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15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast stuns Georgetown in NCAA tourney

  • Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown reacts after a making a basket during the second half of a second-round game against Georgetown in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

    Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown reacts after a making a basket during the second half of a second-round game against Georgetown in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

  • Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown reacts after a making a basket during the second half of a second-round game against Georgetown in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

    Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown reacts after a making a basket during the second half of a second-round game against Georgetown in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

  • Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown reacts after a making a basket during the second half of a second-round game against Georgetown in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
  • Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown reacts after a making a basket during the second half of a second-round game against Georgetown in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Florida Gulf Coast sure made an entrance at the NCAA tournament.

A school that hasn’t even celebrated its first 20-year reunion busted a load of brackets with a 78-68 victory over second-seeded Georgetown last night in the second round of the South Regional.

In just their second season of eligibility for Division I postseason, the Eagles used a 21-2 second-half run to pull away from the Hoyas and then held on in the final minute to become the seventh No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2.

Sherwood Brown scored 24 points and Bernard Thompson had 23 to lead Florida Gulf Coast, the champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

FGCU (25-10) will play the winner of the game between seventh-seeded San Diego State and No. 10 Oklahoma tomorrow.

“We didn’t come here and have the attitude that we’re just glad to be here,” said FGCU point guard Brett Comer, who finished with 12 points,10 assists and just two turnovers. “We decided we can play with anybody and we did.”

A night after America’s oldest university, Harvard, pulled off a major upset over third-seeded New Mexico, one of its youngest – FGCU’s first student was admitted in 1997 – got one that was even bigger.

The Eagles’ monster run gave them a 52-33 lead with 12:28 to play. The Hoyas staged a furious rally to get within 72-68 with 52 seconds left but the Eagles went 6-of-10 from the free throw line to seal it.

“In the second half, we pushed the ball, we got out, we ran, we made shots, got some alley-oop dunks to energize the crowd. I’m very proud of our players,” said coach Andy Enfield, whose wife – supermodel Amanda Marcum – was shown several times on the arena’s big screen.

For those who don’t know FCGU, and that was probably plenty of people as of yesterday afternoon, Florida Gulf Coast is a state university in Fort Myers with an enrollment of about 12,000 students.

It was another disappointing NCAA exit for the Hoyas (25-7), who have lost to a double-digit seed in their last four appearances. The last time they made it to the second weekend of the tournament was in 2007, when they reached the Final Four.

Markel Starks had 23 points for the Hoyas, a tri-champion of the Big East regular season and one of the top defensive teams in the nation.

South Regional

NORTH CAROLINA 78, VILLANOVA 71

P.J. Hairston scored 23 points, James Michael McAdoo added 17 and North Carolina unleashed a flurry of 3-pointers to subdue gritty Villanova.

The never-say-die Wildcats (20-14) erased a 20-point deficit that North Carolina built in the first half and then nearly climbed out of a nine-point hole in the final minutes after the Tar Heels hit three consecutive 3s and once again appeared to take control.

The victory set up a possible dream matchup in the third round for Kansas fans, who have been jamming the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, about 30 minutes from the Jayhawks’ campus. The eighth-seeded Tar Heels (25-10) take on the winner between Western Kentucky and No. 1 seed Kansas, where Roy Williams coached for 15 years and rang up more than 400 wins.

JayVaughn Pinkston had 20 points and Darrun Hilliard scored 18 for Villanova.

FLORIDA 79, NOTHWESTERN STATE 47

Erik Murphy had 18 points to lead four Florida players in double figures and the Gators shut down the NCAA’s highest-scoring team.

No. 3 seed Florida turned this one into a rout with a 19-1 run in the second half and held the 14th-seeded Demons (23-9) to their fewest points this season – 34 below their average.

Patric Young had 16 points and nine rebounds for Florida (27-7). Kenny Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin both scored 11.

DeQuan Hicks had 12 points for the Demons, who upset Iowa as the No. 14 seed in their last NCAA tournament seven years ago. They couldn’t repeat that feat against the Gators, who lost in the regional finals each of the past two seasons.

East Regional

INDIANA 83, JAMES MADISON 62

Freshman Yogi Ferrell scored 14 points in the first six minutes as top-seeded Indiana slam dunked its way past James Madison.

Not taking any chances with a No. 16 seed, the Hoosiers (28-6) started fast and built a 33-point lead in the second half over the Dukes (21-15) and opened the tourney with a statement they intend to be around for a while.

Looking every bit like a team capable of cutting down the nets in Atlanta next month, Indiana will play Temple in the second round tomorrow.

Ferrell finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Cody Zeller had four dunks for Indiana.

Freshman Andre Nation led James Madison with 24 points.

