For one half of play, it looked like a typical tournament contest in the first round on Thursday night, but the Arizona Wildcats played their worst half of the season at the worst possible time. After trailing by just two at the break, fourth-seeded Arizona fell to the 13th-seeded Buffalo Bulls, 89-68. Arizona was outscored, 49-30, in the final 20 minutes by the Bulls, who were led by Wes Clark's 25 points. The win was the biggest upset of the opening round thus far and was the Bulls' first tournament win in program history. They finished at 54 percent shooting and hit half of their shots from three-point range. Conversely, the Wildcats finished at 2-for-18 from three-point range, while their star big man, Deandre Ayton, had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Other contributors for the Bulls included 23 points from Jeremy Harris and 19 from CJ Massinburg. This upset loss is also history in the sense that the Wildcats were the final of six Pac-12 teams left in the tournament field. It is the first time since the 1996-1997 season that one of the six major conferences were without a team in the Round of 32. The Bulls will move on in the South Region to take on fifth-seeded Kentucky, who beat Davidson, on Saturday.
Miami Falls to Loyola Chicago on Buzzer-Beater
The upsets did begin earlier in the day on Thursday, as the meaning of March Madness was demonstrated on the Miami Hurricanes. Donte Ingram nailed a long three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the 11th-seeded Loyola Chicago Ramblers over the sixth-seeded Hurricanes, 64-62, The win comes in their first NCAA Tournament game in 33 years, and comes despite getting out-shot overall and from three-point range. Ingram finished with 13 points, including 3-for-8 from three-point range, with the biggest one coming with no time left. The Ramblers' tournament win comes after they tied a school record for wins with 29, matching the number set by the 1963 National Championship team. They did all of this under head coach Jim Larranaga, who led George Mason to the Final Four in 2006. His team is also now on an 11-game win streak, which is the longest for them since, once again, 1963. The Hurricanes were enjoying their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, and led for most of the second half before the late-game heroics. Officials did put 0.3 seconds back on the clock after the three-pointer, which gave the Hurricanes a shot at a desperation heave, which was to no avail. Loyola Chicago now moves to the Round of 32 to take on the third-seeded Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday.
Blazers, Raptors Roll With Win Streaks
The two hottest teams in the NBA kept things moving on Friday night, led by the Portland Trail Blazers, who extended their win streak to 11 games with a 113-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. C.J. McCollum had 29 points to help the Blazers extend their NBA-long win streak despite getting out-shot on the night. Damian Lillard added 23 for Portland, who is on their longest win streak since winning 11 straight in 2013, as they have also won eight in a row at home. The win for Portland helped them overcome LeBron James' monster effort, as "The King" finished with 35 points in the loss for the Cavs. The Blazers will put their win streak on the line on Saturday night against the struggling Detroit Pistons. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors are trying to solidify their top spot in the conference with what is now a 10-game win streak. They got this far with a 106-99 win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, led by DeMar DeRozan's 24 points. Jonas Valanciunas added a double-double of 16 points and 17 rebounds for Toronto, who overcame 20 turnovers to hold off Indiana down the stretch. After trailing by eight at the break, they were able to outscore the Pacers by 15 in the final 24 minutes. The Raptors have also won 17 of their past 18 overall, as they are now tied for their longest win streak in franchise history, which was set in January of 2016. They will be right back at it on Friday night at home against the Dallas Mavericks.