For the first time in 20 years a pair of 14th seeds has moved into the Round of 32 in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Robert Brown scored 21 points and William Lee provided the final four points for No. 14 UAB in a 60-59 triumph over third seed Iowa State. Lee finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who out-rebounded the Cyclones 52-37.
R.J. Hunter’s 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining capped 14th seed Georgia State’s comeback from a 12-point deficit in a 57-56 victory over No. 3 Baylor. Hunter finished with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
Top seeds were 2-for-2 on Thursday. Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 21 points and 11 rebounds in sending top-ranked Kentucky past Hampton 79-56. Andrew Harrison added 14 points as the Wildcats improved to 35-0 and advanced to take on Cincinnati on Saturday in Louisville.
No. 1 Villanova clobbered Lafayette 93-52 as Dylan Ennis provided 16 points in the Wildcats’ 33rd win. Daniel Ochefu had 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Villanova, which used a 13-0 run to lead 34-13.
Xavier and Butler have moved into the third round, but fellow No. 6 seed SMU was upset as Bryce Alford made four 3-pointers in the final 3:40 to lead 11th seed UCLA past the Mustangs 60-59. Alford delivered 27 points and Norman Powell had 19 for the 11th-seeded Bruins, who survived the Mustangs’ 19-0 run over a 6 ½-minute stretch of the second half. Next up for UCLA is UAB.
Xavier ripped No. 11 Mississippi 76-57 as Matt Stainback scored 20 points and Dee Davis added 17. Stainback also had nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis was 4 of 9 from 3-point range to help the Musketeers set up a meeting with Georgia State Saturday in Jacksonville.
Kellen Dunham scored 20 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 1:18 to play in Butler’s 56-48 triumph over No. 11 Texas. The Longhorns shot just 34 percent and had 15 turnovers.
In other NCAA finals:
— Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half and finished with 10 rebounds as No. 2 Arizona clobbered Texas Southern 93-72. Stanley Johnson added 22 points for the Wildcats, who led by as many as 27 in their 32nd win.
— Zach Auguste scored 25 points and Jerian Grant added 17 to help third seed Notre Dame escape with a 69-65 win over Northeastern. Auguste made 10 of 14 shots and clinched the victory with two free throws as the Irish earned the right to take on Butler in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
— North Carolina blew a 16-point, second-half lead before Justin Jackson hit a tying jumper in the final minute and provided a fast-break dunk to help the fourth-seeded Tar Heels edge Harvard 67-65. Jackson finished with 14 points and Marcus Paige had 10 for the Tar Heels.
— Next up for North Carolina is Arkansas after Michael Qualls scored 20 points in a 56-53 triumph against Wofford. SEC player of the year Bobby Portis finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Razorbacks.
— D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera led Georgetown’s 84-74 win over Eastern Washington, scoring 25 points and grabbing eight rebounds for the fourth-seeded Hoyas. Mikael Hopkins chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds as Georgetown moved on to play Utah.
— Jakob Poeltl had 18 points and eight rebounds to push fifth seed Utah past Stephen F. Austin 57-50. Jordan Loveridge added 12 points for Utah.
— Eighth seed North Carolina State beat LSU 66-65 on BeeJay Anya’s hook shot with a second remaining. Cat Barber had a team-high 17 points for the Wolfpack, who trailed by 16 before advancing to Saturday’s play against Villanova.
— D’Angelo Russell poured in 28 points to carry 10th seed Ohio State to a 75-72 overtime victory against VCU. Amir Williams added 13 points for the Buckeyes, who trailed by 12 before advancing to face Arizona on Saturday in Portland.
— Coreontae DeBerry scored four of his 13 points in overtime to help eighth-seeded Cincinnati complete a comeback in a 66-65 triumph against Purdue. The Bearcats closed regulation on a 10-3 run in the final minute, capped by Troy Caupain’s buzzer-beating layup.
MLB-ROYALS AND CARDS BOTH FALL
Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt was struck in the jaw by a line drive and walked off with a bruise Thursday in Colorado’s 13-2 win over the Kansas City Royals. The 39-year-old Betancourt was hit in the sixth inning by Brett Eibner’s liner. He was checked by a trainer before leaving the mound. Nolan Arenado hit two homers and drove in five runs. Matt McBride also homered for Colorado. Rockies starter Jordan Lyles pitched four perfect innings. Royals starter Jason Vargas was tagged for nine runs and nine hits, including three home runs, in 1 2-3 innings. Kendrys Morales homered for the Royals.
Jon Niese struck out six in four innings, and a New York Mets’ split squad defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 Thursday. Niese allowed one run and three hits and walked none in his third and longest outing of spring training.
Daniel Murphy singled and scored on John Mayberry’s single in the first inning, then left between innings with what the Mets said was right hamstring tightness. Jaime Garcia struck out seven in four innings but also gave up four hits, including Wilmer Flores’ third-inning homer. Peter Bourjos broke a 1-for-24 spring training start with a solo homer in the eighth against Jon Velasquez.
The Houston Rockets are within a game of the NBA’s Southwest Division lead following the finest offensive performance of James Harden’s career. Harden poured in a career-high 50 points and had 10 rebounds as the Rockets beat Denver 118-108. He hit the 50-point plateau with a trey in the final minute, helping Houston clinch the victory. Harden also hit 22 of the Rockets’ free throws in their third consecutive win.
Also in the NBA:
— Brandan Wright scored 16 points and matched his career high with seven blocked shots as Phoenix stifled New Orleans 74-72, dropping the Pelicans a full game behind Oaklahoma City for the last Western Conference playoff spot. The Pelicans were without star Anthony Davis due to an ankle injury.
— Gordon Hayward scored 22 points and Trey Burke came off the bench to add 17 in Utah’s 80-73 win over the Lakers in Los Angeles. The Jazz are 12-2 since the All-Star break after dealing the Lakers their 50th loss.
— Zach LaVine made the tying and go-ahead free throws with 10.7 seconds left and scored six of his 20 points in overtime as Minnesota downed the Knicks 95-92 in New York. Kevin Martin scored 22 points and Andrew Wiggins added 20 to help the Timberwolves snap a tie with the Knicks for the NBA’s worst record.