March Madness: Top seeds Gonzaga, Arizona fall; Villanova, Duke survive

Arkansas forward Trey Wade celebrates with forward Jaylin Williams and forward Kamani Johnson.
Arkansas forward Trey Wade celebrates with forward Jaylin Williams, middle, and forward Kamani Johnson (20) during the second half against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in San Francisco on Thursday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

JD Notae scored 21 points despite missing 20 shots and fourth-seeded Arkansas made Gonzaga miserable on both ends of the floor, bouncing the top overall seed from the NCAA tournament with a 74-68 win on Thursday night.

Notae finished with six rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots for coach Eric Musselman’s scrappy, hustling Razorbacks (28-8), who reached the Elite Eight for the second straight year and will face either Duke or Texas Tech in the West Region final Saturday.

Drew Timme scored 25 points but couldn’t rally the Bulldogs (28-4), who for the second straight season were favored to win that elusive national title but were eliminated by a more physical foe. Coach Mark Few’s squad was undefeated last season before falling to Baylor in the national title game.


Arkansas continually challenged 7-foot Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren in the paint, and the skinny NBA prospect fouled out with 3:29 remaining after some questionable calls went against him. Holmgren finished with 11 points, all in the second half, and 14 rebounds in what might be his final college game.

Moments after Au’Diese Toney dunked with one second left, Notae threw the game ball into the air in triumph as teammate Jaylin Williams flexed and roared near midcourt. Musselman, meanwhile, found his mother Kris in the stands for an embrace as she watched him in person coaching the Razorbacks for the first time.

Notae shot nine of 29 overall and two of 12 from three-point range but was still the catalyst for the Razorbacks. The senior guard’s three with 6:38 left made it 59-50, and Arkansas held on from there.


Villanova 63, Michigan 55

SAN ANTONIO — Jermaine Samuels scored 22 points and Villanova controlled Michigan and center Hunter Dickinson to earn a 63-55 Sweet 16 victory over the Wolverines on Thursday night in the NCAA tournament.


Samuels’ eight-of-13 shooting performance, much of it coming on tough drives through Michigan defenders and around Dickinson, carried a Wildcats offense that had long stretches of misfiring on three-pointers.

The second-seeded Wildcats (28-7) advance to the South Region final to play the winner of Thursday night’s matchup between top seed Arizona (33-3) and No. 5 Houston (31-5).

Villanova twice led by nine in the second half only to see the Wolverines match their three-point shooting in spurts and make it a contest. Guard Eli Brooks kept rescuing Michigan with three-pointers, making three of five. One of Brooks’ treys, plus two free throws from Terrance Williams II, had the Wolverines within 54-50 with just over three minutes left.

But after Dickinson, who led the Wolverines with 15 points and 15 rebounds, missed near the basket, Samuels blew by him on the other end for a layup. Collin Gillespie followed it with a three-pointer — his fourth of the game— from the left wing to make it 59-50 with 1:52 to play.

That was the cushion the Wildcats needed, as Michigan closed to within six points before Samuels made four three throws over the final 13 seconds to put it away.


Defensively, Villanova refused to yield space under the basket to the 7-foot-1 Dickinson, who came in averaging 24 points in Michigan’s two NCAA tournament wins.

Justin Moore scored 15 points and Gillespie scored 12 for Villanova.


Duke 78, Texas Tech 73

SAN FRANCISCO — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski moved to within one win of his record-setting 13th trip to the Final Four in his farewell season thanks to two late baskets by Jeremy Roach that helped seal the Blue Devils’ 78-73 win over Texas Tech on Thursday night.

Roach’s two shots were part of a 7-0 run as the steady sophomore came through in the clutch for a second straight game to send second-seeded Duke (31-6) into an Elite Eight matchup against fourth-seeded Arkansas.

Paolo Banchero led Duke with 22 points, Mark Williams scored 16 and Roach had 15 as the Blue Devils held off third-seeded Texas Tech (27-10) and gave Coach K his record 100th NCAA tournament victory.

As compelling as the action on the court was in this taut West Region semifinal, the story of this Blue Devils run has surrounded the farewell tour of their Hall of Fame coach.


Krzyzewski announced last June he would retire after this season. After missing the tournament last year, Duke was back with a roster filled with NBA prospects and capable of delivering Krzyzewski his sixth career title.

Duke played from behind for much of the first half but was much sharper offensively in the second half. Williams got free for three easy baskets early in the half to get the Blue Devils rolling.

Then the vocal Duke contingent on hand for the first NCAA tournament games in San Francisco since 1939 made its presence known midway through the half when A.J. Griffin tied the score at 47 with his third three-pointer of the game and Banchero followed with a jumper that gave Duke the lead.

But a Red Raiders team featuring four super seniors and five players with more than 120 career games didn’t go away and the game stayed tight.

Kevin McCullar and Banchero traded threes with Banchero’s long-range shot putting Duke up 69-68 with less than three minutes to play.


The Blue Devils then pulled away thanks to pair of clutch jumpers by Roach. Bryson Williams had a shot blocked by Mark Williams, committed a turnover and shot an airball.

Griffin’s two free throws with 12.9 seconds to play gave Duke a 77-73 lead. Adonis Arms then missed a three-pointer and Krzyzewski gave an emphatic fist pump after his record 100th NCAA tournament win.

Bryson Williams scored 21 points to lead Texas Tech and McCullar had 17. Kevin Obanor had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double in six career tournament games.


Houston 72, Arizona 60

SAN ANTONIO — Jamal Shead scored a career-high 21 points and Houston led throughout in a 72-60 victory over top-seeded Arizona on Thursday night, moving the Cougars within one win of a second straight Final Four.

With Taze Moore getting into early foul trouble after his three-pointer for a 5-0 lead in the first two minutes, Shead and Kyler Edwards were both on the court nearly the entire game for the Cougars (32-5). Edwards, the Texas Tech transfer who played in the 2019 national championship game for the Red Raiders, had 19 points with five three-pointers.


After quick consecutive layups by Dalen Terry pulled Arizona to within 64-58 with just over two minutes left, Edwards settled things for Houston with a three from the right wing.

Houston plays second-seeded Villanova (28-7) in the South Region final on Saturday in San Antonio, which is about 200 miles from the Houston campus.

Terry had 17 points for the Wildcats (33-4), while Pac-12 player of the year Bennedict Mathurin had 15 and Christian Koloko 10.

The American Athletic Conference champion Cougars became the second former Southwest Conference team to knock a No. 1 seed out of this NCAA tournament in a matter of hours. Top overall seed Gonzaga lost 74-68 to Arkansas, which went to the SEC in 1991, five years before the SWC’s final season.

These Cougars are much different than the ones coach Kelvin Sampson took the the Final Four last year — their first since going three times in a row during the Phi Slama Jama era in 1982-84.


Houston lost four starters from last season and then lost Marcus Sasser, the lone returner and leading scorer who broke his left foot before Christmas. Sophomore guard Tramon Mark also had a season-ending shoulder injury.

Arizona had one of the least-experienced teams in Division I this season; according to, the Wildcats average 0.63 years of experienced, ranked 355th out of 358 teams. But they won 33 games, and two of their losses were on the road during the regular season against top-20 teams.

Those 33 wins left Tommy Lloyd one win shy of the most in NCAA history for a first-year coach. He took over the Wildcats after 21 seasons as an assistant coach for Mark Few at Gonzaga.