Texas A&M routs second-seeded North Carolina, 86-65

Texas A&M played championship-level basketball Sunday in routing the second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels 86-65 in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.

In a game played in Tar Heels country at Charlotte, the seventh-seeded Aggies bolted to a 14-point lead at intermission and boosted it to 24 with 13 minutes left.

A&M cruised the rest of the way, ousting the defending NCAA champions from the tournament behind the likes of TJ Starks, Tyler Davis, DJ Hogg and Robert Williams III.

As a result, A&M (22-12) of the Southeastern Conference will advance to take on third-seeded Big Ten power Michigan (30-7) in the Round of 16 on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Individual leaders

Aggies — Starks (21 points), Davis (18 points, 9 rebounds), Hogg (14 points, 8 rebounds), Admon Gilder (12 points), Williams (8 points, 13 rebounds).

Tar Heels — Joel Berry (21 points), Luke Maye (13 points, 11 rebounds)

Quotable
(From Texas A&M’s athletics website)

“Great win, great team win. I thought we got a performance from everybody. I thought once we slowed them up in transition and our zone gave them some problems.” — A&M head coach Billy Kennedy

A&M forward Tyler Davis — “We just stuck to our game plan and played to our strengths. We know we have the advantage on the inside against most teams. So we just did what we do every day — go to war on the inside and eat glass.”

Two from Texas in Sweet 16

Over the past 48 hours, two teams from the state of Texas have advanced to the Sweet 16. Texas Tech will play Purdue in Boston on Friday. The Red Raiders of the Big 12 edged the Florida Gators 69-66 on Saturday in Dallas.

Round of 32 at a glance

Weekend scores
x-Saturday’s games
y-Sunday’s games

South

y-(9) Kansas State beat (16) UMBC, 50-43
x-(5) Kentucky beat (13) Buffalo, 95-75

x-(11) Loyola-Chicago beat (3) Tennessee, 63-62
y-(7) Nevada beat (2) Cincinnati, 75-73

West

(1) Xavier vs. (9) Florida State, Sunday, 7:45 p.m., TNT
x-(4) Gonzaga beat (5) Ohio State, 90-84

x-(3) Michigan beat (6) Houston, 64-63
y-(7) Texas A&M beat (2) North Carolina, 86-65

East

x-(1) Villanova beat (9) Alabama, 81-58
(5) West Virginia vs. (13) Marshall, Sunday, 8:40 p.m., TBS

x-(3) Texas Tech beat (6) Florida, 69-66
y-(2) Purdue beat (10) Butler, 76-73

Midwest

x-(1) Kansas beat (8) Seton Hall, 83-79
y-(5) Clemson beat (4) Auburn, 84-53

y-(11) Syracuse beat (3) Michigan State, 55-53
x-(2) Duke beat (7) Rhode Island, 87-62

Kansas State stops UMBC

The ninth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats forged a 50-43 victory over the history-making, No. 16 UMBC Retrievers in a Round of 32 game at Charlotte Sunday night.

Barry Brown scored 18 for Sweet 16-bound Kansas State. K-State will take on Kentucky in the South regional semifinals Thursday in Atlanta.

UMBC’s season is over, but it won’t soon be forgotten.

The Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to advance to the second round after they walloped top-seeded Virginia 74-54 Friday night.

Against Kansas State, UMBC couldn’t sustain anything on offense, shooting only 29 percent. Jairus Lyles led Retrievers with 12 points.

Nevada races past Cincinnati

The seventh-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack erased a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes Sunday to stun No. 2 Cincinnati, 75-73, at Nashville.

Cincinnati led 65-43 with 10:48 remaining before Nevada mounted its second comeback in three days.

The Wolf Pack trailed by 14 early in the second half Friday before rallying past the Texas Longhorns, 87-83, in overtime.

Asked what the two comebacks say about his team, Nevada coach Eric Musselman said, “Just a lot of heart, a lot of determination and no quit.”

Syracuse upsets Michigan State

Eleventh-seeded Syracuse held No. 3 Michigan State without a field goal in the final 5:43 Sunday to register a stunning 55-53 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the game played at Detroit, the Syracuse zone defense completely flustered the Spartans and lifted the Orange into the Sweet 16.

Syracuse’s NCAA opponents: field goal shooting
Arizona State — 21 of 52
TCU — 19 of 48
Michigan State — 17 of 66

Clemson rips Auburn

Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and fifth-seeded Clemson romped past No. 4 Auburn 84-53 at San Diego in the West region. Clemson held Auburn to 25.8 percent shooting in the rout.

Purdue downs Butler

Second-seeded Purdue beat No. 10 Butler 76-73 Sunday at Detroit in an East Region second-round game, setting up a Sweet 16 matchup Friday in Boston against Texas Tech.

Senior forward Vincent Edwards led the Boilermakers with 20 points and added a key blocked shot in the final minute.

History: 16th-seeded UMBC ousts No. 1 Virginia

Maryland-Baltimore County recorded perhaps the greatest upset in college basketball history Friday night, knocking off Virginia 74-54 in a Round-of-64, South Region game at the NCAA Tournament.

