N.C.A.A. Tournament: Miami Wastes 21-Point Lead Before Holding Off Wichita State


Miami’s Kamari Murphy batting for a rebound with Wichita State’s Anton Grady in the first half Saturday. The Hurricanes advanced to the round of 16.

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Angel Rodriguez took over after Miami squandered a 21-point lead midway through the second half, hitting a big 3-pointer with 72 seconds remaining and scoring 28 points to lead the third-seeded Hurricanes over Wichita State, 65-57, on Saturday in Providence, R.I., to advance to the round of 16 of the N.C.A.A. tournament.

Miami (27-7) made it that far three years ago under Jim Larranaga, in his fifth season as head coach. Sheldon McClellan finished with 18 points and Davon Reed added 10 points for the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes will play Iowa or Villanova next weekend in Louisville in the South Region semifinals.

Fred VanVleet and Shaquille Morris each had 12 points and Ron Baker 11 for the 11th-seeded Wichita State (26-9), which put on a furious rally in the second half of a bruising game, taking a 43-42 lead with 10 minutes 24 seconds to go.

After Baker’s 3-pointer gave Wichita State its first lead, Ja’Quan Newton had a slam dunk to put Miami back on top and McClellan scored 8 straight points for some separation.

McClellan nearly gave it away, though, when he failed to convert a lob from Rodriguez with 2:59 left and Miami clinging to a 55-51 lead.

Rodriguez came back with a stunning hook off the glass for a 57-53 lead with 2:05 left and followed with a clutch 3-pointer from the wing.

With their fans cheering “We shock! We shock!” the Shockers erased the daunting deficit with another gutsy performance in the second.

Zach Brown made a 3-pointer and VanVleet followed with a steal and another 3 — both baskets in a span of 11 seconds — and Morris’s hook in the lane off a steal by Baker closed the gap to 9 with nearly 16 minutes left, plenty of time for a comeback for the team that won a play-in game and then upset sixth-seeded Arizona in the opening round.

Baker then set up Markis McDuffie for a 3 and Morris set a perfect screen on Rodriguez at the top of the key to free VanVleet for a driving layup through the paint.

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Larranaga was whistled for a technical after protesting a call as the Hurricanes struggled to hold their edge. That margin finally disappeared when Baker drained a 3 for the 43-42 lead.

Much of the focus figured to center on the performance of the backcourts featuring four seniors — VanVleet and Baker against Rodriguez and McClellan. The Miami tandem is a bit older, but the Shockers had more tournament experience.

Age took over at the start and came through at the end.

Rodriguez was 7 for 7 for 16 points in the opening half, scoring 11 points in the first eight minutes as Wichita State struggled to find room to shoot, missing its first five 3-pointer attempts and hitting only 1 of 12 shots.

It got much worse as the Hurricanes gave the Shockers a taste of their own medicine. The top defensive team in the nation was torched for 12-of-15 shooting in the first 12 minutes as Miami outscored the Shockers by 18-0 in the paint and forced seven turnovers, taking a 21-point lead on a scoop by McClellan at 8:27.

VanVleet set up Baker for a 3 from the wing to start an 11-0 Wichita State run and the Shockers clamped down defensively, forcing five turnovers while holding the Hurricanes scoreless for more than five minutes.

CREIGHTON 87, WAGNER 54 Geoffrey Groselle scored 18 points, on 7-of-7 shooting, and grabbed nine rebounds to help No. 4-seeded Creighton beat eighth-seeded Wagner in a second-round N.I.T. game in Omaha.

Zach Hanson scored 14, Khyri Thomas added 13 points and James Milliken had 12, all on 3-pointers, for Creighton. Maurice Watson Jr. finished with 9 points and 8 assists.

The Bluejays (20-14) scored 8 points in a row to take a 10-3 lead. Wagner’s Aaren Edmead answered with a 3-pointer to make it a 4-point game, but the Seahawks (23-11) went nearly eight minutes without another made field goal.

Creighton used a 12-3 run during that stretch to push its lead to 22-9 on a 3-point play by Hanson with 11:16 left in the half and led by double figures the rest of the way.

Wagner made a season-low six field goals and shot just 25 percent in the first half as Creighton took a 46-25 lead into the break.

Creighton held a 47-28 rebounding edge, shot 56 percent from the field and limited the Seahawks to a season-worst 27.9 percent shooting (17 of 61).

Michael Carey scored 13 to lead Wagner.

The Bluejays will face second-seeded Brigham Young University (25-10) in a quarterfinal matchup Tuesday.

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