TEMPLE 76, N.C. STATE 72

Khalif Wyatt scored 31 points, finishing the game with an injured left thumb that had him grimacing before his clinching free throws, and Temple broke with its one-and-done NCAA tournament trend.

The ninth-seeded Owls (24-9) opened a 17-point lead before Wyatt – the Atlantic 10’s player of the year and top scorer – hurt his left thumb and left the game briefly, returning with black tape on the non-shooting hand.

Every shot was an adventure, but he made enough – including six painful but perfect free throws in the final 32 seconds – to keep Temple around for more than one game. The Owls had lost their opener in four of their last five NCAA trips.

No. 8 NC State (24-11) trailed most of the game and came up short of a deep tournament run on the 30th anniversary of its national title.

MIAMI 78, PACIFIC 49

Durand Scott had 21 points and Miami had a triumphant return to the NCAA tournament.

The Hurricanes (28-6), who may be even better than their No. 2 seed in the East Regional would indicate, put the game out of reach with a 14-0 run midway through the first half of their first NCAA tourney game in five years.

Pacific (22-13), the California team that played its last game for retiring longtime Coach Bob Thomason, was no match for the Atlantic Coast Conference’s regular season and tournament champions.

ILLINOIS 57, COLORADO 49

Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson made consecutive 3-pointers to give Illinois back the lead with six minutes left and the seventh-seeded Illini pulled out a tough win over Colorado.

Illinois led by 16 at halftime only to watch Colorado rip off a 21-2 run in the second to grab the lead. The Illini looked desperate until Paul and Richardson coolly knocked down their shots to put Illinois ahead 48-44.

Four free throws by Paul eventually put the game away for the Illini (23-12).

Midwest Regional

DUKE 73, ALBANY 61

Seth Curry scored 26 points, Mason Plumlee had 23 and second-seeded Duke beat Albany.

The Blue Devils (28-5) will meet seventh-seeded Creighton in the third round tomorrow.

Duke shot 58.7 percent (27-of-46), just off its season-beat 60.8 percent against Florida State.

The Blue Devils, who lost 75-70 to 15th-seeded Lehigh in the second round last year, never really pulled away from the Great Danes (24-11), who got as close as eight points with 4:40 to play.

CREIGHTON 67, CINCINNATI 63

Doug McDermott had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Gregory Echenique scored 13 points to help Creighton hold on.

Ethan Wragge added 12 for the Bluejays, who won their NCAA tournament opener for the second straight year.

McDermott, the two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year and 2012 All-American, made all 11 free throws to help the seventh-seeded Bluejays (28-7) move on to play Duke tomorrow.

Sean Kilpatrick’s driving layup after Cincinnati had the arrow on a jump ball cut it to 64-63 with 17 seconds left.

Austin Chatman sank two free throws for Creighton. Kilpatrick’s attempt at a tying 3 rimmed out, and the Bearcats were whistled for traveling after grabbing the rebound.

West Regional

MISSISSIPPI 57, WISCONSIN 46

Marshall Henderson shook out of a shooting slump and scored 17 points in the second half, giving the Rebels their first NCAA tournament win since 2002.

For the cold-shooting Badgers (23-12), the upset loss snaps a string of six straight first-game victories. Ole Miss (27-8) trailed 25-22 at halftime and Henderson, who led the Southeastern Conference with 20 points a game, had only two points on 1-for-11 shooting.

But the flamboyant and outspoken guard found his touch just in time for Ole Miss, and wound up hitting 6 of 21. His back-to-back 3-pointers tied it 36-36 and his layup and two free throws in the final minute sealed the win.

LA SALLE 63, KANSAS STATE 61

Jerrell Wright made three foul shots in the final 30 seconds, and No. 13 seed La Salle advanced after blowing an 18-point halftime lead to beat fourth-seeded Kansas State.

Wright, who scored a game-high 21 points for the Explorers (22-9), made the first two free throws to give La Salle a 62-61 lead. Kansas State’s Jordan Henriquez missed in the paint at the other end, and Wright made the first of two more free throws with 9.6 seconds to go.

The Wildcats (27-8) raced down court, but point guard Angel Rodriguez got hung up in the corner by the Kansas State bench, and his off-balance shot over the corner of the backboard missed everything as the final buzzer sounded and the Explorers leaped off their bench to celebrate the upset.

OHIO STATE 95, IONA 70

Sam Thompson had career highs with 20 points and 10 rebounds, part of a dominating performance by Ohio State’s front line against Iona.

The second-seeded Buckeyes (27-7) have won nine straight, including their last five games of the regular season and a run to the Big Ten tournament title.

Deshaun Thomas had 24 points as the Buckeyes’ fast breaks led to dunks and a season high in points.

Tavon Sledge scored 20 points for Iona, which had 19 turnovers that led to 29 of the Buckeyes’ points.

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