Creighton caps Saturday's Madness with a 2OT romp past Oregon


It took two overtimes, but Creighton made sure there would be no upsets on Saturday.

The No. 3 Bluejays took down No. 11 Oregon 86-73 in double overtime to advance to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest region. Creighton forced the first overtime when Baylor Scheierman hit a jumper to tie the game with less than 10 seconds to go and the game went to a second overtime when Steven Ashworth’s shot bounced off the rim as time expired in the first extra period.

Oregon took Creighton to the brink of defeat despite literally not getting any scoring contributions from players who weren’t Jermaine Couisnard or N’Faly Dante during the second half. Jackson Shelstad’s shot with 46 seconds to go in the first half was the last point scored by a player other than Couisnard or Dante.

Seriously.

The Bluejays pulled away in the second half as Oregon’s reliance on its two stars simply stopped working. The Ducks were scoreless throughout the final five minutes until Dante made two free throws with 34 seconds to go. After the game was tied 71-71 at the end of the first overtime, Creighton outscored Oregon 15-2 in the final period for an anti-climactic end to what had been a close game the entire way.

Couisnard had 32 points and Dante had 28 with 20 rebounds. Only two other Oregon players scored. Shelstad had seven and Jadrian Tracey scored six.

Ashworth led Creighton with 21 points as Trey Alexander had 20. Center Ryan Kalkbrenner had 19 and Scheierman scored 18. Neither team had a lead of more than six points at any point until Creighton pulled away in the final overtime.

The win puts Creighton in the Sweet 16 for the third time in the past four seasons. The Bluejays made the Sweet 16 as a No. 5 seed in 2021 before losing in the second round as a No. 9 seed in 2022. A season ago, Creighton got to the Elite Eight and lost to San Diego State as the Aztecs made it to the national title game.

The 2024 NCAA tournament could be Creighton’s best chance to make the Final Four for the first time ever. The Bluejays will meet No. 2 Tennessee in the Sweet 16 as the Vols are also looking for their first Final Four appearance.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 23: DJ Burns Jr. #30 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack celebrates with Casey Morsell #14 after a basket in overtime of the game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies during the second round of the 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 23, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 23: DJ Burns Jr. #30 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack celebrates with Casey Morsell #14 after a basket in overtime of the game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies during the second round of the 2024 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 23, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

NC State became the first double-digit seed to make the Sweet 16 on Saturday. (Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

North Carolina and North Carolina State win

The pressure is on, Duke.

No. 1 North Carolina pulled away from No. 9 Michigan State for an 85-69 win in the West region. Four North Carolina players had at least 14 points as RJ Davis had 20 and Armando Bacot had 18.

No. 11 North Carolina State continued its improbable win streak with a 79-73 overtime win over No. 14 Oakland. The Grizzlies forced the game into overtime with a late surge, but NC State pulled away in the extra five minutes.

First-round star Jack Gohlke had 22 points for the Grizzlies as he made 6 of 17 3-point attempts. NC State big man DJ Burns Jr. was 9 of 12 from the field for 24 points and also had 11 rebounds. The win is the seventh in the past 11 days for the ACC tournament champions as they snuck into the tournament field with their ACC tournament title game win over UNC.

If Duke beats James Madison on Sunday, all three ACC programs from the Raleigh-Durham region will be in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 23: Caleb Love #2 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates defeating the Dayton Flyers 78-68 in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 23, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 23: Caleb Love #2 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates defeating the Dayton Flyers 78-68 in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 23, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona is heading to the Sweet 16 after getting eliminated in the first round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona, Iowa State and Tennessee all post victories

The three No. 2 seeds playing on Saturday advanced to the Sweet 16, though Arizona and Iowa State had less trouble than Tennessee did.

The Wildcats opened the day with a 78-68 victory over No. 7 Dayton in the West region. Arizona pulled away from the Flyers late in the first half and maintained that advantage in the second. Caleb Love had 19 points in 35 minutes, while Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II led all scorers with 23.

Iowa State took down No. 7 Washington State 67-56 as the Cyclones outscored the Cougars 40-29 in the second half. Washington State was just 5 of 23 from behind the arc while Iowa State shot 7 of 14 from the 3-point line.

Tennessee had a terrible shooting night but looked like it was going to keep No. 7 Texas at bay for much of the second half before the Longhorns made a late run in the Vols’ 62-58 win. Texas got the game to within a point with just over 30 seconds to go, but Dalton Knecht made four free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the game.

Knecht, the SEC player of the year, scored 18 points despite making just 5 of his 18 field goal attempts. Tennessee shot 34% from the field and 3 of 25 from the 3-point line as Knecht, Jonas Aidoo and Zakai Zeigler combined to go 11 of 42 from the field. That’s a stat line that isn’t going to get a lot of victories. But it was enough on Saturday.

Gonzaga sprints away from Kansas

No. 5 Gonzaga’s 89-68 win over No. 4 Kansas was not an upset. The Zags entered the game as the favorites. But the way it transpired in the second half was slightly surprising. Kansas led 44-43 at the break before Gonzaga went on a tear to start the second half. The Bulldogs had a 13-0 run to take a commanding lead and then followed that with a 14-0 run that put the game out of reach.

Kansas was about as lost as you’ll find a Bill Self team on defense as the Jayhawks had no answers for Gonzaga’s pick-and-roll.

No. 3 Illinois is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 after an easy 89-63 win over No. 11 Duquesne. Terrence Shannon Jr. continued his hot streak with 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, while Marcus Domask had 22 points after posting a triple-double in the first round.

Illinois led 50-26 at halftime as they quickly put away the Dukes. It was the final game for Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot as he announced before the tournament that he would retire at the end of the season.



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