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NCAA Tournament: Zion Williamson helps Duke survive upset bid from Central Florida

UPDATED: Sun., March 24, 2019

Central Florida center Tacko Fall, right, defends against Duke forward Zion Williamson during a second-round game on Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford / AP)
Central Florida center Tacko Fall, right, defends against Duke forward Zion Williamson during a second-round game on Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford / AP)
Associated Press

Zion Williamson made a layup over 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall in the closing seconds and RJ Barrett’s putback provided the margin of victory as top-seeded Duke held off UCF 77-76 on Sunday in the East Region in Columbia, South Carolina, to reach the Sweet 16.

Aubrey Dawkins finished with 32 points for UCF, but his tip-in try for the win just missed with less than two seconds left.

Williamson also had 32 points, including the layup over Fall with 14.4 seconds left and his team trailing 76-73. Williamson was fouled on the play by Fall and missed the free throw. But with Fall out of the game with his fifth foul, Barrett was able to snare the rebound and scored on the putback to put the Blue Devils (31-5) ahead.

Ninth-seeded UCF (24-9) had a final chance, but B.J. Taylor missed on a drive to the hoop and then Dawkins’ tip attempt rolled around the rim and stayed out.

Barrett finished with 16 points.

Virginia Tech 67, Liberty 58: Kerry Blackshear had 19 points and nine rebounds as fourth-seeded Virginia Tech topped Liberty in San Jose, California, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 52 years.

Ahmed Hill added 14 points and Justin Robinson scored 13 to help the Hokies (25-8) beat their in-state rivals and advance to a matchup with top-seeded Duke.

Darius McGhee scored 15 points to lead Liberty (29-7), which won its first tournament game ever on Friday against Mississippi State. Caleb Homesley was held to eight points on 3-for-11 shooting after scoring 30 points to key the first-round upset.

Midwest Region

Houston 74, Ohio State 59: Houston’s fans chanted “Sweet 16” in the final minute of the Cougars’ win over the Buckeyes in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The celebration was long overdue – 35 years, to be exact – since the Cougars have made this trip.

Corey Davis scored 21 points to help Houston defeat Ohio State in a second-round game.

It marked the Cougars’ 33rd win of the season – breaking the record set by the 1983-84 team for the most wins in a season. That squad was the last to reach the Sweet 16 and advanced to the national championship game.

Galen Robinson added 13 points for Houston (33-3), which will face Kentucky.

C.J. Jackson scored 18 points and Kaleb Wesson added 15 for Ohio State (20-15).

West Region

Texas Tech 78, Buffalo 58: Jarrett Culver had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in third-seeded Texas Tech’s rout of the Buffalo Bulls in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Norense Odiase contributed a season-high 14 points and 15 rebounds for Texas Tech (28-6), which has won 11 of its last 12 contests and reached the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Nick Perkins had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Buffalo (32-4), which had won 13 straight. Leading scorer C.J. Massinburg, who averaged 18.3 points per game, had just two in the first half and four after eight minutes of the second before picking up 10 more down the stretch with the game already decided.

South Region

Virginia 63, Oklahoma 51: Surprise starter Mamadi Diakite scored 14 points and had nine rebounds as No. 1 seed Virginia beat Oklahoma in Columbia, South Carolina, leading nearly the entire game.

The Cavaliers (31-3) led for all but three minutes of the second-round contest and cranked up its trademark, stifling defense. The Sooners (20-14) hit just four of their last 18 shots in the first half and trailed 31-22 at the break.

After Kihel Clark’s putback on the first possession of the second half, Virginia’s lead never dipped below 10 again as the Cavaliers held Oklahoma to 36.5 percent shooting.

Ty Jerome added 12 points and Braxton Key had nine for the Cavaliers.

Brady Manek and Chistian James each scored 12 for the Sooners.

Tennessee 83, Iowa 77 (OT): Two-time SEC player of the year Grant Williams scored six points in overtime and Tennessee held off Iowa in Columbus, Ohio, to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years.

Williams had a pair of free throws, two jumpers, and a strip in overtime that helped the Vols (31-5) pull it out and match their school record for wins in a season. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Admiral Schofield scored 17 of his 19 points in the Vols’ blistering first half.

Tenth-seeded Iowa (23-12) fell behind by 25 points and nearly pulled off a monumental upset, sending it to overtime tied at 71, the first overtime game in this year’s tournament.

Jordan Bohannon scored 18 for Iowa, which never led but managed to tie it twice after falling so far behind.

Oregon 73, UC Irvine 54: Ehab Amin sparked the Ducks out of a long drought to start the second half and Oregon became the lone double-digit seed to advance to the Sweet 16 by beating the Anteaters in San Jose, California.

Payton Pritchard led 12th-seeded Oregon (25-12) with 18 points, Louis King added 16 and Amin had 12 points and three steals.

The Ducks have won 10 straight after a lackluster start to the season and will play top-seeded Virginia in the South Regional semifinal on Thursday.

After going more than seven minutes without scoring to start the second half and squandering all of a 12-point lead, Oregon used a 15-3 run to take control and end a 17-game winning streak for the 13th-seeded Anteaters (31-6).

Amin started it with a 3-pointer and caused two turnovers. Pritchard scored seven points in the spurt, and the game quickly turned into a laugher.

Robert Cartwright scored 14 points and Evan Leonard added 11 for UC Irvine, which came into the game with longest active winning streak in the nation.

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