Registering the victory at Charlotte, North Carolina, UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to oust a No. 1.

The Retrievers, who are led by second-year head coach Ryan Odom, pulled off the shocker in style at Spectrum Center.

They outscored the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament 53-33 in the second half, running away from the defense-minded champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Coming in, Virginia had held opponents to an average of 53.4 points a game.

Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points to lead the Retreivers, who raced off the floor with raised fingers pointing toward the sky, according to the Associated Press.

“These are the moments that you dream of,” Lyles said.

UMBC advanced to play in the Round of 32 on Sunday against ninth-seeded Kansas State of the Big 12 conference.

Earlier in the day, Kansas State beat Creighton, 69-59, a game that was also held in Charlotte.

Meanwhile, two other tournament heavyweights survived scares.

Third-seeded Michigan State, buoyed by Miles Bridges’ 29 points and 9 rebounds, held off Bucknell 82-78 in the West Region at Detroit.

Also, Mustapha Heron scored 16 as No. 4 Auburn beat the College of Charleston 62-58 in the Midwest at San Diego.

Here’s a recap of the R-64 results, including scores of games played on Thursday.

NCAA Round of 64

South

* (16) UMBC beat (1) Virginia, 74-54
* (9) Kansas State beat (8) Creighton, 69-59
* (5) Kentucky beat (12) Davidson, 78-73
* (13) Buffalo beat (4) Arizona, 89-68
* (11) Loyola-Chicago beat (6) Miami, Fla., 64-62
* (3) Tennessee beat (14) Wright State, 73-47
* (7) Nevada beat (10) Texas, 87-83, overtime
* (2) Cincinnati beat (15) Georgia State, 68-53

West

* (1) Xavier beat (16) Texas Southern, 102-83
* (9) Florida State beat (8) Missouri, 67-54
* (5) Ohio State beat (12) South Dakota State, 81-73
* (4) Gonzaga beat (13) UNC-Greensboro, 68-64
* (6) Houston beat (11) San Diego State, 67-65
* (3) Michigan beat (14) Montana, 61-47
* (7) Texas A&M beat (10) Providence, 73-69
* (2) North Carolina beat (15) Lipscomb, 84-66

East

* (1) Villanova beat (16) Radford, 87-61
* (9) Alabama beat (8) Virginia Tech, 86-63
* (5) West Virginia beat (12) Murray State, 85-68
* (13) Marshall beat (4) Wichita State, 81-75
* (6) Florida beat (11) St. Bonaventure, 77-62
* (3) Texas Tech beat (14) Stephen F. Austin, 70-60
* (10) Butler beat (7) Arkansas, 79-62
* (2) Purdue beat (15) Cal-State Fullerton, 74-48

Midwest

* (1) Kansas beat (16) Penn, 76-60
* (8) Seton Hall beat (9) N. Carolina State, 94-83
* (5) Clemson beat (12) New Mexico State, 79-68
* (4) Auburn beat (13) College of Charleston, 62-58
* (11) Syracuse beat (6) TCU, 57-52
* (3) Michigan State beat (14) Bucknell, 82-78
* (7) Rhode Island beat (10) Oklahoma, 83-78
* (2) Duke beat (15) Iona, 89-67

Selection Sunday is two weeks away, so, who’s in?

With two weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, here are the Texas-based teams projected into the NCAA tournament by Jerry Palm of cbssports.com:

(3) Texas Tech, in the South, at Dallas
(6) TCU, in the East, at Dallas
(7) Houston, in the West, at Pittsburgh
(9) Texas A&M, in the South, at Charlotte
(12) Texas, in the East, at Dayton (R-68)

Note: Texas is projected to play in the round of 68 and the others in the round of 64.

Mississippi State deals Texas A&M third straight loss

Mississippi State played with a purpose Tuesday night and recorded a convincing, 93-81 Southeastern Conference victory over the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Bulldogs led for the final 33 minutes in what was regarded as their best road win of the year.

It was also their first road win in history at College Station.

The Aggies, meanwhile, have lost three straight.

Perhaps of more concern, the Aggies have yielded more than 90 points twice in a row, giving up 94 points to the Arkansas Razorbacks last weekend and now 93 to the Bulldogs.

Against the Bulldogs, the Aggies shot 50.8 percent from the field but were out-rebounded 44-31, including 16-7 on the offensive glass.

Mississippi State forward Abdul Ado and guard Quinndary Weatherspoon gave A&M fits with four offensive rebounds apiece.

Ado, a redshirt freshman, finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Weatherspoon had 17 points, six boards and five assists.

A&M forward Tyler Davis led the home team with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Records

Texas A&M 17-11, 6-9
Mississippi State 20-8, 8-7

Quotable

“Obviously, we are disappointed in the loss and disappointed in giving up … back-to-back games with 94 and 93 points,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said, in statements posted on the Aggies’ website. “We lost our defensive identity for whatever reason.

“We are struggling to make the tough play on the defensive end of the floor, and that is my responsibility. I have to do a better job of getting us prepared to play on the defensive end.

