WICHITA STATE 70, OHIO STATE 66
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wichita State is headed to the Final Four, and these Shockers should be no surprise to anybody.
Not after the way they held off mighty Ohio State in the West Regional final.
Malcolm Armstead scored 14 points, Fred Van Vleet bounced in a big basket with 1 minute left, and ninth-seeded Wichita State earned its first trip to the Final Four since 1965 with a 70-66 victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday.
Van Vleet scored 12 points as the Shockers (30-8) followed up last week’s win over top-ranked Gonzaga with a nail-biting victory over the second-seeded Buckeyes (29-8), whose 11-game winning streak ended one game short of their second straight Final Four.
Wichita State is just the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to reach the Final Four since seeding began in 1979, but the second in three years following 11th-seeded VCU’s improbable run in 2011.
Wichita State roared to a 20-point lead with 11 minutes to play after Ohio State played an awful first half, but LaQuinton Ross scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime, leading a ferocious rally that got the Buckeyes within three points in the final minutes.
But after Tekele Cotton hit a 3-pointer with 2:20 left, Van Vleet scored on a shot that bounced all over the rim before dropping. Ron Baker and Cotton hit last-minute free throws to secure the second Final Four trip in Wichita State’s history.
SYRACUSE 55, MARQUETTE 39
WASHINGTON (AP) — Using its trapping, shot-challenging 2-3 zone defense to perfect effect, Syracuse shut down Marquette to reach the Final Four for the first time in a decade.
Coach Jim Boeheim and the Orange (30-9) haven’t been to the national semifinals since a freshman named Carmelo Anthony led them to the 2003 championship.
Fittingly, a matchup between schools from the soon-to-break-apart, rough-and-tumble Big East became quite a struggle to score. Syracuse was led by James Southerland’s 16 points.
Marquette (26-9) hadn’t scored fewer than 47 points this season. But with Syracuse playing Boeheim’s beloved zone throughout, Marquette kept turning the ball over, seeing its shots blocked or just plain missing.
The Golden Eagles’ 39 points were a record low for a team in an NCAA tournament regional final since the shot clock was introduced in 1986.
All told, Marquette made only 12 of 53 shots — 23 percent — and was 3 for 24 on 3-pointers. Vander Blue, who carried Marquette to the round of eight, was held to 14 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
GEORGIA 61, STANFORD 59
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Jasmine Hassell scored six of her 13 points in the final 3 minutes and fourth-seeded Georgia reached the NCAA women’s regional finals for the first time since 2004 with a 61-59 victory over top-seeded Stanford on Saturday night.
Georgia overcame three major scoring droughts, including falling behind 9-0, to oust the No. 1 seed from the Spokane Regional and end Stanford’s hopes of reaching the Final Four for the sixth straight year.
Jasmine James led Georgia (28-6) with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 60-56 lead. It’s the 11th trip to the regional finals for coach Andy Landers in his long tenure at Georgia.
Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford (33-3) with 26 points, but was held to eight in the second half.
CALIFORNIA 73, LSU 63
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Layshia Clarendon scored 19 points to lead California over LSU and send the Bears to the round of eight for the first time in program history.
Gennifer Brandon had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Brittany Boyd added 14 points for second-seeded Cal (31-3), which will play Georgia in the Spokane Regional final on Monday night.
Theresa Plaisance had 15 points and 12 rebounds for sixth-seeded LSU (22-12).
CONNECTICUT 76, MARYLAND 50
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 17 points, leading top-seeded Connecticut past Maryland in the regional semifinals.
Stewart got help from fellow freshmen Moriah Jefferson, 10 points, and Morgan Tuck, eight points, in sending the top-seeded Huskies (32-4) to their eighth straight NCAA regional final.
Alyssa Thomas, who had averaged 28.5 points in the tournament, had 13 to lead Maryland (26-8). Tianna Hawkins and Chloe Pavlech each had 11 points for the Terps.
The Huskies will play Kentucky in on Monday night in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
KENTUCKY 69, DELAWARE 62
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Jennifer O’Neill scored 19 points and A’dia Mathies added 16 to help Kentucky hold off Delaware, ending Elena Delle Donne’s college career
The Wildcats (30-15) have already set a school record for victories.
Delle Donne had 33 points for Delaware (32-4) and finished her career as the fifth leading scorer in NCAA history. She passed former stars Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdsclaw and Maya Moore on Saturday, but finished well short of Jackie Stiles’ record of 3,393 set at Southwest Missouri State from 1998-2001.