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N.C.A.A. Tournament Live: Virginia Sweats and Then Survives Against Gardner-Webb

Friday is Day 2 of the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament. Follow here for scores and live analysis of who wins, who loses and who broke your bracket.

How to watch: CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV will broadcast the games starting at noon ET, and a livestream is available at NCAA.com. (Don’t know where to find TruTV? CBS figured you didn’t, so they made this helpful guide.)

Buffalo leads Arizona State, 44-31, at halftime, and Coach Nate Olds will be happy about that. But he wasn’t a big fan of having to play the Sun Devils, and his former boss Bobby Hurley, in the first round.

Buffalo lost only three times this season, and spent most of the year in the Top 25. It earned its No. 6 seed.

But Oats got the Buffalo job after serving as an assistant on Hurley’s staff there. They led the team to its first N.C.A.A. tournament berth in 2015, a run that most likely got Hurley the Arizona State job. Now Oats has led Buffalo back to the tournament three times on his own. But he wasn’t happy about a reunion.

“It’s not ideal,” Oats said earlier this week. “I don’t want to coach against him. There’s a reason we haven’t scheduled any games against each other. It is what it is, but I’d like to see him win. I’m a friend of his. He gave me my shot in this business, I’m loyal to him. I pull for him. Shoot, I helped him with some recruits down there.”

Virginia spent the last year waiting for Friday, a chance to atone for its unprecedented early exit from the 2018 N.C.A.A. tournament, when it became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16. When that chance arrived, the Cavaliers never led in the first half against Gardner-Webb. But they persisted, rolling to a 71-66 victory after outscoring the Bulldogs by 21 points after halftime.

De’Andre Hunter — who missed last year’s disappointing loss to Maryland-Baltimore County with an injury — scored 23 points to lead Virginia, which will face No. 9 Oklahoma in the second round on Sunday. BEN SHPIGEL

Admiral Schofield scored 19 points and Jordan Bone added 16 as Tennessee held off a 3-pointer-fueled Colgate surge in the second half. Jordan Burns carried Colgate with 32 points, shooting 12 for 20 from the field and 8 of 12 from behind the 3-point line.

The Cavaliers have dug out of their hole and taken their first lead of the second half at 39-38.

The first major upset of the N.C.A.A. tournament came from a commuter school perhaps best known for its quirky mascot. The No. 13 California-Irvine Anteaters ousted No. 4 Kansas State in the South Region, winning by 70-64 to earn the first N.C.A.A. tournament victory in the program’s history.

A year ago, Irvine went 18-17. This year, it rolled to 31 wins, including its current run of 17 in a row. The Anteaters were led by 19 points each from Evan Leonard and Max Hazzard, who drilled a vital 3-pointer with about 90 seconds left that extended Irvine’s lead to 66-61. Kansas State played without one of its stars, Dean Wade, an all-Big 12 forward sidelined by a foot injury.

Hazzard,whose grandfather Walt Hazzard won a championship for U.C.L.A. and played for the Lakers, is one of four Irvine players with N.B.A. bloodlines. Spencer Rivers, the son of Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and younger brother of Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers, is another. He spoke to his father about the opportunity in front of the Anteaters on Monday.

“He was saying, ‘Enjoy the moment and try to take the best advantage of it as you can,’ ” Spencer Rivers told reporters. “Make it last as long as possible as well, he was saying. You don’t want to just be happy by being there. You want to try to win the game.”

Stop us if you’ve seen this before.

Could it really be happening again? A year ago, Virginia became the first No. 1 men’s seed to lose in the first round when it fell to Maryland-Baltimore County. This year, Virginia a No. 1 seed again and it is trailing again, this time to No. 16 Gardner Webb. The Runnin’ Bulldogs took a 26-14 lead with 7:40 left to play in the first half, and are playing with a lot of confidence.

But who are they, and where do they come from?

Gardner-Webb, which is in the N.C.A.A. tournament for the first time, is located 128 miles from Columbia, S.C., where Friday’s game is being played. It is just over the border in North Carolina, so the stands are packed with fans in red and black, and they are loving it. The Bulldogs have a swarming defense and they are feeding off the fan support. Gardner-Webb made 13 of its first 22 shots.

If the Cavaliers were not tight coming into the game, they look it now.

