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Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) and guard Korie Lucious (top) struggle with Ohio State guard Aaron Craft for a loose ball Sunday in Dayton, Ohio.
Indiana guard Victor Oladipo dunks against Temple on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio. Oladipo led Indiana to a 58-52 win with 16 points.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - Florida Gulf Coast went from shocking the college basketball world to downright impressing it. And the Eagles were smiling the whole time.
Playing loose and easy, little-known FCGU beat San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday to become the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously," said Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield, whose players tossed him in the air and poured water on him in raucous celebration before his postgame interviews. "We try to have fun, get serious when we have to.
"Our goal was to make history and we did it."
The next opponent for the upstart state school will be the main campus, third-seeded Florida, on Friday night in the South Regional semifinal in Dallas.
"We tried to scrimmage them early in the season in the preseason," Enfield said. "Now we get our shot,"
Bernard Thompson had 23 points and Sherwood Brown added 17 for FGCU, the 16-year-old school in just its second season being eligible for postseason play.
In its first-ever NCAA tournament game on Friday, the Atlantic Sun champion busted brackets everywhere with an upset win over No. 2 Georgetown, a game the Eagles took control of with a 21-2 run in the second half.
It went much the same way against San Diego State.
This time the run was 17-0 and Brown, who was saddled early in the second half with foul trouble, had eight of the first 10 points of it. When it was over the Eagles led 71-52 with 4:19 to play and the only decisions left were how the players and fans were going to celebrate.
Brown stuck out his tongue after every big basket, often in the direction of the hundreds of Eagles fans jammed into one section.
Even when the game was tight, he and his teammates looked they were glad to be on the court. The Eagles waved their arms and played along with a lively crowd that came to see an upset. There were big smiles and high-fives.
In short, they showed a kind of joy that's often missing from high stakes, high drama games in March.
The notoriously tough Philly fans loved them back. One seated behind the FCGU bench held a sign - "Fly, Eagles, Fly!" - the motto of the NFL team that plays across the street.
And after it was all over, the whole team joined in a bird dance that the players on the bench had been doing during the game.
"I know I can say for all the players, this was the biggest game for us. None of us have played on this stage," point guard Brett Comer said. "We are blessed to be here."
No. 1 Indiana 58, No. 9 Temple 52
DAYTON, Ohio - On the verge of being the second No. 1 knocked from the NCAA tournament, Indiana finally stopped Temple's No. 1.
Victor Oladipo hit a key 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, their season moments from ending in disappointment, shut down Owls star Khalif Wyatt in the final three minutes to hold off Temple on Sunday in the East Regional.
The Hoosiers (29-6) trailed by four with 2:56 left, but closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year.
Indiana will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.
Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who gave one of the Big Ten's big boys all they could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.
"Temple, like I said to our players in the huddle, they're as tough a team physically and mentally as we faced all year, and we faced the best all year in the Big Ten," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "They take a backseat to nobody. This was a hard-earned victory that can only make us better."
Oladipo, who spent the afternoon doing all he could to slow down Wyatt, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers.
No. 3 Florida 78, No. 11 Minnesota 64
AUSTIN, Texas - Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the NCAA tournament round of 16 for third consecutive year with a win Sunday in the South Regional.
The No. 3 seed Gators (28-7) shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 by halftime. The win earns Florida a return trip to the Lone Star State to play Florida Gulf Coast at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the No. 11-seed Gophers (21-13). Hollins' 3-point shooting sparked a second-half rally that pulled Minnesota within seven points, but Rosario's sixth 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pushed the Gators' lead back to 16 and effectively locked up the win.
No. 2 Ohio State 78, No. 10 Iowa State 75
DAYTON, Ohio - Aaron Craft hit a 3-pointer with a half-second left, and Ohio State escaped Dayton - a place of heartaches - as the lone high seed left in the NCAA tournament's wild West Regional, beating Iowa State 78-75 on Sunday.
No. 2 Ohio State (28-7) needed Craft's only 3-pointer of the game - an arching shot over 6-foot-7 defender Georges Niang from the top of the key - to avoid yet another upset in the West. Four of the top five seeds have fallen fast and hard in that most-busted bracket.
The Buckeyes' 10th straight win sends them into the round of 16 for the fourth straight year, a school record. They'll play sixth-seeded Arizona on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Tenth-seeded Iowa State (23-12) overcame a late 13-point deficit by hitting 3s - the Cyclones' specialty - but wound up beaten by Craft's lone basket from behind the arc.
No. 13 La Salle 76, No. 12 Mississippi 74
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left and 13th-seeded La Salle beat Mississippi, vaulting the Explorers to their deepest run in the NCAA tournament since they played for the championship in 1955.
Ramon Galloway had 24 points for La Salle (24-9), which was playing its third game in five days. No. 12 Ole Miss (27-9) led 74-72 with 1:58 left but failed to reach the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.
After Tyreek Duren's two foul shots tied it 74-all at the 1:07 mark, Marshall Henderson failed to hit an off-balance bank shot that would have given Mississippi the lead.
Henderson had 21 points in game with 11 lead changes.
Duren had 19 points for La Salle and Garland had 17.
Murphy Holloway had 14 points for Mississippi, which fell one win shy of breaking the school record .
UCLA fires Howland
LOS ANGELES - UCLA fired Ben Howland on Sunday night after 10 seasons as Bruins coach that included three Final Four appearances, but culminated with another early-round exit from the NCAA tournament.
Athletic director Dan Guerrero told Howland earlier in the day that he was out.
Howland had a 233-107 record in Westwood, including three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006-08 and four Pac-12 championships, including this season. The Bruins' season ended last Friday with an 83-63 loss to Minnesota in the NCAA tournament.
"I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach at UCLA for 10 years," he said in a statement through the university. "The UCLA community and fans have been unbelievable to my family and I, and it's been an honor and privilege to represent this great institution. I look forward to what comes next."
Howland had two years left on his contract that included a $2.3 million buyout.
This season opened with star recruits Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson under investigation by the NCAA.
Muhammad missed the first three games and had to repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits after the NCAA and UCLA found that he had accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.
Anderson was cleared after being investigated for potential recruiting violations.
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