PHILADELPHIA — Not even many basketball fans knew about Florida Gulf Coast just a couple of weeks ago. They do now — the Eagles are the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16.
Bernard Thompson scored 23 points and Sherwood Robinson added 17 to lead FGCU to its second NCAA tournament win in as many tries, an 81-71 victory over San Diego State on Sunday night.
FGCU (26-10), which shocked the world in the second round with a 78-68 victory over second-seeded Georgetown, was just as entertaining and impressive in the third round, again using a big second-half run to take control of the game.
Now, the Eagles will face an opponent that should know a lot more about them. Third-seeded Florida will play FGCU on Friday night in the semifinals of the South Regional in Dallas.
The upstart state school against the main campus. Seems right up FGCU’s alley.
Jamal Franklin had 20 points for the seventh-seeded Aztecs (23-11), who were trying to reach the regional semifinals for the second time in three years.
Ohio St. 78, Iowa St. 75
DAYTON, Ohio — Aaron Craft made a last-second, tie-breaking 3 and Ohio State remained the lone high seed left in the NCAA tournament’s most-busted bracket.
Ohio State (28-7) needed Craft’s only 3-pointer of the game — an arching shot over 6-foot-7 defender Georges Niang from the top of the key — to avoid yet another upset in the oh-so-wild West Regional. Four of the top five seeds fell fast and hard in the first weekend.
Craft left the Buckeyes in position to fritter away a late lead with some missed free throws, then saved them in the final second.
Craft also drew a charge on Iowa State’s Will Clyburn near the basket with 1:41 on a play that could have put the Cyclones up by three. It was a close call. Replays showed Craft’s right heel was at the semicircle restricting the area where players can take a charge.
Ohio State’s 10th straight win sent the Buckeyes into the round of 16 for the fourth straight year, a school record. They’ll play sixth-seeded Arizona on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Tenth-seeded Iowa State (23-12) overcame a late 13-point deficit by hitting 3s — the Cyclones’ specialty.
Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 22 points, and Craft had 18. LaQuinton Ross scored 10 straight for the Buckeyes as they built that second-half lead.
Korie Lucious led Iowa State with 19 points.
Indiana 58, Temple 52
DAYTON, Ohio — On the verge of being the second No. 1 knocked from the NCAA tournament, Indiana finally stopped Temple’s No. 1.
Victor Oladipo hit a key 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, their season moments from ending in disappointment, shut down Owls star Khalif Wyatt in the final three minutes to hold off the Owls.
The Hoosiers (29-6) trailed by four with 2:56 left, but closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year.
Indiana will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.
Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who gave one of the Big Ten’s big boys all they could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.
Oladipo, who spent the afternoon doing all he could to slow down Wyatt, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers.
Kansas 70, N. Carolina 58
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas got the best of ‘ol Roy and his Tar Heels once again.
Behind the impassioned play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, the top-seeded Jayhawks shook themselves out of a first-half slumber and blitzed No. 8 seed North Carolina down the stretch.
Withey had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Releford finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks (31-5), who also knocked former coach Roy Williams’ team out of the NCAA tournament during their 2008 title run and again last season, when Kansas marched all the way to the Final Four.
It’ll keep marching this year — at least to the Sweet 16 — thanks to a superb second half.
P.J. Hairston scored 15 points and James Michael McAdoo finished with 11 for the Tar Heels (25-11).
Florida 78, Minnesota 64
AUSTIN, Texas — Mike Rosario scored 25 points and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the NCAA tournament round of 16 for third consecutive year with a 78-64 win Sunday in the South Regional.
The No. 3 seed Gators (28-7) shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 by halftime. The win earns Florida a return trip to the Lone Star State to play their next game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the No. 11-seed Gophers (21-13). Hollins' 3-point shooting sparked a second-half rally that pulled Minnesota within seven points, but Rosario's sixth 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pushed the Gators' lead back to 16 and effectively locked up the win.