NCAA tournament, Midwest Regional: Kentucky beats Wofford; Auburn blows past Kansas
Kentucky ended Wofford’s season in the NCAA Tournament with a stifling defensive effort on Fletcher Magee, carrying the Wildcats to the regional semifinals with a 62-56 victory Saturday.
Reid Travis scored 14 points, including two huge free throws with 17.8 seconds left to help seal the victory for second-seeded Kentucky (29-6). The graduate student, a transfer from Stanford and one of the one of the few experienced players among coach John Calipari’s latest group of fabulous freshmen, also grabbed 11 rebounds to help hold off the upstart Terriers.
Wofford (30-5) certainly had its chances, holding the Wildcats to 40 percent shooting (21 of 52) and holding their own on the boards.
But Magee simply couldn’t make a shot in his final college game. Two days after setting the NCAA Division I record for career 3-pointers, he stunningly went 0 of 12 beyond the arc. After the final attempt ricocheted wildly off the rim, skipping out of bounds in front of a stunned Wofford section, Magee rubbed his head in seeming disbelief.
It was only the second time all season that Magee failed to make at least one shot from long range, following an 0-for-9 performance in a loss in Kansas in early December. He made seven 3s on Thursday in Wofford’s victory over Seton Hall — the first NCAA Tournament win in school history.
No. 5 Auburn 89, No. 4 Kansas 75: Bruce Pearl’s Auburn rebuilding project took a massive leap.
The Tigers are headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 16 years.
Bryce Brown scored 25 points and hit seven 3-pointers, leading Auburn to an 89-75 takedown of mighty Kanas Saturday night in the Midwest Region.
The Tigers (28-9) were a surprise last season, earning a share of their first SEC title since 1999 and winning an NCAA Tournament game.
Auburn took another major step Saturday, running past a blue-blood program into the school’s first Sweet 16 since 2003 under Cliff Ellis.
Unlike their opener against New Mexico State, when they had to survive a couple of late-game blunders, the fifth-seeded Tigers pounced on the undermanned Jayhawks and never let them up.
Auburn had a 17-point lead before the midpoint of the first half and kept pouring in shots, hitting 13 3-pointers while shooting 53 percent against one of the college basketball’s premier programs.
Next up: top-seeded North Carolina or No. 9 Washington in Kansas City.
The Jayhawks (26-10) hoped they would get the ticket to KC, where they would essentially play Sweet 16 home games as the No. 4 seed.
SUNDAY’S MEN’S SCHEDULE
All times Pacific, with TV (*approximate time; game will start 30 minutes after the completion of the previous one):
at Columbus, Ohio
1 North Carolina (28-6) vs. 9 Washington (27-8), Channel 2*, 11:30 a.m.
at Tulsa, Okla.
3 Houston (32-3) vs. 11 Ohio State (20-14), TNT*, 5:30 p.m.
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