Arkansas ousts defending champ Kansas from March Madness

Getty Images

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas’ national title defense ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday when Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV made five free throws in the closing seconds and the eighth-seeded Razorbacks beat the No. 1 seed Jayhawks 72-71.

Davonte Davis scored 25 points and Council added 21 as Arkansas rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit. Kansas, playing without ailing coach Bill Self, became the second top seed not to escape the tournament’s first weekend after Purdue lost on Friday night to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.

Arkansas (22-13) and coach Eric Musselman return to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. The Razorbacks will play either Saint Mary’s or UConn in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Musselman and his players rushed to a group of fans sitting courtside after the final buzzer. The 58-year-old coach ripped his polo shirt off, waved it over his head and shouted with joy.

“That’s such an unbelievable win for our program,” Musselman said. “I keep telling people that we’re getting better. Not many teams can get better this time of year. I’ve never been prouder of a team like tonight.”

Self has been with the Jayhawks (28-8) since they arrived in Des Moines and has attended practices and meetings, but he still didn’t feel well enough to coach a game after having a heart procedure March 8 to clear clogged arteries.

Longtime assistant Norm Roberts was acting coach for a fifth straight game in Self’s absence.

Kansas, bidding to become the first repeat national champion since Florida in 2006-07, was ahead 35-27 at halftime and lost for the first time in 27 games when entering the second half with a lead. Kansas had been 47-0 in the NCAA Tournament when leading by eight points or more at the half.

Davis scored 21 of his points in the second half. He fouled out with 1:56 left, turning things over to the veteran Council, a transfer from Wichita State who scored nine of the Razorbacks’ final 11 points.

“This team was struggling and we figured it out,” Davis said. “I’m glad we did at the right time. Hopefully we continue to do it.”

Outside the locker room a few minutes later, a sobbing Musselman hugged Davis and shouted, “I (expletive) love you, man!”

Council’s free throw put Arkansas ahead to stay, 68-67, with 24 seconds left. He then rebounded his own miss of the second free throw and made two more to give the Razorbacks a three-point lead.

The teams traded free throws, and Arkansas sent Kansas’ Jalen Wilson to the line with 3 seconds left to prevent a potential tying 3-pointer. Wilson made the first free throw and appeared to try to miss the second intentionally, but it banked hard off the glass and in, and Kansas never regained possession.

Wilson led the Jayhawks with 20 points.

Arkansas was playing a No. 1 seed for the third straight year. Last year, the Razorbacks knocked out Gonzaga on the way to their second straight Elite Eight.

Arkansas, which beat Illinois in the first round, was considered a scary matchup for the Jayhawks with its explosive transition game and ability to play lockdown defense.

But circumstances were less than ideal for the Razorbacks. Guard Anthony Black tweaked a nagging ankle injury early and went to the bench to get re-taped and change shoes, and fellow guard and projected high NBA first-round draft pick Nick Smith Jr. picked up two quick fouls and was limited to 10 minutes and no points in the first half. Also, big man Kamani Johnson was ill and played with a sore toe.

The Razorbacks were too eager to shoot 3-pointers early. They missed 8 of 9 in the first half and couldn’t get their running game going.

Kansas looked in full control early. The Jayhawks got their fans out of their seats with a series of electric plays that included Gradey Dick’s fast-break dunk off Dajuan Harris’ steal, Wilson’s contested inside basket on an and-one and his primal scream directed at Arkansas fans, and Joseph Yesufu’s high-arcing 3 from the logo to beat the shot clock.

Davis started a game-turning 11-0 Arkansas run in the middle of the second half and Jordan Walsh’s 3-pointer with eight minutes left gave the Razorbacks their first lead since their first basket of the game. Davis rushed over, chest-bumped Walsh and raised his arms to ask Arkansas fans for more noise.

Arkansas neutralized Wilson when it mattered most, allowing the All-American only two shots over a 15-minute stretch of the second half.

Arkansas is in the Sweet 16 for the 14th time. The only lower-seeded Razorbacks team to reach a regional semifinal was the 1996 squad, which was a No. 12.

Teague scores 23, No. 2 Baylor beats Kansas State 100-69

Tim Flores-USA TODAY Sports

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Baylor returned from a week-long pause due to COVID-19 concerns and didn’t miss a beat.

MaCio Teague had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Davion Mitchell scored 20 points and No. 2 Baylor beat Kansas State 100-69 on Saturday.

Jared Butler had 14 points and 13 assists for his first career double-double with the Bears (5-0, 1-0 Big 12), and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua scored 13 points.

“Butler is full of brilliance and very efficient,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “I think it started on the defensive end and the offensive end followed.”

Antonio Gordon led the Wildcats (3-5, 1-1) with 23 points on 9-of-9 shooting, and Selton Miguel scored 14 points. Gordon is the eighth player in school history to be perfect from the field with at least nine shots attempted.

This was the first game back for Baylor in a week, after the school paused team activity as part of coronavirus protocols.

“There was definitely was an excitement for us to be here and to play again,” Drew said. “Every time you play it’s a joy and a privilege.”

The Bears shot 64% in the first half, including seven 3-pointers, to lead by 29 at the half.

“It’s really hard to guard us, so I wasn’t too surprised,” Mitchell said.

Baylor (5-0, 1-0 Big 12) finished shooting 58% while the Wildcats shot 47%. The Bears made 14 3-pointers while Kansas State connected on six.

“They kicked our butt,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “I knew it would not be easy because they can beat you in so many ways.”

Kansas State turned the ball over 14 times. The Bears scored 21 points off those mistakes. Baylor also dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Wildcats 41-25.

