The 11th-seeded Xavier Musketeers are heading to their first Elite 8 since 2008, as they held off No. 2 Arizona down the stretch for a 73-71 victory Thursday night. Sean O'Mara scored with under 40 seconds left to put Xavier ahead for good, as they shot nearly 53 percent from the field. Trevon Bluiett led the way with 25 points, as his school is heading to their third Elite 8 overall, and will be in action on Saturday. Allonzo Trier had 19 points, including 15 straight in the second half for the Wildcats, who blew an eight-point lead with four minutes left. It was the second time in the last three years that these two teams went at it in the Sweet 16, as the first one went in Arizona's favor. Xavier looks to continue their improbable run, despite a six-game losing streak late in the season, and the loss of point guard Edmond Sumner to a torn ACL.
Oregon, Gonzaga Hang on For Sweet 16 Wins
Two favorites to win it all in this year's tournament were involved in close Sweet 16 battles on Thursday night, both of whom hung on to advance. First, Tyler Dorsey had 20 points, including a go-ahead layup with 1:08 left, to lift the Oregon Ducks past the Michigan Wolverines, 69-68. The Wolverines were the story of the tourney after a Big Ten Tournament run following a terrifying plane accident. Derrick Walton Jr. missed a three-pointer at the buzzer to end their season, as the senior finished with 20 points in the loss. Jordan Bell had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Ducks, who are heading to their second straight Elite 8. Meanwhile, the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs are hoping this season is actually their season, and inched closer to that dream by holding off West Virginia in the Sweet 16, 61-58. Gonzaga ended the game on a 6-0 run, as Jordan Mathews hit the game-winning three with under a minute left for the win. Jevon Carter missed two potential tying three-pointers in the final seconds, ending the Mountaineers' run. The 35-1 Bulldogs are heading to their third Elite 8, including their second in three seasons. They will take on the upset-minded Xavier Musketeers Saturday night.
Kansas Rolls Past Purdue on to Elite 8
The Kansas Jayhawks had no problems getting by the Purdue Boilermakers on Thursday night, advancing to the Elite 8 to battle the Oregon Ducks with a 98-66 blowout victory. Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham led the way with 26 points apiece for the Jayhawks, who are one win away from their first Final Four since 2012. Josh Jackson added 15 points and 12 rebounds, as Kansas recorded their third consecutive blowout win in this tournament. They've also blown past UC Davis and Michigan State in the Midwest Region. Kansas turned a seven-point halftime lead into a rout by outscoring Purdue, 51-26, in the second half. Caleb Swanigan had 18 points and seven rebounds in the loss for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers.