Bill Wippert / AP
Published Saturday, March 22, 2014 | 5:34 p.m.
Updated Saturday, March 22, 2014 | 9:56 p.m.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Shabazz Napier scored 25 points in leading Connecticut to a 77-65 win over second-seeded Villanova in the third round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night.
Villanova became the highest seed to be knocked out of the tournament so far, and the Wildcats' loss came on the heels of another upset in Buffalo. The game was played immediately after Dayton, the South Region's 11th seed, beat third-seeded Syracuse 55-53.
Seventh-seeded Connecticut (28-8) advanced to New York City next week, when they'll play the winner of Sunday's third-round game between third-seeded Iowa State and sixth-seeded North Carolina.
Ryan Arcidiacono scored 18 points for Villanova (29-5) in a matchup of two former Big East rivals.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie improved to 2-0 in his tournament debut, two years since taking over after Jim Calhoun stepped down because of health issues, and a year after the Huskies were barred from postseason play because of academic sanctions.
Wisconsin 85, Oregon 77: In a test of tempos, Wisconsin delivered the knockout punch.
Ben Brust hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 left and the second-seeded Badgers overcame seventh-seeded Oregon's transition game for a thrilling 85-77 win Saturday night to get into the Sweet 16.
Brust's clutch 3 from the corner gave the Badgers (28-7) the lead for good in a clash of styles played before a boisterous pro-Wisconsin crowd at the anything-but-neutral Bradley Center.
Traevon Jackson followed with three free throws, but missed one with 21 seconds left to give the Ducks (24-10) one more chance to tie trailing by three.
Oregon gave it to Joseph Young, who had made big shots all night and scored 29 points. But he missed a rushed 3 from the wing, and the Badgers sealed it at the foul line.
The red-clad fans erupted into a deafening roar. Their beloved Badgers are back in the NCAA regional semifinals for the first time since 2012. They will play Baylor or Creighton in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday.
Frank Kaminsky led the way with 19 points, Jackson finished with 16 and Brust had 12.
Left off-kilter by the Ducks transition game early and trailing by 12 at the half, the Badgers hustled back in the second half to answer the Oregon charge and frustrate their foes in the half court.
That pace played more their liking. Buckets in the lane by Kaminsky, a jump-shooting 7-footer, and coach Bo Ryan's gritty guards set the tone inside, and later helped open up the perimeter.
As had often happened during the night, Young had an answer. His 3 from the wing with 2:50 left to give Oregon a 75-74 lead.
The Badgers hustled for offensive rebounds on their next possession. Off a timeout, Ryan re-inserted Brust, who was saddled with four fouls.
The senior delivered in a huge spot. Young couldn't deliver one last time.
Jason Calliste had 20 points for Oregon, which set the tone early with in-your-face defense and an aggressive offense.
Wisconsin found its groove by attacking the basket, a plan that has worked all year long when the team has been having problems. Sam Dekker added 12 points and eight rebounds in another typically balanced effort.
In the first half, it was Oregon dictating tempo in setting a breakneck pace.
The Ducks quieted the sea of fans in a hurry, attacking on offense at nearly every opportunity and flustering Wisconsin. The frustration peaked when the Badgers bench was whistled for a technical foul near the end of the first half after arguing a call.
Oregon pounced in the first 20 minutes. Sometimes it was Calliste driving to the bucket to draw fouls. Other times it was Young hitting mid-range jumpers.
Then Wisconsin found its way in the second half.
Despite the disappointing ending, Oregon had regrouped quite well since a midseason stretch of eight losses in 10 games.
Michigan 80, Harvard 73: Branden Dawson scored a career-high 26 points to help fourth-seeded Michigan State fend off a wild Harvard rally Saturday for an 80-73 victory in the NCAA tournament.
The 12th-seeded Crimson (27-5) trailed by 16 early in the second half but took a 62-60 lead when Laurent Rivard hit a 3-pointer with 7:12 remaining. Travis Trice answered with a 3 of his own on the next possession and the Spartans (28-8) never trailed again.
Michigan State made its 12th Sweet 16 in the last 17 years. Gary Harris had 18 points and five assists for the Spartans, who will play Virginia or Memphis next Friday at Madison Square Garden.
