Florida State’s depth and height proved way too much for upstart Murray State and star guard Ja Morant on Saturday night, as the fourth-seeded Seminoles reached the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament with a 90-62 rout in Hartford, Conn.
Senior guard Terance Mann paced Florida State’s starters (29-7) with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Mfiondu Kabengele came off the bench to net 22 points, going 10 of 12 from the field, and Raiquan Gray chipped in 11 to go along with five steals.
The Seminoles, who will meet top-seeded Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif., canned nearly 51 percent of their field-goal tries and were 11 of 27 on 3-pointers. They also dominated the much smaller Racers on the glass, earning a 45-33 advantage.
Morant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who would likely be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft this summer, poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. But he made just 8 of 21 shots from the field after a hot start, as Florida State’s length appeared to bother him. Murray State’s season ended at 28-5.
No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 9 Baylor 71
Brandon Clarke had a historic performance with a career-high 36 points and five blocked shots to lead the Bulldogs over the Bears in the second round in Salt Lake City.
Clarke, who entered the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.693), made 15 of 18 shots, including five dunks. The 6-foot-8 senior also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals for Gonzaga (32-3). Baylor’s season ended at 20-14.
Clarke broke the school record for points in an NCAA Tournament game (Adam Morrison, 35) and became the third player in NCAA history with at least 35 points and five blocks, joining Navy’s David Robinson and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal. The NCAA started tracking blocked shots as an official stat in the 1985-86 season.
No. 2 Michigan 64, No. 10 Florida 49
Jordan Poole scored a game-high 19 points and the Wolverines pulled away with an 11-0 run to start the second half as they bagged a win over the Gators in the second round in Des Moines, Iowa.
Isaiah Livers came off the bench to add 10 for Michigan (30-6), which will face No. 3 Texas Tech or No. 6 Buffalo in the West Region semifinals on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. Michigan, which owned the boards 42-29, overcame 42.1 percent shooting from the field.
Jalen Hudson was the only double-figure scorer for the Gators (20-16) with 11 points, but he made just 4 of 15 shots from the floor and was 3 of 10 from the 3-point line. Florida fired away to no avail, hitting only 19 of 55 field-goal tries (34.5 percent) and 9 of 26 from 3-point range.
No. 2 Michigan State 70, No. 10 Minnesota 50
After failing to get out of the first weekend in each of the previous three seasons, the Spartans started quickly, then followed star guard Cassius Winston to a victory over the Golden Gophers in Des Moines, Iowa.
Michigan State (30-6) advances to the regional semifinals for the 14th time under coach Tom Izzo and for the first time since 2015, when the Spartans reached the Final Four. Winston finished with 13 points and nine assists.
Minnesota, which was without senior Jordan Murphy for all but four minutes due to a bad back, ended its season at 22-14.
No. 3 LSU 69, No. 6 Maryland 67
Tremont Waters made a tie-breaking layup with two seconds left as the Tigers held off the Terrapins in a second-round game in Jacksonville, Fla.
Waters’ basket created the final separation in a tight game in which the score was tied six times in the last 6 1/2 minutes. Defense dominated the game as both teams shot below 40 percent from the floor.
The Tigers (28-6), who edged 14th-seeded Yale 79-74 on Thursday, will face No. 2 seed Michigan State in a regional semifinal next weekend in Washington, D.C. Skylar Mays added 16 points for LSU. Maryland’s season ended at 23-11.
No. 3 Purdue 87, No. 6 Villanova 61
Carsen Edwards recorded career highs with nine 3-pointers and 42 points as the Boilermakers eliminated the defending champion Wildcats with a victory in a second-round game in Hartford, Conn.
Matt Haarms collected 18 points and nine rebounds, and Ryan Cline added 12 points for Purdue (25-9), which went 16-for-30 from 3-point range to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. Purdue will face the winner of Sunday’s contest between second-seeded Tennessee and No. 10 Iowa.
Eric Paschall scored 19 points and Phil Booth added 15 on 5-of-13 shooting from the field for the sixth-seeded Wildcats (26-10), who were denied in their bid for a third NCAA title in four years.
No. 2 Kentucky 62, No. 7 Wofford 56
Reid Travis scored 14 points, including a pair of clutch free throws, as the Wildcats fended off the Terriers in a second-round game in Jacksonville, Fla.,
Kentucky (29-6) goes to the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo., to face either third-seeded Houston or No. 11 Ohio State. The Cougars and Buckeyes play Sunday.
Wofford’s Fletcher Magee, the NCAA’s leader in career 3-point baskets, was 0-for-12 from beyond the arc, including eight misses in the second half. The Southern Conference Player of the Year finished with eight points for the Terriers (30-5), whose school-record 21-game win streak ended.
No. 5 Auburn 89, No. 4 Kansas 75
Senior guard Bryce Brown made his first six shots, five from 3-point range, to ignite a first-half tear as the Tigers crushed the Jayhawks in the second round at Salt Lake City.
The win was the 10th straight for Auburn (28-9), which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. The Tigers will head to Kansas City to face the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 9 Washington.
Auburn surged to a commanding 51-25 halftime bulge, the worst deficit Kansas has ever faced at the break in 155 NCAA Tournament games. The Jayhawks (26-10) reached double-digit losses for only the second time in 16 seasons under coach Bill Self.
—Field Level Media