Southern Methodist took a commanding double-digit lead about 12 minutes into USC’s NCAA tournament first round on Friday. For the Trojans, the game could unofficially begin.
USC’s slow starts and furious rallies have become a trademark. Friday was no different. SMU had hardly had an empty possession. The Mustangs were scoring 1.5 points per possession. In other words, USC would’ve been better off fouling each time SMU touched the ball.
Once again, USC tightened up. At halftime, USC had eaten into the deficit slightly, 38-30.
Arkansas did just enough in the final minute to push its way through the NCAA tournament's first round — aided by a couple of eye-catching calls and noncalls by the officiating crew, too.
Jaylen Barford hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left to help Arkansas hold off Seton Hall, 77-71, on Friday in the first round of the South Region.
Barford had 12 of his 20 points after halftime for the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-9), who erased an eight-point second-half hole and scored the final seven points of the game to earn the program's third straight opening-game NCAA win.
After two years of surprise early NCAA Tournament exits, Baylor finally broke through.
Al Freeman came off the bench to score 21 points, and the third-seeded Bears defeated No. 14 seed New Mexico State, 91-73, on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament's East Regional.
Reserve forward Terry Maston scored 19 points, Jo Lual-Acuil scored 16 and Johnathan Motley added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor (26-7), which suffered upset losses to Georgia State and Yale in the first round the previous two years. The Bears advanced to play USC on Sunday.
He kept running the Michigan Wolverines offense against an aggressive Oklahoma State defense and eventually things fell into place. Again.
Walton scored 26 points and had 11 assists as the Wolverines made a school record 16 three-pointers in an NCAA tournament game, getting past Oklahoma State, 92-91, in the first round of the Midwest Regional.