College Basketball

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Edwards, Purdue hold off Vermont, 80-70


NCAA TOURNAMENT: Edwards, Purdue hold off Vermont, 80-70

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 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.

Next up for Purdue is a second-round game against the winner of Nevada-Iowa State.

"It feels good but I don't think we want to stop here," Mathias said. "We play a good opponent the next game, have a quick turnaround, we've got to take care of ourselves and get back at it."

It was Vermont's first loss of 2017. 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.

Anthony Lamb had 20 points and nine rebounds for Vermont, and Trae Bell-Haynes finished with 15 points, seven boards and six assists.

With Swanigan and 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas, Purdue had a huge size advantage around the rim. But the Catamounts played tough perimeter defense, turning post passes into a risky proposition, and stayed right with the Boilermakers with opportunistic baskets on offense.

But the combination of Edwards and Swanigan was too much to overcome down the stretch. Edwards scored Purdue's first eight points of the second half, helping the Boilermakers open a 45-38 lead.

Every time Vermont made a charge in the second half, Purdue had an answer.

Darren Payen made a jumper and Ernie Duncan hit a 3 to get the Catamounts within one before Swanigan responded with a 3 for the Boilermakers. A jumper by Lamb trimmed Purdue's lead to five, but Carsen Edwards and P.J. Thompson each hit a 3 to give the Boilermakers a 76-65 advantage with 1:56 remaining.

The Boilermakers finished with a 38-28 rebounding advantage and outscored the Catamounts 42-24 in the paint. It was their first NCAA Tournament win since they beat Saint Mary's in the first round in 2012.

"It's nice to get that monkey off our back," Mathias said.

NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

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NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

PITTSBURGH - Mike Krzyzewski might want to stop worrying about his team's inexperience. The loaded if young Blue Devils hardly seemed intimidated by NCAA Tournament's bright lights.

If anything, they're thriving under them.

Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Marvin Bagley scored 22 points to go with nine rebounds, fellow freshman big man Wendell Carter Jr. added 13 points and second-seeded Duke rolled by seventh-seeded Rhode Island 87-62 in the second round on Saturday to earn the program's 26th trip to the Sweet 16. Freshmen guards Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval combined for 29 points and 11 assists for the Blue Devils.

Duke (28-7) will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday. The victory gave Krzyzewski 1,098 wins during his Hall of Fame career, breaking a tie with Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt for the most ever by an NCAA basketball coach.

The Rams (26-8) and their senior-laden roster never threatened after the opening 10 minutes. E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island with 23 points but the Rams were never really in it after the Blue Devils revved it up midway through the first half.

Krzyzewski's relationship with Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley dates back to when Krzyzewski recruited Dan's older brother Bobby to Duke 30 years ago. Krzyzewski praised the Hurley family for their love of the "dignity of work," an ethos that has helped Dan turn the Rams into a force in the Atlantic 10.

Work ethic is one thing. Talent is another. The Rams have plenty of the former. When the young but rapidly maturing Blue Devils are as fully engaged as they were on Saturday, they have a staggering amount of both.

The proof came in a clinically efficient opening half in which Duke picked the Rams a part. If Allen and Trent weren't knocking down 3-pointers then they were getting the ball inside to Bagley or Carter, the program's "other" potential lottery pick who is dealing with an achy Achilles. Though he winced at least once while trying to set up on the block, when Carter had the ball in his hands, the grimace disappeared. He scored nine of Duke's first 11 points to establish the Blue Devils' dominance in the paint and when the backcourt got going, the Rams simply couldn't keep pace.

A 23-5 surge midway through the first half put the Blue Devils firmly in command. Their extended zone defense with Allen at the top disrupted Rhode Island's rhythm, at one point forcing Matthews it put up an off-balance, one-handed airball from the 3-point line as the shot clock expired.

By the time Duval's second 3-pointer of the half went down, the Blue Devils were up 45-28 at the break.

As the Rams came out for the second half, junior guard Will Leviton went over to a section of Rhode Island fans and urged them to "get up, I still need you! It's still a game."

Not really. A pair of Bagley dunks shortly after intermission pushed Duke's advantage to more than 20 and the Blue Devils were on their way to Omaha.

Rhode Island: The Rams lose five seniors to graduation, including Matthews, Terrell and forward Andre Berry but have a solid nucleus returning. Whether Hurley is there to guide them is another matter. He acknowledged his name has been mentioned in connections with other jobs, including UConn. He said no last spring. It may be more difficult this time around.

Duke: For all of its offensive brilliance, the biggest difference for the Blue Devils over the last month has been their work at the other end of the floor. Duke held Rhode Island to 40 percent shooting (25 of 63).

The Blue Devils are 14-9 in Sweet 16 games under Krzyzewski.

© 2018 by The Associated Press. 

UMBC stuns Virginia, becomes first No. 16 seed ever to beat No. 1 in NCAA tournament

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UMBC stuns Virginia, becomes first No. 16 seed ever to beat No. 1 in NCAA tournament

For the first time in NCAA tournament history, a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1.

UMBC (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) pulled off the impossible Friday night, beating No. 1 seed and tournament favorite Virginia, 74-54.

The Retrievers ended the seemingly never-ending streak of 135 matchups in which the No. 16 seed fell in the first round. They'll move on to the Round of 32 to take on No. 9 Kansas State.