Mar 17, 2023; Columbus, OH, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles guard Kam Jones (1) shoots the ball over Vermont Catamounts guard Dylan Penn (13) in the second half in the second half at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA Tournament roundup: Perfect 4-0 Friday for the Big East

East Region

No. 7 Michigan State 72, No. 10 Southern California 62

Joey Hauser recorded 17 points and eight rebounds, and Jaden Akins had 12 points and six rebounds as the Spartans defeated the Trojans in first-round action in Columbus, Ohio.

Tyson Walker contributed 12 points and four assists, while A.J. Hoggard added 11 points and five assists for Michigan State (20-12), which advanced to a second-round clash Sunday against second-seeded Marquette.

Joshua Morgan’s 14 points led USC (22-11). Kobe Johnson supplied 13 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, while the Trojans’ usual leading scorer, Boogie Ellis, was held to six points. Ellis, who entered the game averaging 18.0 points, shot 3-for-12 from the field before fouling out.

No. 2 Marquette 78, No. 15 Vermont 61

Kam Jones scored 18 of his 19 points in the second half to help the Golden Eagles down the Catamounts in an East Region first-round game in the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

Jones made 7-of-9 shots from the floor — including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. He scored 18 straight points for his team during a pivotal second-half sequence to propel the Golden Eagles (29-6) to their 10th straight win and notch their first NCAA Tournament victory since their run to the Elite Eight in 2013. Marquette shot a robust 51.8% from the floor (29-of-56) and 50.0% from 3-point range (10-of-20) to advance to Sunday’s second-round clash against seventh-seeded Michigan State.

Vermont (23-11) was led by Robin Duncan, Dylan Penn, and Matt Veretto, who each scored 11 points. American East Player of the Year Finn Sullivan was limited to just four points after making just 2-of-9 shots from the floor and 0-of-6 from 3-point range.

Midwest Region

No. 11 Pitt 59, No. 6 Iowa State 41

Nelly Cummings scored 13 points, and the 11th-seeded Panthers routed the sixth-seeded Cyclones in a battle of cold-shooting teams in Greensboro, N.C.

The Panthers (24-11) won despite having more turnovers (15) than field goals (14) while shooting 34.1% from the floor and 31.6% (6-of-19) on 3-pointers. Jamarius Burton added 11 points, and Greg Elliott had 10, as the Panthers advanced to face No. 3 seed Xavier.

Gabe Kalscheur and Jaren Holmes scored 12 points each, and Tre King added 11 to lead the Cyclones (19-14), who shot 23.3% from the floor and 9.5% (2-of-21) on 3-pointers.

No. 3 Xavier 72, No. 14 Kennesaw State 67

Trailing by 13 midway through the second half, the third-seeded Musketeers reeled off 15 straight points to rally past the 14th-seeded Owls in Midwest Regional first-round play at Greensboro, N.C.

Colby Jones’ free throw with 18.3 seconds left snapped the game’s final tie, then Jack Nunge swatted Terrell Burden’s go-ahead layup off the board with 7 seconds to go to save the Musketeers (26-9), who advance to face 11-seed Pittsburgh.

Burden and Chris Youngblood scored 14 points apiece, while Spencer Rodgers added 10 for Kennesaw State (26-9), which nearly topped its first winning season and first NCAA Tournament appearance with a remarkable upset.

South Region

No. 6 Creighton 72, No. 11 NC State 63

Center Ryan Kalkbrenner poured in a career-high 31 points as the sixth-seeded Bluejays withstood the 11th-seeded Wolfpack’s comeback attempts in a first-round victory in Denver.

Kalkbrenner, a junior, made 11 of 14 shots from the field and also pulled in seven rebounds, and blocked three shots. Creighton (22-12) will meet third-seeded Baylor (23-10) in Sunday’s second round. Baylor eliminated UC Santa Barbara 74-56 in the first game at the site on Friday.

NC State’s Terquavion Smith racked up 32 points — two shy of his career-high — by making 12-of-27 shots from the field with one 3-pointer and going 7-for-9 at the foul line. NC State (23-11) shot 37.5% overall from the field and went 3-for-13 on 3-pointers.

West Region

No. 4 UConn 87, No. 13 Iona 63

Adama Sanogo notched a 28-point, 13-rebound double-double to lead the fourth-seeded Huskies to a victory over the No. 13 seed Gaels in a first-round matchup in Albany, N.Y.

Sanogo made 13 of his 17 shots from the field to help the Huskies (26-8) advance to the second round, where they will face fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s on Sunday. Jordan Hawkins chipped in 13 points, Donovan Clingan posted 12, and Andre Jackson Jr. supplied 10.

Walter Clayton Jr. paced the Gaels (27-8) with 15 points. Daniss Jenkins finished with 14 points, while Berrick JeanLouis tallied 13 for Iona, which entered the tournament on a 14-game winning streak.

No. 5 Saint Mary’s 63, No. 12 VCU 51

Mitchell Saxen racked up 17 points to lead four scorers in double figures as the Gaels earned a first-round victory over the Rams in Albany, N.Y and a second-round date with No. 4 seed UConn Sunday.

Saxen was an efficient 8-for-11 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds, and blocked four shots for the Gaels (27-7). Alex Ducas also had 17 points, Augustus Marciulionis had 13, and Logan Johnson finished with 12 to go along with 10 rebounds.

Adrian Baldwin Jr. paced the Rams (27-8) with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Jayden Nunn chipped in nine points and seven rebounds for VCU, which has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2016.

–Field Level Media

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