The University of Wisconsin beat the University of Arizona in overtime last night to reach the Final Four after Florida won 62-52 to eliminate Dayton at college basketball’s national men’s tournament.
Junior forward Frank Kaminsky scored a game-high 28 points, including six in overtime, as Wisconsin, the No. 2 seed in the West, rallied to beat top seed Arizona 64-63 in Anaheim, California.
The Badgers, who are seeking to end a 73-year wait for a second National Collegiate Athletic Association title, advanced to the national semifinals for the first time since 2000, where they will meet the winner of Kentucky and Michigan.
“How about these guys, how resilient are they?” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said in a televised interview. “I’m so proud of them.”
The result means there will be only one No. 1 seed -- Florida -- in the Final Four for the third time in four years. Top-seeded Wichita St. and Virginia lost earlier in the tournament.
Arizona led by as many as eight points in the first half and didn’t trail until 15 minutes, 13 seconds left to play in the second half. The teams traded baskets in the final minutes, with Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tying the score at 54-54 with 36 seconds left. Wisconsin had the final possession of the second half and was unable to win the game when Traevon Jackson’s jumper hit the rim with two seconds remaining.
With the Wildcats trailing by one point with five seconds remaining in overtime, Arizona guard Nick Johnson was called for an offensive foul that turned the ball over. After Wisconsin gave it back on the ensuing inbounds -- a turnover that was confirmed after a five-minute replay review -- Arizona was unable to get off a shot for the win.
“We gave it everything we had,” Kaminsky said. “I’m honored to be a part of this team.”
Earlier in Memphis, the top-seeded Gators cruised to a 62-52 win over No. 11 seed Dayton. Florida reached the final Four for a fifth time after losing in the round of eight at the past three NCAA tournaments.
Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin scored a game-high 23 points and center Patric Young added 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks for the Gators in their 30th consecutive win. Dayton’s Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers with 18 points in Memphis.
Young gave credit for the win to coach Billy Donovan, who has guided the program to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in seven years. The team won NCAA titles under Donovan in 2006 and 2007.
“He’s been able to push us every single day from the beginning of the season all the way through, helping us stay in the moment,” Young said in a televised interview. “In doing that, everything else has come with it, the win streak, the SEC tournament championship and this group of guys.”
Dayton held its only lead of the game for exactly one minute -- starting with a Scoochie Smith 3-point shot with 7:01 remaining in the first half and ending with a Michael Frazier II layup 60 seconds later. The Gators outscored the Flyers 19-3 after Smith’s shot gave Dayton a 21-19 lead, and Florida went into the half up 38-24.
Florida led by double digits for most of the second half and withheld a late Dayton rally that cut the lead to eight with less than two minutes remaining.
The national semifinals are scheduled for April 5 in Arlington, Texas, with the championship game two days later at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Later today No. 7 Connecticut plays No. 4 Michigan State in the East Region final at Madison Square Garden in New York, with the winner playing Florida next weekend. In the second game today, No. 8 Kentucky takes on No. 2 Michigan in the Midwest Region final in Indianapolis.