NCAA Tournament Wrap: Controversial finish in Arkansas win

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Controversial finish in Arkansas win

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East Region | West Region | Midwest Region | South Region

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Jaylen Barford hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left to help Arkansas hold off Seton Hall 77-71 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Barford had 12 of his 20 points after halftime for the Razorbacks (26-9), the No. 8 seed in the South Region. That included his layup off Khadeen Carrington's turnover at the other end, pushing Arkansas ahead for good as the Razorbacks scored the game's final seven points.

The 6-foot-3 junior also came through with a pair of free throws with 18.3 seconds left following a whistle in which officials reviewed Desi Rodriguez's foul to stop the clock and changed it to a flagrant foul.

After Barford hit his free throws, Daryl Macon added another to make it a 75-71 game. Carrington missed a 3 at the other end in what amounted to the ninth-seeded Pirates' last gasp (see full recap).

Another tourney upset for Wichita State
INDIANAPOLIS -- Wichita State's high-flying offense didn't get off the ground until the closing minutes, when the Shockers played like the more tournament-experienced team and pulled away to a 64-58 victory over Dayton on Friday night.

The 10th-seeded Shockers (31-4) won their 16th in a row -- the second-longest streak in school history -- by clamping down on defense and swatting away shots down the stretch. Wichita State blocked eight shots and held the seventh-seeded Flyers (24-8) to a season-low 31 percent from the field.

Zach Brown's 3-pointer put Wichita State up 51-45 with 5:38 left, the biggest lead by either team up to that point, and Dayton never threatened again. Landry Shamet had 13 points.

Dayton had the experienced lineup, playing in its fourth straight NCAA Tournament with three senior starters. Point guard Scoochie Smith had 25 points (see full recap).

Rhode Island knocks off Creighton
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Jeff Dowtin scored a career-high 23 points with a perfect day at the free-throw line, upstart Rhode Island answered every threat and the Rams ran right into the next round of the NCAA Tournament by stunning cold-shooting No. 6 seed Creighton 84-72 on Friday in an opener of the Midwest Region.

Kuran Iverson scored 17 points and Hassan Martin had 12 points and eight rebounds as 11th-seeded Rhode Island (25-9) earned its ninth straight victory. The program won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since advancing to the Elite Eight and losing to Stanford in 1998.

Ronnie Harrell Jr. scored a career-high 15 points in Creighton's 40-percent shooting day (see full recap).

Kansas demolishes UC Davis
TULSA, Okla. -- Frank Mason III scored 22 points and had eight assists as top-seeded Kansas won its opening game of the NCAA Tournament for an 11th straight year with a 100-62 victory over UC Davis on Friday night.

Freshman Josh Jackson, making his return after a one-game suspension for an accumulation of embarrassing incidents, added 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Jayhawks (29-5).

The win ensures top seeds will remain perfect since the tournament expanded, with the schools now 132-0 against No. 16 seeds.

Five players finished in double figures for Kansas, with Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte' Graham adding 16 points each and Landen Lucas 13.

Chima Moneke scored 20 points to lead the 16th-seeded Aggies (23-13), who were in their first NCAA Tournament. Brynton Lemar added 17 and Siler Schneider 10 in the loss (see full recap).

USC rallies to take down SMU
TULSA, Okla. -- Elijah Stewart hit a late 3-pointer for No. 11 seed Southern California as the Trojans upset sixth seeded SMU 66-65 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

SMU's Shake Milton missed a floater at the buzzer.

Stewart had 22 points for the Trojans (26-9). Bennie Boatright and Chimezie Metu each added 14 for USC, which advances to play Baylor in the second round of the East region on Sunday.

USC also rallied from a big deficit in the second half in its First Four win over Providence.

Semi Ojeleye had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Sterling Brown had 17 points for SMU (30-5), which had won 16 straight.

SMU was in the NCAA Tournament after being banned from postseason play a year ago for multiple violations, including academic fraud and unethical conduct (see full recap).

Big 5 Hall of Fame inducts 'maybe the greatest class we've ever put together'

Big 5 Hall of Fame inducts 'maybe the greatest class we've ever put together'

About midway through Monday night's Big 5 Hall of Fame ceremony, the oldest inductee of this year's class paid homage to the youngest.

That's how much hoops legend George Raveling, a 1960 Villanova graduate, was blown away by Penn alum Ibrahim Jaaber's impassioned speech that ended with a powerful poem about how basketball saved him.

"It kept running through my mind that you represent everything good about sports," Raveling said to Jaaber. "And I hope you'll continue to use your wisdom, your influence, to make the game better, to make the world better. As a 79-year-old-man, soon to be 80 in June, I want to tell you that if I come back in the next life, I want to be like you."

