PITTSBURGH — Defending national champion North Carolina and No. 1 seed Xavier were among the top teams eliminated in the second-round of the 2018 March Madness NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 18.
Second-seeds Michigan State and Cincinnati both also failed to advance to the Sweet 16 of this year’s tournament, as the upsets continued on day three.
Third-seeded North Carolina suffered a disappointing 86-65 defeat to seventh-seeded Texas A&M in front of the large gathering in its home state at the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte.
T.J. Starks scored 21 points on 7 of 15 shooting with five assists to lead the Aggies (22-12), who led 42-28 at halftime and then quickly pushed the lead to 20 points with less than two minutes into the second half.
Tyler Davis had 18 points and nine rebounds, DJ Hogg added 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals and Admon Gilder ended with 12 points for Texas A&M, which overpowered North Carolina inside, especially off the glass.
Robert Williams made all three of his shots for eight points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Aggies, who dominated the reigning champion 50-36 in the rebounding column.
Joel Berry II scored 21 points with five rebounds in his final game for North Carolina, which suffered its most-unbalanced NCAA Tournament loss under Roy Williams.
Luke Maye closed out his UNC career with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, but went just 6 of 16 from the floor.
The Tar Heels (26-11), who trailed by as many as 24 in the second half, shot just 33 percent, including 6 for 31 across 3-pointers.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Also losing in the second round on Sunday was No. 1 seed Xavier, which went down 75-70 to very a determined Florida State team.
Braian Angola led five Seminoles in double figures with 16 points to go with six rebounds, while Trent Forrest added 14 points and PJ Savoy ended with 11, including a big 3-pointer with 1:08 left which gave Florida State a 71-70 lead and its first advantage of the second half.
Phil Cofer and Terance Mann each had 10 points for the Seminoles (22-11), who shot 50-percent after halftime and rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat the Musketeers and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
J.P. Macura scored 17 points with five rebounds for the Xavier (29-6), Kerem Kanter had 15 and six boards and Paul Scruggs scored 11 points in the defeat for Musketeers, who led by 12 points with 10:42 left in the game.
In another eye-popping score, No. 3 seed Michigan State, one of the favored teams picked at the start of the NCAA Tournament to go all the way, went out in the second round, following a 55-53 defeat to eleventh-seeded Syracuse, the last team picked for the field of 68 on Selection Sunday.
Elsewhere in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, No. 2 seeded Cincinnati blew a 22 point second half advantage and suffered a 75-73 defeat to seventh-seeded Nevada, 16th-seeded UMBC, which stunned No. 1 overall seed Virginia in the first round, was beaten 50-43 by ninth-seeded Kansas State, while second-seeded Purdue holds off No. 10 seed Butler 76-73, No. 5 seed Clemson routed fourth-seeded Auburn 84-53 and fifth-seeded West Virginia scored an easy 94-71 victory over 13th-seeded Marshall.
NCAA Tournament – March Madness Scores
Second Round Games
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Spectrum Arena (Charlotte, North Carolina)
(7)Texas A&M Aggies 86, (2) North Carolina Tar Heels 65
(9) Kansas State Wildcats 50, (16) UMBC Retrievers 43
Little Caesars Arena (Detroit)
(2) Purdue 76, (10) Butler 73
Syracuse 55, Michigan State 53
Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, Tennessee)
(7) Nevada Wolf Pack 75, (2) Cincinnati Bearcats 73
(9) Florida State Seminoles 75, (1) Xavier Musketeers 70
Viejas Arena (San Diego)
(5) Clemson Tigers 84, (4) Auburn Tigers 53
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers 94, (13) Marshall Thundering Herd 71