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Lehigh makes its own madness, knocks off 2-seed Duke

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Less than two hours after Norfolk State pulled off an NCAA tournament rarity, Lehigh made some history of its own.

The Mountain Hawks stunned second-seeded Duke 75-70 Friday night, becoming the sixth 15 seed to win an NCAA tournament game. (The odds of both teams winning on the same day? 0.72 percent)

And, just like the Spartans did in their win against No. 2 Missouri, Lehigh (27-7) outplayed the Blue Devils from the opening tip, displaying more quickness and savvy, not to mention the game’s best player in junior C.J. McCollum.

The two-time Patriot League player of the year — and the nation’s fifth-leading scorer — dominated the game, leading all scorers with 30 points, not to mention grabbing seven rebounds and dishing six  assists.

“They had the best player on the court tonight in McCollum,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He’s been their player of the year, and he’s really one of the outstanding players in the country. You could see why tonight.”

According to oddsmakers, it wasn’t a bigger upset than Norfolk State’s victory, but it might be a more notable win given Duke’s place in college basketball history: four NCAA tournament titles, 15 Final Fours and a coach in Krzyzewski who has more Big Dance wins than any other coach. It’s just the fourth time in 28 career appearances than his team has lost in the first round.

But none of those other losses were close to this.

Duke was playing in Greensboro, N.C., just 55 miles from its campus, yet looked out of sorts from the start. It couldn’t connect from beyond the arc (just 6 of 26 from deep) and trailed for most of the first half. It looked as though the Mountain Hawks would pull away at the end — they led 61-54 with two minutes left — but Duke managed to narrow the gap thanks to some free throws and two 3-pointers.

That wasn’t enough, at least for Duke.

For Lehigh, it was a March moment.

“We saw on the selection show we had Duke and we thought we could match up very well against them,” forward John Adams said. “We all believed it and we showed it on the floor. Everybody bought into that idea that we could beat them. The rest is history.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.