Arizona's freshman combination of Lauri Markkanen and Rawle Alkins didn't act their age Thursday night in their NCAA tournament debut. The pair combined for 40 points as the Wildcats began what's expected to be a deep postseason run.
Markkanen scored 20 points as second-seeded Arizona cruised to a 100-82 victory over No. 15 North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA tournament's West Regional. It was just the third time Arizona has scored 100-plus points in its NCAA tournament history.
“I'm so proud of these two guys,” Arizona Coach Sean Miller said. “I've answered a lot of questions on how we've weathered a lot of the obstacles and adversity that we dealt with this season. A lot of times I answered by, we have three freshmen that are excellent players, but bring no drama to the table and they do their job and are consistent.
Florida State made the most of its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012, beating a Sunshine State opponent.
The third-seeded Seminoles held off No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, 86-80, in a West Region game Thursday night despite some sloppy play that allowed a late double-digit lead to disappear. The Seminoles made clutch free throws and came up with enough stops in the waning moments to spoil the Eagles' upset bid.
“There is some satisfaction because we won,” said Dwayne Bacon, who led the Seminoles with 25 points. “All that other stuff, how the game looked, that doesn't matter when you win.”