (26-5) advanced to face Iowa or Richmond in the Midwest Region on Saturday.
It was a typical grind for the Big East regular-season champions. The Friars’ turnaround season after going 13-13 in 2020-21 now includes 16 victories by single-digits.
The Jackrabbits (30-6) came in on a 21-game winning streak and were a popular pick to spring the tournament’s first upset.
The Friars were up by three in the final minute and Bynum let loose a three-pointer with three seconds left on the shot clock. The shot missed, but Douglas Wilson was whistled for a foul. Bynum released the ball before contact, but Wilson appeared to hit the shooter’s arm and bump him before he landed.
South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson put his head in his hands in frustration and then argued the call after watching it on the big screen.
No 9 Memphis 64, No 8 Boise State 53
DeAndre Williams had 14 points, Jalen Duren made a crucial basket down the stretch and No 9 seed Memphis held off a second-half rally by Boise State for a 64-53 victory Thursday in the opening round.
The Tigers (22-10), whose poor start to the season had coach Penny Hardaway dropping expletives in a news conference, are into the second round in the West Region and will play top-seeded Gonzaga or Georgia State on Saturday.
Duren finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who were 9-8 after 17 games but went on a late-season charge to reach the tournament for the first time since 2014. The Tigers have now won 13 of their last 15 games.
Abu Kigab had 20 points to lead the eighth-seeded Broncos (27-8), the Mountain West regular-season and tournament champs, who were making their first appearance in the tournament since 2015.
Boise State trailed by 19 at the half but, taking advantage of a cold snap by the Tigers, narrowed the gap to 42-35 with 9:45 left. The Tigers had scored just four second-half points before Williams’ dunk with 9:18 left got them going again.
No 1 Baylor 85, No 16 Norfolk State 49
Matthew Mayer scored a career-high 22 points that included a dunk and salute just before halftime, and defending national champion Baylor opened the NCAA tournament with an 85-49 victory over Norfolk State on Thursday.
Freshman standout Jeremy Sochan added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Bears (27-6), the top seed in the East Regional who had to travel less than 100 miles from their Waco campus for the first NCAA tournament games at Dickies Arena. They will play the North Carolina-Marquette winner in the second round Saturday.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player of the year Joe Bryant had 15 points for 16th-seeded Norfolk State (24-7), which was playing 10 years and a day after pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history. The Spartans were a No. 15 seed and 21 1/2-point underdog when they beat Missouri 86-84.
The Spartans were one of the biggest underdogs in first-round games this year. Despite some size up front, they couldn’t keep up with the Bears and never came close to an upset.
Flo Thamba scored 14 points and Adam Flagler had 11 points for the Bears after some early foul trouble. James Akinjo had 10 points and 10 assists.
No 3 Tennessee 88, No 14 Longwood 56
Santiago Vescovi scored 18 points and Tennessee pounded Longwood 88-56 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, showing exactly why it felt it deserved better than a No 3 seed.
The Volunteers (27-7) shot 60% from the field and had four players score in double figures. The runaway victory came just four days after the school won the Southeastern Conference tournament for its first conference tourney crown in 43 years.
Even after the SEC run, Tennessee was placed on the No 3 line in the South Region. Vescovi and company are well on their way to proving they should have received a higher spot.
Josiah-Jordan James added 17 points, and John Fulkerson scored 15 on 7-for-8 shooting. Kennedy Chandler had 13 and Zakai Ziegler finished with 10.
Next up for the Vols is 11th-seeded Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines beat sixth-seeded Colorado State 75-63 in Thursday’s first game in Indianapolis.
No 14 seed Longwood, the Big South champs from the tiny town of Farmville, Virginia, was led by Justin Hill with 13 points in the school’s first NCAA tourney appearance. DeShaun Wade had 10 as the Lancers’ eight-game winning streak ended. Longwood had won 18 of their previous 19.
No 1 Gonzaga 93, No 16 Georgia State 72
Drew Timme scored 22 of his 32 points in the second half and top overall seed Gonzaga struggled to shake No 16 seed Georgia State for 30 minutes before pulling away late for a 93-72 win in the first round.
The tournament’s No 1 team for the second straight season, the Zags (27-3) were sluggish early and couldn’t make a basket for a long stretch of the first half. Even when Gonzaga’s offense kicked into gear after halftime, the Panthers didn’t fold.
The eventual overwhelming surge from the Bulldogs finally arrived with about 10 minutes to go. Gonzaga went on a 24-1 run, turning a four-point game into the blowout that was expected. The Zags will face the West Region’s No 9 seed, Memphis, in the second round on Saturday.
Timme was the catalyst, topping 30 points for the fifth time in his career while also grabbing 13 rebounds. Chet Holmgren, the Zags’ 7ft freshman, added 19 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks.
Corey Allen led Georgia State (18-10) with 16 points, and Jalen Thomas and Kane Williams both added 12. The Panthers trailed by two at halftime despite shooting 29% and were down 62-58 with 10 1/2 minutes left. From there, they watched Gonzaga put together the kind spurt that’s made it the favorite to win its first national title.
No 8 North Carolina 95, No 9 Marquette 63
Brady Manek scored 28 points, Caleb Love had 21 of his 23 before halftime and North Carolina routed Marquette 95-63 in first-year coach Hubert Davis’ NCAA tournament debut.
Love made six three-pointers, all in the first 19 minutes, to tie Carolina’s single-game tournament record as the Tar Heels (25-9) built a 28-point lead.
Manek, who also had 11 rebounds, finished with five 3s as he and Love combined to go 11 of 24 from long range. Armando Bacot grabbed 10 rebounds on his way to the school season record (422).
RJ Davis had a career-high 12 assists for eighth-seeded Carolina, which will play defending champion Baylor less than 100 miles from the Bears’ Waco campus Saturday.
The win was in stark contrast to last year, when the Tar Heels sent Roy Williams into retirement with his only opening-round loss in 30 NCAA appearances.
Shaka Smart’s return to Texas was a dud a year after he took the Marquette job amid questions about his future as coach of the Texas Longhorns following a shocking first-round loss to Abilene Christian.
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