“After the game I told them how special Baylor is,” Weber said. “They do a lot of good things, but we need to learn from it.”

Teague nailed three 3s and scored 12 of the first 15 points for Baylor while Tchamwa Tchatchoua scored 13 points on three alley-oop dunks by halftime.

“His energy really sparked us in the first half,” Drew said. “Making shots helps for the spacing and the execution was really well done.”

NO. 1 VS NO. 2

Drew said Baylor would try to reschedule a canceled game against No. 1 Gonzaga but that obstacles remained.

“There’s a lot we have to do for that to happen with CBS and league policy,” Drew said. “We hope it’s rescheduled for April in the tournament. I know both us coaches would love to play each other then.”

In the meantime, Baylor is in the process of scheduling another nonconference opponent before the new year.


Baylor: The Bears looked to pick up right where they left off before their pause. If they shoot as well as they did against the Wildcats, they will be a tough team to beat against anyone in the Big 12.

Kansas State: Early turnovers and missed open shots haunted the Wildcats as they got into a big hole. The Wildcats needed to jump out to a fast start to keep up with Baylor.


Baylor: Takes on the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff at 7 pm on Monday at home.

Kansas State: Hosts Jacksonville at 1 pm on the same day.

Iowa State pulls away to win opener vs Ark-Pine Bluff 80-63

USA Today Sports Images
1 Comment

AMES, Iowa — Newcomer Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 17 points, Rasir Bolton added 16 and Iowa State took over in the second half to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 80-63 on Sunday.

The Cyclones, in their season opener, trailed 37-34 at the break before Coleman-Lands, a graduate transfer from DePaul, sparked a second-half rally.

Tyler Harris hit a 3-pointer to put Iowa State ahead for good, 39-38, in the first minute of the second half, and Coleman-Lands followed with two layups. The teams traded baskets before Harris it a 3, Bolton had two buckets, including a dunk, and Coleman-Lands a 3 for a 10-0 run that made it 58-44.

Coleman-Lands scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Bolton was 4 for 4 as the Cyclones shot 59% in the second half, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range. Harris, a junior transfer from Memphis, went 3 of 4 from distance after the brake and finished with 14 points with four 3s.

The win was the 200th for Iowa State coach Steve Prohm, the 96th with the Cyclones.

Markedric Bell and Shaun Doss scored 15 points apiece for the Golden Lions (0-3) and Dequan Morris added 14. Bell and Morris both snared 10 rebounds as the visitors won the rebounding battle 36-31.

The Golden Lions shot 52% in the first half to take the lead but cooled off to 38% in the second half.

No. 7 Wisconsin rolls past Arkansas-Pine Bluff 92-58

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports Images

MADISON, Wis. — Seventh-ranked Wisconsin was too tall – and too everything else – for outmanned Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Micah Potter scored 19 points and D’Mitrik Trice added 15 as Wisconsin used its size advantage to overwhelm the Golden Lions 92-58 in a non-conference game on Friday night.

Wisconsin (2-0) scored the first 25 points of the game, hitting 10 of its first 13 shots, before Kshun Stokes scored on a floater from the lane for the Golden Lions with 10:05 left in the first half.

“Obviously a terrific start, but I think the most important thing was that we stayed true to how we need to play for the most part, and didn’t get loose and sloppy,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “And, that’s challenging, especially when the score starts to really slide in one direction quickly.”

Arkansas-Pine Bluff missed it first 11 shots and committed five turnovers before finally scoring.

“We just dug a big hole and you can’t dig a hole like that against a really, really good basketball team,” Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach George Ivory said.

The Badgers pushed the lead to 45-10 on a pair of free throws by Nate Reuvers. Joshuwan Johnson scored seven consecutive points for the Golden Lions’ only offensive flurry of the half, making it 47-19. With the game firmly in hand, Wisconsin substituted early and often with eight players recording at least 10 minutes by halftime.

Reuvers added 14 points and Aleem Ford 10 for Wisconsin.

Shaun Doss Jr. had 16 points and Johnson 13 for Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-2).

With the 6-foot-11 Reuvers, 6-10 Potter and 6-8 Ford across the front, the Badgers enjoyed a huge size advantage over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, whose tallest starter was 6-9 sophomore Alvin Stredic Jr., who picked up three first-half fouls.

Wisconsin scored 38 points in the paint compared to 18 for the Golden Lions. The Badgers also shot 10-for-19 from 3-point range, including three by Trice.

“When you play against two guys like they have inside, 6-10 and 6-11, it was tough on our guys,” Ivory said. “But, it’s a good learning experience for our team going into the conference … We won’t see any big guys that skilled in our league.”

It was the second consecutive easy victory for the Badgers, who defeated Eastern Illinois 77-67 in their opener on Wednesday after leading by 23 at the half.

“We’ve been exposed to a couple things that we need to take care of internally, things we know we need to fix,” Potter said. “But, without having those preseason games, it’s hard to find that stuff out before we actually start playing. The biggest thing is just fine-tuning, making sure we’re fixing things that we’re weak at, because come Big Ten season, it’s going to be a battle every single day.”


Based on the strength of their opponents, Wisconsin’s two victories are not likely to have much of an impact on the poll ranking unless teams above them are upset.


Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Golden Lions face a daunting schedule, opening with nine road games – ending at second-ranked Baylor.

Wisconsin: After a pair of tune-up victories, the Badgers face in-state rivals Wisconsin-Green Bay and Marquette, followed by a home game against Louisville.


Arkansas-Pine Bluff: At Iowa State on Sunday.

Wisconsin: Hosts Wisconsin-Green Bay on Tuesday.