LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sporting Alert) — NC State stunned No. 1 seed Villanova in the biggest shock, while Kentucky’s undefeated run continues in the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
After a very closely battle in the first half, which saw NC State taking a 32-28 lead on a Trevor Lacey made 3-point jumper, the Wolfpack (22-13) took control of the game midway in the second half to secure a 71-68 win, as the Wildcats struggled to knock down their shots.
In the end, Lacey finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead the way for the eighth-seeded NC State, who shot got 13 points and 12 rebounds from Abdul-Malik Abu and 13 points from Anthony Barber.
Lennard Freeman also grabbed a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds in the victory as the Wolfpack moved into the Sweet 16.
Darrun Hilliard II scored a game-high 27 points for Villanova (33-3), which had its 16-game winning streak snapped at the wrong time.
JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 points in the defeat for the Wildcats, who have not won more than one game in the NCAA tournament in six-years.
Earlier in the day, No. 1 Kentucky endured another slow start to book its Sweet 16 spot with a 64-51 battling victory over Cincinnati.
The win pushed the Wildcats to 36-0 on the season, as the race for the national title continues.
Aaron Harrison finished with 13 points and Trey Lyles added 11 points and 11 rebounds in the team win for Kentucky, which shot just 37-percent from the field and was out rounded 45-38.
Tony Parker scored a career-best 28 points and led four other starters in double figures as 11th-seeded UCLA defeated 14th-seeded UAB 92-75 to advance to the Sweet 16 as well on Saturday.
Parker, who went 11-for-14 from the field, also grabbed 12 rebounds and had three block shots in the win.
“The selection committee thought we were good enough to play in this tournament, and I think we proved it,” Parker told reporters after the win.
Bryce Alford connected on 3 of his 5 three pointers on his way to scoring 22 points and five rebounds, Norman Powell added 15 points, Isaac Hamilton finished with 13 and seven assists and Kevon Looney added a double-double of 10 and 11 rebounds for the Bruins (22-13), who were advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second successive season.
Robert Brown scored 25 points to lead the way for UAB (20-16), which surprisingly defeated Iowa State 60-59 in the second round on Thursday.
William Lee was the only other player in double figures for the Blazers after finished with 10 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
With the win at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, UCLA became the 7th club since the 2010 season to progress to the Sweet 16 as an 11th seed.
The Bruins, who out rebounded UAB 41-26, shot 60.3 percent from the field on 35-for-58, while knocking down 5 of their 9 three-point attempts.
They will now face the winner of the clash between Gonzaga and Iowa on Friday in the South Regional semifinal in Houston.
In other results on Saturday, the fifth-seeded Utah pulled away late in the second for a 75-64 win against No. 4 seed Georgetown, while second-seed Arizona crushed 10th seed Ohio State 73-58 and sixth-seed Xavier took care of 14th seed Georgia State 75-67.
NCAA Tournament Scores
RESULTS BOX SCORE LINKS
(11) UCLA 92, (14) UAB 75
(1) Kentucky 64, (8) Cincinnati 51
(2) Arizona 73, (10) Ohio State 58
(6) Xavier 75, (14) Georgia St 67
(8) NC State 71, (1) Villanova 68
(5) Utah 75, (4) Georgetown 64
(4) North Carolina 87, (5) Arkansas 78
(3) Notre Dame 67, (6) Butler 64