Wesley Saunders led Harvard with 22 points. The Crimson won the second tournament game in school history two nights ago.
Dayton 55, Syracuse 53: Dyshawn Pierre scored 14 points and Jordan Sibert hit a key 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds left as Dayton stunned Syracuse 55-53 on Saturday night to earn a spot in Sweet 16 for the first time in three decades.
Syracuse was poised to pull out another close victory, but Tyler Ennis' 3-point attempt clanged off the rim at the buzzer.
Dayton (25-10), the 11th seed in the South Regional, advances to the regional semifinals next week and will play Kansas or Stanford.
The third-seeded Orange (28-6), who finished second in their first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, struggled all game against the swarming Dayton defense, missing all 10 attempts from beyond the arc, while the Flyers hit seven times from long range.
San Diego State 63, North Dakota State 44: Xavier Thames dropped in 3s from deep, finessed floaters in the lane and carried San Diego State the way he did all season as the Mountain West player of the year.
Thames would not let North Dakota State become this year's version of Florida Gulf Coast by sending the Aztecs home in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Thames scored 30 points, and fourth-seeded San Diego State reached the round of 16 for the second time in school history, ending the run of No. 12 seed North Dakota State.
The Aztecs (31-4) now get to make the short drive up the interstate to Anaheim, Calif., where they will face either No. 1 seed Arizona or eighth-seeded Gonzaga in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday.
Thames, who was 9 of 19 from the field, had five assists and ended the comeback hopes of the Bison with a six-point spurt late in the second half that pushed the Aztecs' lead to 12. He finished one shy of his career-high in points.
Dwayne Polee II was the only other San Diego State player in double figures with 15, but the Aztecs didn't need a ton of scoring with Thames carrying the load and another defensive performance that suffocated the best shooting team in the country.
Florida 61, Pittsburgh 45: Scottie Wilbekin sat on the bench for the final minute, holding a bag of ice against his left knee.
It was about the only time he wasn't giving Pittsburgh huge problems on both ends of the court.
Wilbekin scored 21 points, including 11 of the team's 13 during a 7-minute stretch in the second half, and top-seeded Florida handled the Panthers. The Gators' 28th consecutive win put them in the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year.
The latest victory followed a lackluster and head-scratching performance in the team's NCAA opener against Albany two days earlier.
The Gators vowed to play with more energy and intensity, and Wilbekin spearheaded the effort.
"We just wanted to come out and not let them play harder than us or not play as hard as we can," Wilbekin said. "I think we did a good job of having our energy up at the start of the game, and we played together on offense and played together on defense."
Michigan 79, Texas 65: Nik Stauskas and Michigan figured out the best way to overcome Texas' advantage inside.
Just keeping hitting from long range.
Stauskas made four of Michigan's 14 3-pointers, and the Wolverines beat the Longhorns 79-65 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
Stauskas finished with 17 points and eight assists as Michigan (27-8) moved on to next week's Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis. The second-seeded Wolverines will face the winner of Sunday's Mercer-Tennessee game.
Michigan lost to Louisville in the national championship game a year ago. But the Wolverines are rolling again, thanks to strong outside shooting and Jordan Morgan's work inside.
Isiah Taylor scored 22 points for Texas on 8-for-22 shooting. The seventh-seeded Longhorns (24-11) outrebounded the Wolverines 41-30, but got off to a slow start and never recovered.
Louisville 66, Saint Louis 51: Louisville didn't need a big game from Russ Smith to get back to the Sweet 16.
Luke Hancock scored 21 points and the defending national champions shrugged off a cold shooting performance to beat Saint Louis 66-51 and advance to the round of 16 for the third straight year.
The fourth-seeded Cardinals (31-5) shot under 45 percent, had 19 turnovers and only got 11 points from Smith, their star. It didn't matter with the fifth-seeded Billikens (27-7) going 0 for 15 from 3-point range and struggling to take care of the basketball.
Louisville moves on the Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis against either No. 1 seed Wichita State or No. 8 seed Kentucky. The unbeaten Shockers and Wildcats meet Sunday in St. Louis.
Saint Louis, which has never been to the Sweet 16, lost in the third round for the third consecutive year. Dwayne Evans led the Billikens with 16 points and Atlantic 10 player of the year Jordair Jett finished with 15.