Rodney English led an East Tennessee State three-point barrage that helped the Buccaneers stun Arizona, 87-80, Friday night during the first round of the NCAA Southeast Regional.
East Tennessee State (24-6) won its ninth consecutive game and pulled off the tournament’s biggest upset by making 13 of 25 three-point shots. English made three of five three-point attempts and finished with 21 points.
“I don’t know if we could shoot them any better than we did tonight,” Buccaneer Coach Alan LeForce said.
East Tennessee State, which has won the last four Southern Conference titles, had lost its previous three first-round NCAA tournament games.
But this time, the Buccaneers came in with confidence. They were hoping to improve on last year’s preseason National Invitation Tournament, when they went to Arizona and stayed with the Wildcats before losing, 88-79.
The experience paid off, allowing East Tennessee State to send the Wildcats to their third consecutive defeat.
Arizona (24-7) was making its eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. It was their earliest exit since a first-round loss to Auburn in 1986.
Arizona helped East Tennessee State by missing layups, turning the ball over, failing to box out on rebounds and repeatedly allowing the Buccaneers to take uncontested three-point shots.
East Tennessee State led, 45-34, at halftime after making 11 of 19 three-point shots and only four of 15 shots from inside the arc.
“We just got ourselves in a huge hole in the first half that we couldn’t get out of,” Arizona Coach Lute Olson said. “With their quickness and three-point shooting ability, it was a problem.”
The Buccaneers pushed their advantage to 16 points twice during the second half. From there, they made 16 of 22 free throws in the last 5:18.
Wayne Womack scored 19 points for Arizona.
Tulane 61, St. John’s 57--David Whitmore, a former standout at Playa del Rey St. Bernard High, scored 15 points and had six rebounds for the Green Wave (22-8), which is making its first tournament appearance.
Pressured throughout the game, St. John’s (19-11) made only 36% of its shots and committed 16 turnovers.
St. John’s missed 15 of its last 16 shots during the first half as Tulane went on an 18-4 run that put the Green Wave ahead, 35-30, at halftime.
Tulane went ahead to stay at 40-39 on a three-point basket by Kim Lewis with 14:38 to play.
The Green Wave forced seven turnovers as it extended its lead to 55-48 on a layup by Pointer Williams with 4:39 to play.
St. John’s twice cut the margin to two points, the last time at 59-57 on Buchanan’s layup with 1:55 remaining.
But the Redmen failed to score on their next two possessions, giving Tulane the ball with less than a minute to play.
The Green Wave worked the clock before Anthony Reed made a 12-foot baseline jump shot with 17 seconds remaining.
Malik Sealy, who led St. John’s with 20 points, then missed two three-point shots and Mitchell Foster could not convert a tip-in. Tulane got the ball and ran out the clock.
Oklahoma State 100, Georgia Southern 73--Byron Houston scored 29 points and Sean Sutton had 22 for the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State (27-7) held a 47-43 lead early in the second half before it went on a 20-0 run to put the game out of reach with 10:45 to play.
Calvin Sinkfield scored 22 points for Georgia Southern (25-6), the Trans America Conference champion, which saw its seven-game winning streak end.
Michigan 73, Temple 66--Freshman Jalen Rose scored 19 points, including a tiebreaking three-point basket with 4:53 to play to lead the Wolverines over the Owls.
Rose, one of Michigan’s five freshman starters, took charge down the stretch, scoring 11 of the Wolverines’ final 18 points.
Michigan (21-8) blew a 14-point first-half lead and fell behind, 57-53, with 9:02 left on a three-point basket by Temple’s Vic Carstarphen, who made five three-point shots for the Owls (17-13) and finished with 17 points.
Temple fell behind, 32-18, with 6:09 to play in the first half and trailed, 42-33, at halftime. But a 12-0 run put Temple ahead, 57-53.
Rose made two 10-foot jump shots to tie the score, then made the three-point basket to give the Wolverines the lead for good at 62-59.
Rose added four free throws in the final 1:10.
Juwan Howard and Jimmy King added 15 points for the Wolverines. Chris Webber had 11 and Ray Jackson six.