“I am not taking anything away from Mississippi State. Their guards were hard to defend, and we couldn’t keep them out of the lane. Their athleticism really gave us a lot of problems, and they have a good team.”

Coming up

Texas A&M at Vanderbilt, Saturday
South Carolina at Mississippi State, Saturday

Worthy of a highlight reel: A&M upsets No. 8 Auburn

After a poor start in Southeastern Conference play, Texas A&M has won three in a row to bolster its NCAA tournament hopes.

The Aggies knocked off the eighth-ranked Auburn Tigers 81-80 on the road Wednesday night.

Troubled with injuries, A&M (16-8, 5-6) lost the first five games on its SEC schedule.

But the Aggies won at home last week against Arkansas and South Carolina and now have won on the home floor of the first-place team in the conference.

With a little more than a month remaining before NCAA Selection Sunday, A&M appears to be in good shape.

The Aggies are 20th in the nation in the latest ratings percentage index and are projected as a No. 9 tournament seed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

A&M hosts Kentucky on 24th-ranked Kentucky on Saturday at Reed Arena.

Starks leads Texas A&M past Arkansas, 80-66

Freshman point guard T.J. Starks hit four 3-point baskets and scored 16 points Tuesday night as Texas A&M beat Arkansas 80-66 in Southeastern Conference basketball.

Playing at home in College Station, the Aggies broke open a close game and snapped a two-game losing streak by outscoring the Razorbacks 47-34 in the second half.

Starks, from Lancaster, hit 4 of 5 from long distance in making his second straight start.

Center Tyler Davis produced 15 points and 13 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive glass.

Daryl Macon scored 20 off the bench to lead the Hogs, who had won three in a row.

Records

Texas A&M: 14-8, 3-6
Arkansas: 15-7, 4-5

Texas A&M ends skid by defeating Ole Miss, 71-69

When a three-point shot left the hand of Ole Miss guard Breein Tyree, it looked good.

It looked good on the way up, and on the way down, and then something strange happened.

Texas A&M finally caught a break.

Tyree’s jumper from 28 feet circled the rim and came out at the buzzer Tuesday night as A&M broke a five-game losing streak, holding on for a 71-69 victory at Reed Arena.

“It went in and out,” Texas A&M center Tyler Davis told the SEC Network. “Thanks to God, it (came) out.”

Davis and Robert Williams combined for 38 points and 21 rebounds as A&M (12-6, 1-5 in the SEC) won for the first time since beating Buffalo at home on Dec. 21.

Bruce Stevens contributed 20 points and nine rebounds for Ole Miss (10-8, 3-3).

Back before Christmas, in the wake of the victory over Buffalo, A&M had won 11 of its first 12 and had climbed to No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25.

Since then, misfortune shadowed the Aggies through losses to Alabama, Florida, LSU, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Losses to LSU and Kentucky were by one point each, so the victory over Ole Miss felt good.

The Aggies played extremely well in the first half, shooting 61 percent while surging into a 45-37 lead at intermission.

Not to be deterred, the Rebels rallied with their hustle in the first portion of the second half, coming back and over-taking the Aggies.

Ole Miss came from behind to assume four-point leads three times, the last time at 58-54 with 7:15 remaining on a Stevens jumper in the key.

From there, Williams and Davis took over.

Williams, in particular, was brilliant down the stretch with four dunks and a couple of blocked shots.

In the end, it was Davis with a hustle play for the game-winning point.

He spun inside, missed, rebounded the shot and followed it in with 23 seconds to play.

Ole Miss missed two three-pointers in the final nine seconds.

The first was by Terence Davis out of the corner, but the Rebels maintained possession when the rebound went out of bounds off the Aggies.

On the last play, Ole Miss guard Deandre Burnett faced up from the top of the three-point circle, but he was guarded too closely for a shot attempt.

Burnett elected to pitch it back to Tyree, who was open on a longer jumper that rimmed out to give A&M its first victory of the season in a game decided by three points or less.

“I was praying that it would bounce out,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said in comments posted to the athletic department website. “God blessed us with a good bounce, the right bounce. That’s how good this league is.

“Every game is going to come down to making free throws and tough plays at the end.”

The Aggies were 0-3 in those games up until Tuesday night.

A&M players expressed relief to get the first SEC victory of the season.

“It is a blessing honestly,” Williams said. “I have been praying on it a lot. I feel like we are getting our team back and starting to get it back to where it needs to be.

“We just have to slow it down on the turnovers.”

A&M welcomed back guard Duane Wilson, who hurt his knee in the SEC opener at Alabama.

It was the first time that the Aggies, hit by suspensions, injuries and illnesses, had been able to play with all the players they had hoped to use coming into conference play.

Even with everyone healthy for A&M, Ole Miss nearly pulled it out at the end.

“I did not necessarily want three, but I felt as if for us it was probably such a defensive factor,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “I thought our guys did a good job of executing and making the extra pass.

“We had a guy with a clean look and unfortunately for us it just didn’t go in.”