Third-seeded Texas Tech shook off a slow first half to roll past 14th-seeded Northern Kentucky in the West Region. Jarrett Culver, the Big 12 Player of the Year, scored 29 points on 10-for-17 shooting. The Red Raiders shot 53 percent from the field over all.

Gardner-Webb, the pride of Boiling Springs, N.C., is enjoying an early 26-14 lead over Virginia and the full-throated support of the Carolina-centric crowd in Columbia, S.C.

Florida State forward Phil Cofer found out his father had died minutes after the Seminoles’ 76-69 victory over Vermont in the first round on Thursday.

Florida State said Mike Cofer, a former N.F.L. linebacker, died after a long illness. The Seminoles said Cofer learned of his father’s death in a phone call during the open locker room period after Thursday’s game. He broke down into tears.

Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton did not know about the news when he spoke with reporters after the game, but he addressed the loss on Friday.

In one of the biggest first-round victories by a No. 9 seed in N.C.A.A. tournament history, Oklahoma blitzed No. 8 Mississippi, 95-72, in the South Region. Paced by four starters who scored at least 18 points, the Sooners raced to a 12-0 lead, went up by 17 at halftime and led by as many as 29 in the second half. Christian James and Rashard Odomes each had 20 points for Oklahoma. Terence Davis had 17 for the Rebels.

According to David Worlock, the N.C.A.A.’s director of media coordination/statistics, the Sooners’ 23-point margin of victory equaled Mississippi State’s over Stanford in 2005 and trailed only Purdue’s 24, over L.S.U in 2003, and Pittsburgh’s 29, over Colorado in 2014. Next up for Oklahoma is a with No. 1 Virginia, which beat No. 16 Gardner-Webb.

Sure, both were to end the first half. But UC-Irvine and Kansas State are tied at halftime, 30-30, after this Max Hazzard 3-pointer:

More of this type of drama please. Maybe try at the second-half buzzer next?

The Big Ten hasn’t won the N.C.A.A. tournament since Michigan State’s title in 2000, but it has had seven teams lose in the championship game since then.

In 2002, Maryland beat Indiana in the final, but the Terrapins, then in the A.C.C., weren’t a member of the Big Ten at the time.

After that, Illinois lost in 2005, Ohio State in 2007, Michigan State in 2009, Michigan in 2013, Wisconsin in 2015 and Michigan last year, to Villanova.

On the first day of the N.C.A.A. tournament, Big Ten teams went 5-0. The second day began with Iowa’s extending the conference’s run of dominance, as the Hawkeyes pulled away late from Cincinnati to win, 79-72, in the South Region.

After trailing by 13 points in the first half and by 5 at halftime, Iowa made seven 3-pointers in the second half, including one by Joe Wieskamp that powered an 8-0 run that extended the Hawkeyes’ lead to 73-64 with about a minute remaining.

“I thought our ball movement and the shots we got in the second half were better,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffrey said. “And we made them.”

Iowa advances to play No. 2 Tennessee. BEN SHPIGEL

With all due respect to the Norse (Northern Kentucky) and the Sun Devils (Arizona State), the best mascot in the N.C.A.A. tournament hails from California-Irvine.

“There are no other Anteaters anywhere,” Coach Russell Turner said.

Nor are there any other rosters that have quite the pedigree as Irvine’s. On a team that has won 16 consecutive games, four players have direct ties to the N.B.A.

There’s forward Collin Welp, the son of former 76ers player Christian Welp. And guard Max Hazzard, whose grandfather Walt Hazzard won a championship for U.C.L.A. and played for the Lakers. And Spencer Rivers, the son of Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and younger brother of Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers. And freshman JC Butler, whose father Caron made two All-Star teams across his 13 N.B.A. seasons.

The Anteaters are currently holding their own against fourth-seeded Kansas State in their South Region game, down by one midway through the first half. BEN SHPIGEL

The N.C.A.A. selection committee tends to reward high seeds, when possible, by limiting their travel. It is why Duke, the top seed over all, is playing Friday (and, in all likelihood, Sunday) in Columbia, S.C., 230 miles from the Blue Devils’ campus in Durham, N.C. That’s more than twice as far, though, as No. 7 Cincinnati’s intra-Ohio sojourn to Columbus, where the Bearcats, playing in front of a decidedly partisan crowd, raced to an early 13-point advantage over No. 10 Iowa. The edge has narrowed a bit, to 36-31, at halftime of their South Region game.

