NCAA SOUTH REGIONAL: Top-seed Florida advances
Casey Prather and Dorian Finney-Smith each tallied 16 points as the top-seed Florida pulled away from the pesky Albany Great Danes in the second half to take a 67-55 win in a second-round NCAA tournament game in Orlando, Fla.
Patric Young posted 10 points and 10 rebounds for top-seeded Florida (33-2), which will put its 27-game winning streak on the line Saturday when it meets No. 9 seed Pittsburgh in the third round of the South Region. Kasey Hill and Scottie Wilbekin finished with 10 points apiece as the Gators' bench outscored the Great Danes' reserves 26-2.
DJ Evans overcame a pair of inadvertent blows to the head in the second half to finish with 21 points and seven rebounds for Albany (19-15), which saw its season-high four-game winning streak snapped. Gary Johnson had 13 points while John Puk added 10, but leading scorer Peter Hooley was limited to 1-of-10 from the field and six points - 9.8 below his season average.
Albany connected on 11 of its first 16 and 12 of its first 20 field-goal attempts to play Florida to a 28-all draw before the Gators held the Great Danes scoreless over the final 4:47 of the first half and scored the last six points to take their largest lead to that point into the break. Hooley drilled a 3-pointer to bring Albany within one and tied it at 39 with a free throw with 14 ½ minutes remaining.
Young followed with a three-point play and Hill scored four straight points during a 14-4 surge as Florida held the Great Danes to one field goal over nearly seven minutes to pull away. Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer with 3 ½ minutes to rally Albany within 61-52, but Wilbekin answered with a triple of his own and combined with Prather for three free throws down the stretch to account for the final margin.
Pittsburgh 77, Colorado 48: Talib Zanna scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half as the Panthers routed the Buffaloes in a second-round NCAA tournament game in Orlando, Fla.
Cameron Wright added 11 points and three steals for No. 9 seed Pittsburgh (26-9), which led by 28 at the break and posted its largest margin of victory in NCAA tournament play. Lamar Patterson chipped in with 10 points while James Robinson contributed six rebounds and eight assists as the Panthers advanced to Saturday's third-round game in the South Region to face either top-seeded Florida or No. 16 seed Albany.
Dayton 60, Ohio State 59: Vee Sanford banked in a runner with 3.8 seconds left as the Flyers prevailed over their in-state rival in a second-round NCAA tournament thriller in Buffalo, NY.
Sanford was just 3-of-10 from the field before his game-winning shot, which vaulted No. 11 Dayton into a matchup against third-seeded Syracuse in Saturday's third round of the South Regional. Aaron Craft, who had converted a twisting layup with 15.5 seconds left to put Ohio State in front by one, missed a contested runner at the buzzer to end his stellar collegiate career.
Syracuse 77, Western Michigan 53: Trevor Cooney's 18 points led a balanced scoring attack as the Orange breezed to a second-round win.
Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant each supplied 16 points for the third-seeded Orange (28-5), who advanced to a third-round matchup against 11th-seeded Dayton. C.J. Fair added 14 points and 11 rebounds as Syracuse held a 41-25 advantage on the glass.
The 14th-seeded Broncos (23-10), winners of the Mid-American Conference tournament, shot only 34.7 percent - 4-of-18 from 3-point range - in losing for just the second time in 14 games.