That touching moment, in many ways, was a perfect encapsulation of the ties that bind the Big 5, from one generation to the next. But aside from Raveling and longtime Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Bill Lyon -- who, despite battling Alzheimer's, courageously gave an acceptance speech to a standing ovation at the Palestra -- this year's class was filled with contemporary guards who clashed in some great Big 5 games not too long ago.

Among them were two current NBA players in Saint Joseph's icon Jameer Nelson (class of 2004) and former 'Nova star Randy Foye (2006), as well as Temple's Lynn Greer (2002) and Jaaber (2007). La Salle women's player Carlene Hightower (2008) was the other member of the star-studded class defined by tough, gritty Philadelphia guards.

"The inductees here for the Hall of Fame have got to be maybe the greatest class we've ever put together," said Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who closed the night by accepting the Big 5 Coach of the Year award right after Josh Hart took home Player of the Year honors. "I grew up in Philadelphia and we always talk about what a great place the Palestra is -- and it is. But when you listen to Lynn, Randy, Coach Rav, Ibby, Jameer, you know why this is a great place. It's because of all the great man that have played here -- outstanding, humble, articulate, intelligent men that understand they're part of something that's bigger than themselves. That's what makes the Big 5. That's what makes the Palestra."

Nelson, the National Player of the Year during St. Joe’s historic 2003-04 season, certainly showed what kind of person he is, inviting all of his old Hawks teammates who were in attendance to stand behind him as he accepted his Hall of Fame award. And he even choked up at one point as he described what those teammates, coach Phil Martelli and Saint Joseph's University have meant to him as he's forged a long and fruitful NBA career.

"Without them, none of this would be possible," said Nelson, the Hawks' all-time leader in points (2,094) and assists (713). "These guys mean the world to me."

Nelson, now with the Denver Nuggets, just wrapped up his 13th season in the NBA, calling it an "unbelievable ride" for a 5-foot-11 kid from Chester. That's two more years spent in the league than Foye, who Nelson thanked for forcing him to be better back in their college days. He also called Greer one of his "great friends" and said that Jaaber's speech "touched me in so many different ways, I wish more young kids could hear it."

"I'm very grateful to be inducted with you guys," Nelson said, although he did point out that when he was at St. Joe's, the Hawks had Villanova down 43-9 at halftime one year. 

"But those next couple years, we payed y'all back," said Foye, now with the Brooklyn Nets, during his own speech.

Those rivalries were especially meaningful to Foye, who also played against Jaaber in both high school and college.

"Being from North Jersey, you never hear about the Big 5," said Foye, a first-team All-American and Big 5 Player of the Year in 2006. "For me coming here and witnessing it up close and personal, it's just something truly amazing."

Foye added that everywhere he goes, he tries to embody what a Philly guard is -- "small but play big," as he put it -- while reminding people that he's proud to be a Villanova alum. The same can be said of Raveling, a longtime college coach and executive who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

"I'm so proud to say I'm a Big 5 product -- and a proud graduate of Villanova University," Raveling said. "I look back many times and realize the wisest decision I ever made in my lifetime was to enroll at Villanova University."

Just as he opened his speech, Raveling also closed it by saying he was "proud" to enter the Big 5 Hall of Fame the same year as Jaaber, whose remarks touched on spirituality, family and a unique journey from Morocco to New Jersey to Penn.

Jaaber also made sure to thank the person who perhaps embodies the Big 5 more than anyone else: former La Salle player, former Penn coach and current Temple coach Fran Dunphy.

"I don't think I could have had a better coach for me in my situation than my Coach Dunphy," said Jaaber, the 2006-07 Big 5 Player of the Year and the all-time Ivy League leader in steals (303). "I'm almost embarrassed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame before Coach Dunphy."

Archbishop Wood basketball star Collin Gillespie signs with Villanova

Archbishop Wood basketball star Collin Gillespie signs with Villanova

Archbishop Wood's Collin Gillespie, the Philadelphia Catholic League's MVP, has signed a national letter of intent to attend Villanova and play for Jay Wright.

Gillespie, during his senior year, averaged 24.1 points per game. The 6-foot-2 guard lead Archbishop Wood to their first Catholic League title in school history and followed that up with a PIAA State Championship game victory -- also a first for the school. Along with the league MVP, Gillespie was named Player of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News.

"We are excited to have Collin and his family join the Nova Nation," Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. "Collin comes from a great program at Archbishop Wood and has been well prepared by John Mosco. His guard skills, basketball IQ and winning instincts will be a welcome addition to our program."

Gillespie will join previously announced signees Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia) and Jermaine Samuels (Rivers School, Weston, Mass.) in Villanova's class of 2021.