NCAA President Mark Emmert on Boise as host
Boise is hosting two NCAA Tournament second-round games today at Taco Bell Arena. The schedule:
No. 13 Buffalo vs. No. 5 Kentucky, 3:15 p.m. MT (CBS), in the South Region
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Gonzaga, 5:45 p.m. MT (CBS), in the West Region
You can follow the action through reporters at the event and each school’s official basketball Twitter account in the window below. Scroll farther below for some notes throughout the day.
Gonzaga 90, Ohio State 84
Ohio State recovered from a 15-0 deficit to take a five-point lead with 6:02 left in the second half but Gonzaga dominated the rest of the way. The Bulldogs advance to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles, where they could play No. 1 seed Xavier.
“There aren’t many things better in life than winning these games in the NCAA Tournament in March,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They are something special.”
Zach Norvell Jr. led Gonzaga with 28 points and Rui Hachimura added 25. Keita Bates-Diop scored 28 for Ohio State.
Few celebrated with a handstand in the locker room.
“When he does it, we’re all happy, and we want him to do it again so we’re going to keep winning,” guard Josh Perkins said. “When Coach pulls out the handstand, it’s a good performance team-wise. We need to see it four more times.”
Gonzaga leads Ohio State at half
Gonzaga scored the first 15 points of the second-round game and took a 44-33 lead into the locker room.
Rui Hachimura scored 13 points and blocked three shots in 11 minutes for Gonzaga. Zach Norvell Jr., the hero of the first-round win, added 15 points. Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 14 points.
The winner goes to Los Angeles to play Xavier or Florida State.
Kentucky 95, Buffalo 75
Kentucky pulled away in the final 10 minutes after Buffalo provided a challenge for 30 minutes. The Wildcats advance to the Sweet 16 in the South Region in Atlanta. They’ll face the Kansas State-UMBC winner because No. 1 seed Virginia lost in the first round.
Freshman point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting for Kentucky. Hamidou Diallo added 22 points.
Wes Clark scored 26 points for Buffalo, which shot 38.8 percent. The Bulls were 15-for-30 from long range in the first round vs. Arizona but 7-for-31 against Kentucky, which plays much better defense.
Kentucky had edges of 42-30 in rebounding and 16-8 in assists.
Gilgeous-Alexander seemed to answer every Buffalo run. He nailed a 3-pointer in the first half as the crowd got fired up for the Bulls, then gave the crowd the “shush” sign.
“We love when the crowd is against us and we love proving people wrong, and that’s what we did today,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.
Kentucky’s path to the Final Four has opened up with losses by Virginia, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Arizona in the South. No. 2 Cincinnati is the only top-four seed still alive in the region. The Bearcats play Nevada later today.
Kentucky leads Buffalo at half
No. 5 Kentucky overcame a raucous, pro-Buffalo crowd to build a 51-42 halftime lead in the first game of the day in Boise. The Bulls got off to an ice-cold shooting start and struggled to handle the Wildcats’ athleticism at the other end of the court.
The officials are calling the game very tight, which could become an issue in the second half with Kentucky’s post players in foul trouble. Projected NBA lottery pick Kevin Knox has three fouls.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a game-high 17 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer moments after Buffalo ignited the crowd with a 3 of its own. Gilgeous-Alexander gave the crowd the “shush” sign.