The unfavorable draw was another dose of ignominy for an Iowa team that plodded into the tournament, losing eight of its last 14 games and five of its last six, including in the Big Ten conference quarterfinals to Michigan. Justin Jenifer led the Bearcats with 12 points. Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp paced Iowa with 10, but the Hawkeyes did produce a rarity in the tournament’s first two days: a buzzer-beating shot.

CBS and Turner Sports released Saturday’s N.C.A.A. tournament schedule late last night:

  • Jacksonville: (6) Maryland vs. (3) L.S.U., 12:10 p.m. (CBS); (7) Wofford vs. (2) Kentucky, after first game (CBS)

  • Des Moines: (10) Florida vs. (2) Michigan, 5:15 p.m. (CBS); (10) Minnesota vs. (2) Michigan St., after first game (CBS)

  • Hartford: (12) Murray St. vs. (4) Florida St., 6:10 p.m. (TNT); (6) Villanova vs. (3) Purdue, after first game (TNT)

  • Salt Lake City: (9) Baylor vs. (1) Gonzaga, 7:10 p.m. (TBS); (5) Auburn vs. (4) Kansas, after first game (TBS)

  • Three No. 1 seeds — Zion Williamson and Duke in the East, Virginia in the South and North Carolina in the Midwest — play their N.C.A.A. tournament openers today. Virginia is up first, against Gardner-Webb at 3:10 p.m. in Columbia, S.C.

  • The Big Ten put eight teams in this year’s tournament and went 5-0 on Thursday. Three more teams — Iowa, Ohio State and Wisconsin — play Friday.

  • The Southeastern Conference did almost as well as the Big Ten on Day 1: Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and L.S.U. all won, and now Mississippi, Mississippi State and Tennessee play on Friday.

  • Missed what happened yesterday? Here are three ways to catch up: just the scores and highlights, our live briefing as it happened yesterday, and Ben Shpigel’s wrap-up.

  • Only four lower seeds won Thursday in what was, let’s be honest, a lot of less-than-compelling basketball. Will Friday bring the bracket-busting upsets we all crave?

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo is known for his feisty, old school, in-your-face coaching style. Sometimes Izzo gets after his players in ways not often seen anymore. That was what happened Thursday between Izzo and the freshman forward Aaron Henry.

Unhappy with Henry’s effort in the second half of a tight first-round game with Bradley in Des Moines, during a timeout Izzo approached Henry on the court, yelled at him and pointed a finger toward his face. Henry appeared puzzled, unsure what Izzo was angry about. Guard Cassius Winston, the Big Ten Player of the Year, jumped between his teammate and his coach and gently guided Izzo away. Later in the timeout, with players seated around him, Izzo lurched toward Henry again. Multiple players eased Izzo back to his seat.

Henry responded in the final three minutes with a key basket in the lane and two foul shots as Michigan State, the East Region’s No. 2 seed, held off Bradley, 76-65. Afterward, Henry and his teammates shrugged off Izzo’s tirade. But the video of the incident had created a stir on social media by then, sparking conversation about the behavior of Izzo, who has coached the Spartans to 22 consecutive N.C.A.A. tournament appearances and seven Final Fours.

Not everyone thought the coach had done anything wrong. He absolutely did not.

“When you are a freshman now, at this time of year, you don’t make mental mistakes on things we’re telling a guy which way he goes, or not running back,” Izzo said. “There are some things Aaron didn’t do a very good job of.

“And yet, you know what? I did get after him and he did respond and he did make a couple of big buckets and he did make a couple of big free throws, but that’s not good enough. This is one-and-done time. The ‘my bads’ are out the window. If it’s my fault because that guy played better and it’s my bad because I walked back and didn’t sprint back, then it is your bad and you’re going to hear about it. So that’s what it was.”

A follow-up question further annoyed Izzo, who concluded his answer with this:

“I get a kick out of you guys,” he said. “Get after somebody because you’re trying to hold them accountable. I don’t know what kind of business you’re in, because if I was head of a newspaper and you didn’t do your job you would be held accountable. That’s the way it is.” PAT BORZI

The N.C.A.A. women’s field was announced a day later than the men’s bracket, and now it will start a day later, too.

