Gibbs beats buzzer, Seton Hall stuns No. 3 ‘Nova


By MIKE FITZPATRICK

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK — The latest buzzer-beater at the Big East tournament belongs to a Seton Hall reserve with a familiar last name.

Sterling Gibbs hit a step-back jumper as time expired and Seton Hall stunned No. 3 Villanova 64-63 in a thrilling quarterfinal Thursday, a loss that could cost the Wildcats a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

“We’re really confident, honestly, especially after you beat the No. 3 team in the country,” said Gibbs, a sophomore transfer from Texas whose brother was a Pittsburgh star. “We know if we can beat them, we can beat anyone. So we’re just up for the challenge.”

Eugene Teague had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Pirates (17-16), who advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time in 13 years. They will play Friday night against No. 4 seed Providence, which held off fifth-seeded St. John’s 79-74.

Josh Hart scored 18 to lead the top-seeded Wildcats (28-4), beaten only twice in 18 regular-season conference games while winning their first outright Big East title since 1982. Both losses were blowouts by Doug McDermott and Creighton.

“You’ve all heard me say this before: This was not about 1 seeds, 2 seeds. This was about we wanted to come to Madison Square Garden and win the Big East tournament. Winning the Big East tournament would mean much more to us than a 1 seed,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “The NCAA tournament seedings, my belief is 1, 2, 3, it doesn’t matter that much. You’re going to play great teams.”

Patrik Auda scored all 13 of his points in the first half for Seton Hall, a 10½-point underdog. But the pesky Pirates, accustomed to playing close games, built a 15-point lead and recovered after Villanova spurted past them with a 16-0 run in the second half.

It was Seton Hall’s first victory in five tries against top-seeded teams at the Big East tournament.

“We never really got rattled,” coach Kevin Willard said. “These guys have a lot of heart. They have a lot of character, and they deserve to win.”

Villanova took a 63-62 lead on Darrun Hilliard’s floater in the lane with 7.8 seconds to go. Seton Hall pushed the ball past halfcourt, then called timeout with 3.7 seconds left.

With much of the crowd on its feet, Jaren Sina inbounded and Gibbs backed off Hilliard with a hard step back, draining a 17-foot jumper from the top of the key just as the horn sounded.

NO. 4 ARIZONA 71

UTAH 39

LAS VEGAS — Nick Johnson scored 14 points, T.J. McConnell added 13 and No. 4 Arizona overwhelmed Utah defensively in a rout that tied for the most lopsided game in Pac-12 tournament history.

After playing two close games against Utah during the regular season, top-seeded Arizona (29-3) opened the tournament with a spirit-crushing defensive performance.

Energized by a raucous crowd that made it feel like the McKale Center, the Wildcats provided a glimpse of what can happen when one of the nation’s best defenses gets rolling.

Arizona ran through the record book against Utah (21-11), setting marks for fewest points allowed, fewest field goals (12) and lowest shooting percentage (25).

NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 92

RUTGERS 31

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Chris Jones scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, and fifth-ranked Louisville routed Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The Cardinals (27-5) have won three straight and 10 of their last 11 as they look for a third straight tournament title even if they’re only in the American for one season. Louisville split the regular-season title with Cincinnati, but lost the top seed on a coin flip,

The defending national champion Cardinals will play Houston, which upset No. 25 SMU 68-64, in the semifinals.

Rutgers (12-21) led once at 7-6 as the Scarlet Knights hit their first three shots. But they wound up with far more turnovers (17) than made shots (seven) in the first half.

No. 8 SAN DIEGO STATE 73

UTAH STATE 39

LAS VEGAS — Xavier Thames scored 15 points and dished seven assists to lead San Diego State over Utah State in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament.

The top-seeded Aztecs shot 52.5 percent (31 of 59) from the field, including 7 of 17 (.412) from 3-point range. San Diego State dominated in the paint, out-rebounding the Aggies, 35-27, while it outscored Utah State in the paint, 40-14.

Winston Shepard added 13 points for the Aztecs, while Josh Davis had eight points and 13 rebounds.

Jarred Shaw led Utah State with 14 points.

NO. 10 KANSAS 77

OKLAHOMA STATE 70, OT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points, Wayne Selden Jr. had 14 and No. 10 Kansas pulled away in the final seconds of overtime victory over Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.

Naadir Tharpe made four foul shots in the extra session to seal the victory for the top-seeded Jayhawks (24-8), who will face fourth-seeded Iowa State in Friday night’s semifinals.

The No. 16 Cyclones, behind a big game from Melvin Ejim, beat No. 5 seed Kansas State 91-85.

Le’Bryan Nash scored 19 points to lead the Cowboys (21-12). Forte added 16 points and Marcus Smart finished with 14, though he missed all three of his shots in the extra session.

No. 13 CINCINNATI 61

CENTRAL FLORIDA 58

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sean Kilpatrick scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Justin Jackson added 14 points as Cincinnati escaped with a victory over Central Florida in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Kilpatrick was 6 of 12 from the field and converted 3 of 4 field goals in the final 11.3 seconds as Cincinnati defeated the Knights for the third time this season.

