Lehigh, Norfolk State Try to Win as 15th Seeds in NCAA Games

Lehigh University and Norfolk State University, the 15th-seeded schools that stunned their higher- ranked opponents, will be among the 16 teams trying to advance to the regional semifinals of the men’s national college basketball tournament.

Lehigh, which beat Duke, faces No. 10 Xavier in Greensboro, North Carolina, today and Norfolk State, winner over Missouri, takes on seventh-seeded Florida in Omaha, Nebraska, in the National Collegiate Athletic Association contest.

“We messed up some brackets! We messed up some brackets!” said Norfolk senior Kyle O’Quinn. “We even messed up my bracket.”

In other games, No. 1 Michigan State plays ninth-seeded Saint Louis and No. 11 North Carolina State challenges third- seeded Georgetown in Columbus, Ohio; No. 6 Cincinnati meets third-seeded Florida State and No. 12 South Florida takes on No. 13 Ohio are in Nashville. Top-seeded North Carolina and No. 8 Creighton meet in Greensboro and second-seeded Kansas and No. 10 Purdue play in Omaha.

Yesterday top-seeded Syracuse University defeated Kansas State University 75-59 and No. 1 University of Kentucky topped Iowa State University 87-71 in the third round of the men’s national college basketball tournament.

Winning Streak

In other tournament games yesterday, No. 2 Ohio State University beat Gonzaga 73-66, No. 4 Indiana defeated Virginia Commonwealth 63-61, third-seeded Marquette University ended No. 6 Murray State’s 23-game winning streak with a 62-53 win, while No. 4 Wisconsin eliminated fifth-seeded Vanderbilt 60-57, third- seeded Baylor beat No. 11 Colorado 80-63 and No. 4 Louisville downed fifth-seeded New Mexico 59-56.

At KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Marques Teague scored 24 points and Darius Miller came off the bench to add 19 points for Kentucky (34-2) in the South Region.

The Wildcats visit Atlanta on March 23 to take on Indiana in the next round.

Royce White had 23 points for the Cyclones (23-11) and Chris Allen contributed 16.

“We’ve got nothing to hang our head about. We got beat by the No. 1 overall seed that played an incredible game,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters.

Tie Breaker

At the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, Will Sheehey hit a 15-foot jumper with 11 seconds left to break a 61-61 tie and give the Hoosiers (27-8) their win. Christian Watford had 16 points and Cody Zeller had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Virginia Commonwealth (29-7) had a 61-56 lead on Darius Theus’s basket with two minutes, 24 seconds left, the last time the Rams would score in the game. Zeller added two free throws, while Victor Oladipo was fouled on his layup to contribute three and tie the game with 46 seconds left.

“At that time I thought the momentum was on our side. We had made a little comeback there,” Sheehey said. “And I’m comfortable shooting at that range. It was pretty open, so I decided to take it.”

Bradford Burgess led the Rams with 15 points, and Rob Brandenburg, who missed the winning 3-pointer with two seconds left in the game, had 13 points.

‘Killed on Boards’

Dion Waiters scored 18 points and Scoop Jardine added 16 to lead Syracuse (33-2) in the East Regional game at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Orange will play Wisconsin as they advance for the third straight year into the regional semifinals being played in Boston on March 22.

“The second half, we made shots. We haven’t done that lately,” said Orange coach Jim Boeheim. “Our offense was not good in the first half. We had to pick it up on the offensive end. We got killed on the boards. Second half, we did a much better job on the boards.”

Rodney McGruder scored 15 points and Jordan Henriguez had 14 points for eighth-seeded Kansas State (22-11).

In the other East Regional game, Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas scored 18 points each and Aaron Kraft came off the bench to add 17 for the Buckeyes, who are going into the regional semifinals for the third straight time.

Ohio State (29-7) will meet No. 6 Cincinnati or third- seeded Florida State in the next round in Boston.

Sullinger Seals Win

The Bulldogs, who were down by 10 points, rallied to tie the score at 61-61 on a 3-point basket by Elias Harris, who had 16 points, with four minutes, five seconds left to play. Sullinger’s two jumpers and two foul shots in the final minutes helped seal the victory for the Buckeyes.

In a West Regional contest, Darius Johnson-Odom and reserve Jae Crowder each added 17 points for the Marquette Golden Eagles (27-7) at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Marquette reached its second consecutive regional semifinal against Florida or Norfolk State in Phoenix.

Murray State was led by Isaiah Canaan with 16 points and reserve Jewuan Long with 12 points. After an aggressive first half in which they had a 28-25 halftime advantage, the Racers shot 26 percent in the second half and had only two field goals over the final 7 minutes 43 seconds.

“I told them in the locker room that I just -- I wish I could have figured out a way to get them through the last seven minutes,” Racers coach Steve Prohm said. “We just didn’t finish some plays on the offensive end that we had to do in order to withstand some of their run-outs and some of their execution, and we didn’t.”

Murray State

Murray State lost its bid to become the first team ever from the Ohio Valley Conference to win two games in the NCAA tournament.

In an East Regional game at University Arena in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jordan Taylor scored 14 points and Jared Berggren added 12 points for Wisconsin (26-9). Festus Ezeli had 14 points and 11 rebounds and John Jenkins had 13 points for Vanderbilt (25-11).

Following Wisconsin’s win, Brady Heslip scored 27 points for Baylor (29-7), while Askia Booker came off the bench to lead Colorado (24-12).

Baylor will play Xavier or Lehigh in the regional semifinals in Atlanta in the South Region.

At the Rose Garden in Portland, Russ Smith came off the bench to lead Louisville (28-9) with 17 points. Drew Gordon had 21 points and 14 rebounds for New Mexico (28-7).

Louisville will play Michigan State or Saint Louis of the West Region in Phoenix.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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