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NCAA: Northwestern, Middle Tennessee get big wins

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Northwestern got its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, 68-66 over Vanderbilt, after Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably grabbed Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh on purpose, sending McIntosh to the free throw line for the go-ahead points with 15 seconds left.

Riley LaChance made a layup with 18 seconds remaining to put the ninth-seeded Commodores up by one after trailing by as many as 15.

But seconds after the in-bounds pass, Fisher-Davis reached out and grabbed McIntosh while he was in the backcourt. That put eighth-seeded Northwestern in the double bonus, and McIntosh went to the line and calmly swished the free throws with 15 seconds left.

LaChance missed a 3 on the next possession and eighth-seeded Northwestern (24-11) got another free throw.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE 81, MINNESOTA 72

MILWAUKEE — Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points, Giddy Potts added 15 and Middle Tennessee State took down another Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, beating Minnesota 81-72.

Twelfth-seeded Middle Tennessee proved it was no one-year wonder after upsetting Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last March.

The Blue Raiders (31-4) instead played like seasoned NCAA veterans with the way they held off the Gophers’ comeback attempt from a 17-point deficit in front of a loud and large contingent of Minnesota fans.

XAVIER 76, MARYLAND 65

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and Sean O’Mara had 18 to help No. 11 seed Xavier upset sixth-seeded Maryland 76-65 during the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Musketeers move on in the West region, marking the third straight year they have advanced to the second round. Maryland, which has started three freshmen for much the season, lost in the first round for the first time since 1997.

GONZAGA 66, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 46

SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Mathews scored 16 points to help Gonzaga slowly pull away from South Dakota State for a 66-46 victory and avoid the first 1 vs. 16 upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament.

It looked possible for a while.

The Jackrabbits (18-17), champions of the Summit League, led for the first 17 minutes of Thursday’s game in the West region and stayed in range for most of the game.

But Karnowski, who finished with 10 points, scored three straight buckets for the Bulldogs (33-1) to help them expand the lead to 20 with 5 minutes left, and it was over.

WEST VIRGINIA 86, BUCKNELL 80

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nathan Adrian had 12 points and 10 rebounds, leading West Virginia to an 86-80 win over Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tarik Phillip scored 16 points for the West Region’s fourth-seeded Mountaineers, who struggled at times with the outside-shooting Bison. West Virginia (27-9) avoided a repeat of last year’s first-round meltdown when the third-seeded Mountaineers lost to Stephen F. Austin.

This win sets up a meeting against the region’s fifth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who hung on for a 60-58 win over Princeton earlier on Thursday.

SAINT MARY’S 85, VCU 77

SALT LAKE CITY — Jock Landale had 18 points and 13 rebounds as seventh-seeded Saint Mary’s held on for an 85-77 victory over No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament’s West Region.

The Gaels led most of the way, but had to fight to hold on after the VCU defensive pressure started to become too much in the second half.

BUTLER 76, WINTHROP 64

MILWAUKEE — Avery Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers in his NCAA Tournament debut to lead Butler to a 76-64 win over Winthrop.

Woodson, a graduate transfer from Memphis, hit five 3s in the first half to help the fourth-seeded Bulldogs build a 14-point halftime lead.

A 12-2 run in the middle of the second half gave Butler a 60-43 lead with less than 8 minutes left and put the game out of reach for the 13th-seeded Eagles.

VILLANOVA 76, MT. ST. MARY’S 56

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points and NCAA Tournament top seed Villanova shook off a slow start and stumbled forward in the East region with a 76-56 victory over No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s.

The Wildcats (32-3) weren’t themselves for much of the first half before they opened the second half with a 21-6 run to take the first step toward defending their championship. Villanova is trying to be the first back-to-back titlist since Florida in 2007.

Since the NCAA went to seeding in 1985, No. 1 seeds are 130-0 against No. 16s. The historic upset remains elusive, but for a while it looked like it could happen inside KeyBank Center.

FLORIDA 80, EAST TENNESSEE STATE 65

ORLANDO, Fla. — Devin Robinson tied his career-high with 24 points, Kasey Hill added 14 and No. 4 seed Florida used a second-half surge to beat 13th-seeded East Tennessee State 80-65 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Robinson, an NBA prospect who had been relatively quiet late in the season, scored his most points in nearly two months. He made 10 of 17 shots and chipped in seven rebounds. The speedy Hill reached double figures for the fourth consecutive game. He also added six rebounds and five assists for his most complete game in a month.

Kevarrius Hayes, filling in for injured center John Egbunu, finished with seven points, seven rebounds and six steals. He broke the school record for steals in an NCAA Tournament game.

PURDUE 80, VERMONT 70

MILWAUKEE — Vincent Edwards scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and Purdue held off Vermont 80-70 on Thursday night for its first victory in the NCAA Tournament in five years.

Caleb Swanigan added 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers (26-7), who were upset by Arkansas-Little Rock in double overtime in the first round of last year’s tournament. Dakota Mathias made three of Purdue’s nine 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.

It was Vermont’s first loss this calendar year. The Catamounts (29-6), the regular-season and tournament champions in the America East, had the nation’s longest active win streak at 21 games. But they were unable to make up for a huge disadvantage inside against the bigger, stronger Boilermakers.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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