Isaiah Sykes led UCF with 21 points, converting 8 of 16 shots, while Kasey Wilson scored 11 points. Calvin Newell finished with 10. Both were 4 of 10 from the field, part of the Knights (13-18) shooting 38 percent for the game.

No. 14 CREIGHTON 84

DEPAUL 62

NEW YORK — Doug McDermott put on a dazzling shooting display in his Big East tournament debut, scoring a record 27 of his 35 points in the first half for Creighton during a victory over DePaul.

The nation’s leading scorer hit six of his first seven 3-point attempts, sending the second-seeded Bluejays (25-6) into the semifinals Friday night against third-seeded Xavier or No. 6 seed Marquette.

Jahenns Manigat added 14 points for Creighton, which left the Missouri Valley Conference for the new-look Big East this season, and Austin Chatman had 11. Led by McDermott, the league’s player of the year and a heavy favorite for several national awards, the Bluejays shot a sizzling 14 for 22 from 3-point range (63.6 percent) against 10th-seeded DePaul (12-21).

Brandon Young had 22 points in his final college game for the Blue Demons.

NO. 16 IOWA STATE 91

KANSAS STATE 85

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Melvin Ejim had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Dustin Hogue added 19 points and 10 boards and No. 16 Iowa State held on through a tense final minute to beat Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.

Georges Niang added 18 points and Naz Long finished with 14 points for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (24-7), who advanced to play the winner of Kansas-Oklahoma State in Friday’s semifinals.

Iowa State was clinging to an 87-85 lead with just over a minute left when Ejim missed a layup and the Wildcats (20-12) got the rebound. They raced the other direction, but Shane Southwell lost control of the ball going toward the rim and Iowa State came away with it.

BAYLOR 78

No. 17 OKLAHOMA 73

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Isaiah Austin scored 18 points and Baylor held on after blowing most of a 21-point lead for a victory over Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.

Cory Jefferson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the No. 7 seed Bears (23-10), who became the first lower-seeded team to win in this year’s tournament. They advanced to face the winner of Texas-West Virginia in the semifinals on Friday night.

Cameron Clark scored 19 points and Buddy Hield had 15 for the second-seeded Sooners (23-9), who spent most of the second half frantically rallying from a 52-31 deficit.

They got within 72-68 on Hield’s 3-pointer with 1:27 left, and had a chance to get even closer when Royce O’Neale turned it over for Baylor. But a 3-pointer by Jordan Woodard with about a minute left was off the mark, and O’Neal came through with a pair of free throws.

No. 21 UCONN 72

No. 19 MEMPHIS 53

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Niels Giffey scored a career-high 24 points, hitting six 3-pointers, as No. 21 UConn finished off a season sweep of 19th-ranked Memphis by routing the Tigers in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The fourth-seeded Huskies (25-7) now have won four of their past five, and a team that was barred from the Big East tournament last year will be playing No. 13 Cincinnati, a 61-58 winner over UCF, in the semifinals Friday night.

Memphis (23-9) played as a visitor on its own court as the league’s No. 5 seed where the Tigers had won 15 straight conference tournament games dating back to 2005 in Conference USA. But they struggled mightily in their fourth consecutive game against a ranked team.

DeAndre Daniels had 13 points for UConn. Shabazz Napier, the American’s player of the year, and Terrence Samuel each finished with 11.

No. 20 NEW MEXICO 93

FRESNO STATE 77

LAS VEGAS — Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk each scored 21 points to lead No. 20 New Mexico to a victory over Fresno State in the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Using an aggressive defense, dominating the boards and capitalizing on the Bulldogs’ mistakes, the second-seeded Lobos (25-6) built a 16-point lead and extended it to as many as 19 in the second half.

Fresno State (17-16) had four players score in double figures, led by Allen Huddleston’s 18 points. Alex Davis had 17 points, Paul Watson contributed with 16 and Marvelle Harris added 13.

NO. 24 OHIO ST. 63

PURDUE 61

INDIANAPOLIS — LaQuinton Ross scored 19 points and Aaron Craft finished with 16 on Thursday, helping No. 24 Ohio State hang on against Purdue in the Big Ten tournament.

The win sent the defending tourney champs into Friday’s quarterfinals against fourth-seeded Nebraska.

Purdue (15-17) didn’t make it easy on the fifth-seeded Buckeyes (24-8).

A.J. Hammons finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, while senior Terone Johnson finished with 10 for the 12th seeded Boilermakers, who were eliminated after a seventh straight loss.

The Boilermakers stayed closer than expected, trailing just 30-27 at halftime. They led much of the second half and still had a chance to win it at the end.

HOUSTON 68

NO. 25 SMU 64

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jherrod Stiggers scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and Houston beat No. 25 SMU in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The Cougars (17-15), who will face either No. 5 Louisville or Rutgers, which play later Thursday, converted 9 of 19 3-pointers in the game.

L.J. Rose finished with 16, hitting all three of his shots from outside the arc. TaShawn Thomas added 14 points and nine rebounds and four blocks, including a key one down the stretch, while Danuel House finished with 11 for the sixth-seed Houston.

Cannen Cunningham led SMU (23-9), the tournament’s third seed, with 14 points, while Markus Kennedy scored 13 and grabbed nine rebounds. Nick Russell had 10 poin

 

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