Arizona St., NDSU notch NCAA wins
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Luguentz Dort overcame a hard foul and a leg injury, scored 21 points and led Arizona State to a long-awaited NCAA Tournament victory Wednesday night, 74-65 over St. John’s in the First Four.
The 11th-seeded Sun Devils (23-10) will play Mid-American Conference champion Buffalo on Friday in the West Region, coming off their first NCAA Tournament win in 10 years.
Arizona State also provided a Pac-12 breakthrough: the conference’s first NCAA Tournament win in two years.
The Pac-12 was 0-3 in the tournament last season, with two teams — Arizona State and UCLA — falling in the First Four. Arizona then got knocked out in the round of 64.
St. John’s (21-13) was the last team picked for the tournament, sneaking in despite a late-season fade. The Red Storm wound up one of the first ones out as well.
Shamorie Ponds scored 25 points for St. John’s, which hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2000. The Red Storm never led on Wednesday.
North Dakota St. 78,
N.C. Central 74
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Tyson Ward scored 23 points, and North Dakota State advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 64 with a 78-74 win over North Carolina Central in a First Four game on Wednesday night.
Vinnie Shahid had 14 points, including a pair of foul shots with 8 seconds left to seal the game for North Dakota State (19-15), which advances to play East Region No. 1 seed Duke on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.
Sam Griesel and Jared Samuelson each added 10 points for the Summit League Tournament winners. The Bison picked up their second NCAA Tournament win after upsetting Oklahoma in the opening round in 2014.
N.C. Central (18-16) squandered an outstanding night by senior center Raasean Davis, who scored 20 points and pulled down 16 rebounds — the 16th double-double of his career. Larry McKnight Jr. also had 20 points and Randy Miller Jr. scored 18 for the Eagles, who lost a First Four game for the third consecutive year.
The Bison held a 40-34 lead at the half on the strength of seven 3-pointers in 14 attempts and 58-percent shooting overall.
Five North Dakota State had hit long shots before the intermission, with Samuelson going 3 for 4.
N.C. Central: The third time wasn’t a charm for the Eagles, who mounted a comeback but couldn’t keep a second-half lead for long.
North Dakota State: The Bison used outside shooting to bolt out to a lead in the first half and then adapted down the stretch.
North Dakota State, a No. 16 seed, moves into the main NCAA bracket, where Zion Williamson and the Blue Devils await.