NCAA Tournament roundup: Another late winner for Loyola-Chicago
Another NCAA Tournament prayer answered for Loyola-Chicago, and the Ramblers are set to bring Sister Jean to the Sweet 16.
Clayton Custer’s jumper took a friendly bounce off the rim and in with 3.6 seconds left, and 11th-seeded Loyola beat Tennessee, 63-62, in a South Region second-round game Saturday night.
Custer’s winner came two days after Donte Ingram’s buzzer-beating 3 for Loyola against Miami, surely to the delight of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old nun, team chaplain and primary booster watching from her wheelchair on a platform near the main TV cameras.
“The only thing I can say, glory to God for that one,” Custer said. “The ball bounced on the rim and I got a good bounce.”
The Ramblers (30-5), who won the Missouri Valley tournament, broke the school record for wins set by the 1963 NCAA championship team. Loyola will play the Cincinnati-Nevada winner in the regional semifinals Thursday in Atlanta.
No. 3 seed Tennessee (26-7) took its only lead of the second half on three-point play by Grant Williams with 20 seconds remaining. After Loyola almost lost the ball on an out-of-bounds call confirmed on replay, Custer dribbled to his right, pulled up and let go a short jumper that hit the front of the rim, bounced off the backboard and went in.
A last-gasp shot from the Vols’ Jordan Bone bounced away, and Custer threw the ball off the scoreboard high above the court as he was mobbed by teammates in the same spot that the Ramblers celebrates Ingram’s dramatic winner.
Kentucky 95, Buffalo 75 — Kentucky put an end to any upset talk on its watch, getting 27 points and a near-perfect shooting game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to pull away from 13th-seeded Buffalo (27-9).
Gilgeous-Alexander went 10 for 12 and made both of his 3-point attempts to send fifth-seeded Kentucky (26-10) to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.
Kansas 83, Seton Hall 79 — Malik Newman scored 28 points, Udoka Azubuike stood toe-to-toe with Seton Hall’s bruising Angel Delgado, and No. 1 seed Kansas held off the plucky Pirates to send the Jayhawks to their third consecutive Sweet 16.
Texas Tech 69, Florida 66 — Keenan Evans keeps making big plays and extending Texas Tech’s season. Evans scored 22 points and hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2 ½ minutes left.
Gonzaga 90, Ohio State 84 — Zach Norvell Jr. had 28 points, Rui Hachimura added 25 and Gonzaga is headed back into the Sweet 16.
Norvell hit the late tiebreaking 3-pointer against UNC-Greensboro in the opening round to help the Zags advance. The confident freshman made 6 of 11 from the arc against Ohio State to lead Gonzaga (32-4) into the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season — two wins from a return trip to the Final Four.
No. 1 UConn 140, Saint Francis (Pa.) 52— Azura Stevens scored 26 points to lead six UConn players in double figures and the Huskies opened their NCAA Tournament with a record-setting rout in the Albany Regional.
Duke 72, Belmont 58 — Leaonna Odom scored a career-high 25 points, and the fifth-seeded Blue Devils beat No. 12 seed Belmont in the Albany Regional.
Fox Chapel graduate Erin Mathias finished with 10 points for Duke (23-8), which will play Georgia on Monday.