One surprise, if you’re an infrequent followed of women’s basketball? UConn, the dominant team in the game for a generation, is a No. 2 seed this year.

“I mean, we did lose two games,” UConn Coach Geno Auriemma told reporters, sarcasm in full bloom.

What he didn’t say was that the Huskies lost to Baylor and Louisville, both on the road. And that those teams are both No. 1 seeds this year in what is, on paper at least, a more open tournament than it has been in years.

Kelly Whiteside previewed the tournament here.

Syracuse played without its senior point guard Frank Howard in its 78-69 loss to Baylor on Thursday. Howard was suspended indefinitely on the eve of the tournament for violating an unspecified university policy, and while the Orange traded shots with the Bears for a while, they clearly missed him.

“It’s hard when you don’t have your senior point guard,” said the freshman Buddy Boeheim, who was pressed into duty as the starter in place of Howard. “We obviously could have really used him, but we had to adjust.”

Down by a point at halftime and close for much of the second half, Syracuse finished with 12 assists and 13 turnovers without Howard running the offense.

“Obviously, we missed him — he’s our point guard,” Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said. “I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. He isn’t here.”

By the time Nadi Beciri leaked ahead of the field in the final minute of Fairleigh Dickinson’s thumping at the hands of Gonzaga on Thursday night, most people had long since switched to other games. But when Beciri gathered in a pass, scored on a lurching layup and was fouled, it meant that Fairleigh Dickinson, a 16th seed, would only lose to top-seeded Gonzaga by 87-49.

But the reaction made it clear this was not an inconsequential basket. That was clear when the Knights leapt to their feet on the bench, and Beciri, staggering toward them, was greeted with a bear hug by his coach, Greg Herenda.

“I had to be the happiest coach to ever cut it to 38 in the history of college basketball,” said Herenda, who joked that he was happy he didn’t get a technical for coming onto the court.

As much as the N.C.A.A. tournament is about star-making turns and underdogs taking their shot, it is also about moments in the shadows: Max Plansky, a 21-year-old with cerebral palsy who traveled here with Northeastern; or New Mexico State’s Johnny McCants reaching down to pull up his teammate Trevelin Queen, who lay crestfallen after missing a potential winning shot at the buzzer against Auburn.

Or when a single basket, like the one by Beciri, that means so much more.

It had been a meandering five years for Beciri, who is from Maywood, N.J., He had gone to The Citadel, where he did not play, and then to a junior college when Herenda pleaded with him to return home to Bergen County. The coach liked his energy, his toughness, his personality. “He’s like the pied piper,” Herenda said. “He walks around and there’s love and he’s a great kibitzer, as my mother would say.”

After his first year, Herenda called him in.

“I told him I’m going to call you Idan: I-d-a-n,” Herenda said. Beciri asked why?

“Because it’s Nadi spelled backward. You have to change your whole life, your eating habits, working out.”

Beciri got in the gym, stayed away from his mom’s Albanian cooking, and lost 51 pounds.

He was looking forward to another modest role off the bench this season, but after playing in two games his back gave out. He was diagnosed with a stress fracture and a degenerative disc. As days turned into weeks and months, he began to think about other things — finishing his finance degree in May, applying for jobs.

Then, two weeks ago, his back suddenly felt better. He could run. He could jump. And there was no pain.

“I went to coach and said I just really want to go out there and practice with my guys one last time and be there with my guys if we go to the N.C.A.A. tournament,” Beciri said. “I know we have a good thing going and I didn’t want to wreck the flow of the team. I just wanted to be part of the scout team, do the walk-through. I just wanted to suit up.”

And so he was there, when the Knights won the conference tournament, when they beat Prarie View A&M in a play-in game, and when the clock stopped with 1:34 left on Thursday night and he was waved in from the scorer’s table.

When he laid the ball in, for a basket in a game long settled, it felt very much like his one shining moment.

“Every one of our players has a story in this tournament,” Herenda said. “Every single one has a story and Nadi’s story amplifies what college athletics is about and it’s way more than advancing and surviving.”

“It’s life,” he added. “And he’s going to have a great life.””




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