Miller’s Shot Does It for No. 12 Butler, 47-46
This time, Butler did more than just take a Southeastern Conference team down to the wire.
Brandon Miller made a runner in the lane with 6.2 seconds left to lift the 12th-seeded Bulldogs (26-5) to a 47-46 upset of No. 5 Mississippi State on Friday night in the first round of the East Regional at Birmingham, Ala.
Michael Ignerski missed a fadeaway jumper with 25 seconds left for Mississippi State (21-10). Miller then brought the ball up the court and made the running shot in traffic. Timmy Bowers was short on a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Miller had 14 points and Duane Lightfoot added 13 for Butler (26-5) -- which lost in overtime to Florida in the 2000 tournament. Mario Austin had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Mississippi State.
Louisville 86, Austin Peay 64 -- Rick Pitino returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997 and did so in style, guiding the fourth-seeded Cardinals (25-6) to an easy victory over the 13th-seeded Governors (23-8) at Birmingham, Ala.
Ahead, 20-19, the Cardinals put on the press and the results were immediate -- they stole the ball three times and converted each turnover into a basket during a 10-0 run.
Louisville plays Butler in the second round Sunday.
Wake Forest 76, East Tennessee State 73 -- Point guard Tim Smith and the East Tennessee State Buccaneers nearly struck a big blow for the little guys in the NCAA tournament. In the end, they came up short, losing to Josh Howard and the bigger, stronger Demon Deacons at Tampa, Fla.
Howard made two key free throws and finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds to help second-seeded Wake Forest overcome Smith and 15th-seeded East Tennessee State.
Wake Forest (25-5) will play Auburn in the second round Sunday.
The Buccaneers (20-11), who lost in their first tournament appearance in 11 years, failed to become only the fifth No. 15 seed to pull a first-round upset since the field was expanded in 1985.
Smith, a 5-9 freshman, made a three-point basket and two free throws to cut a 72-64 deficit to three with 47 seconds left. He then made a three-pointer to tie the game.
After Howard made two free throws with 21 seconds left, Zakee Wadood had a chance to tie it.
But Wake Forest called timeout to ice him, and he missed the second of two free throws.
Justin Gray made one of two free throws for a 75-73 lead with 10.9 seconds left. Smith then dribbled to the left corner and took a three-point shot for the win, but he missed.
Auburn 65, Saint Joseph’s 63 -- Marquis Daniels scored five of his 25 points in overtime and the 10th-seeded Tigers (21-11) withstood a great second half by Jameer Nelson to upset the seventh-seeded Hawks (23-7).
Nelson, who made nine of 18 shots and seven of eight free throws, finished with 32 points and nine rebounds. He scored 13 of the Hawks’ final 15 points in regulation, including two free throws with a half-second left to tie it at 57-57.
The junior guard also did all of the Hawks’ scoring in overtime, including two three-point baskets that helped them take a 63-59 lead, but they couldn’t finish the job.
Oklahoma State 77, Pennsylvania 63 -- Victor Williams scored 29 points and the Cowboys made enough free throws down the stretch at Boston to win for only the second time in six games.
The sixth-seeded Cowboys (22-9) missed four consecutive free throws late in the second half before making five in a row to pull away from the 11th-seeded Quakers (22-6).
Oklahoma State will play Sunday against Syracuse.
Ugonna Onyekwe matched a career high with 30 points for Penn, which had won its previous 15 games. The Quakers were within four points with 2:58 left but gave up the last 10 points of the game.
Syracuse 76, Manhattan 65 -- Freshman Carmelo Anthony waited until the second half at Boston to show why he’s one of the nation’s top players.
He scored 10 of his 17 points after the break, leading the third-seeded Orangemen (25-5) past the 14th-seeded Jaspers (23-7).