RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jakob Gollon scored 20 points and Mercer pulled off the biggest upset in the NCAA tournament so far by knocking off Duke 78-71 on Friday in the second round.
The 14th-seeded and senior-laden Bears scored 11 straight points during the late 20-5 run that clinched the biggest victory in school history. It was the second one-and-done in three years for the third-seeded Blue Devils.
“This,” Atlantic Sun player of the year Langston Hall said, “is what March Madness is all about.”
Mercer, which came back from five points down in the last 4:52, won the Atlantic Sun conference championship. That’s the same conference that produced 2013 tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast.
Daniel Coursey added 17 points to help the Bears (27-8) overcome a season-high 15 3-pointers from Duke.
Quinn Cook scored 23 points for Duke (26-9) and Rasheed Sulaimon added 20.
But their defense — an uncharacteristic weakness all season — did them in again while all those Mercer seniors simply got any shot they wanted. The Bears shot 56 percent — 58 percent in the second half.
“They’re a team that’s been together a long time,” Duke forward Rodney Hood said. “They sliced us up. There’s no other way to put it.”
Duke went up 63-58 with 4:52 left after freshman Jabari Parker converted a three-point play and Tyler Thornton hit three free throws.
Duke didn’t score again until the final minute. The Bears hit 12 of 14 free throws in the final 2 minutes and finished 23 of 28 from the line. Stanford 58, New Mexico 53
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chasson Randle scored 23 points and Stanford made an impression in its first NCAA appearance since 2008.
The 10th-seeded Cardinal (22-12) built an early 16-point lead then held on after No. 7 seed New Mexico rallied to tie it midway through the second half. They got four crucial free throws from reserve Robbie Lemons and Randle in the final half-minute after New Mexico had cut the deficit to two points.
Cameron Bairstow had 24 points and eight rebounds but the Lobos (27-7) got off-days from their other top threats. Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk, who together average 30 points, combined for just six.
Kansas 80, Eastern Ky. 69
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis had double-doubles and second-seeded Kansas pulled away down the stretch to beat pesky Eastern Kentucky.
Traylor finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Ellis had 14 points and 13 boards for the Jayhawks (25-9), who trailed 56-53 with 9 minutes to go before their game-ending charge.
Glenn Cosey hit five 3-pointers and had 17 points for the 15th-seeded Colonels (24-10), the Ohio Valley Conference champions. Tarius Johnson and Eric Stutz finished with 15 points apiece.
Cosey and his cohorts nearly added to the madness of this March, keeping the second-seeded Jayhawks on the ropes until the closing minutes of their second-round game. It wasn’t until Kansas finally wore down the 15th-seeded Colonels inside that it pulled away for an 80-69 victory.
“I felt like this was the year of upsets, and we could pull this off,” said Cosey, who hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t.”
So the Jayhawks advanced to play No. 10 seed Stanford on Sunday in the South Regional, while Eastern Kentucky headed home after having its seven-game win streak come to an end.
“It’s hard for all of us,” Tarius Johnson said, “because we played so hard.”
Johnson had 15 points for the Colonels, who still have never won an NCAA tournament game in eight tries. Eric Stutz also had 15 points, but second-leading scorer Corey Walden was hampered by foul trouble and wound up with just four points on 2-for-3 shooting.
“Corey is a very important part of our team,” Colonels coach Jeff Neubauer said. “With that being said, that’s not an excuse. Kansas really played great.”
Baylor 74, Nebraska 60
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Cory Jefferson scored 16 points and sixth-seeded Baylor kept 11th-seeded Nebraska winless in its NCAA tournament history.
The Bears (25-11) have won 11 of 13 after a dismal start in the Big 12, recapturing the kind of momentum that vaulted the Bears to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012.
Terran Petteway scored 18 points for Nebraska (19-13), which fell to 0-7 in tournament history.
The Cornhuskers hadn’t played on this stage since 1998 and often looked like it. Frustration boiled over for Big Ten coach of the year Tim Miles, who was ejected with 11 minutes left.
Creighton 76, UL-Lafayette 66
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Doug McDermott scored 30 points and third-seeded Creighton got three huge 3-pointers in the second half from Ethan Wragge to beat Louisiana-Lafayette.
McDermott had a double-double by halftime but went scoreless for nearly 14 minutes of the second half, leaving it to Wragge’s long shots to bail out the Bluejays from a potential upset by the Ragin’ Cajuns, who attacked Creighton (27-7) with fearless defense and rebounding.
Elfrid Payton scored 24 points for Sun Belt tournament champion Louisiana-Lafayette (23-12), which led 50-48 before Wragge struck from long range to turn the momentum.
McDermott came into the tournament averaging 26.9 points per game and ranks fifth in NCAA history in career points. He has scored at least 30 points in four of Creighton’s last five games.
Arizona 68, Weber St. 59
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Nick Johnson scored 18 points and Aaron Gordon added 16 as top-seeded Arizona overcame a shaky start and a late run by Weber State.
Arizona (31-4) fell into an eight-point deficit in the opening minutes to give the 16th-seeded Wildcats hope of a monumental upset.
The desert Wildcats tried to squash the dream quickly with two big second-half runs, but Weber State fought its way back from a 21-point deficit to make it close in the second half.
Arizona blocked 12 shots, held Weber State to 30 percent shooting and made 55 percent of its shots.
Davion Berry had 24 points to lead Weber State (19-12) in its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007.
Gonzaga 85, Oklahoma St. 77
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kevin Pangos scored 26 points and Gary Bell Jr. added 17 for eighth-seeded Gonzaga, which beat Marcus Smart and ninth-seeded Oklahoma State.
The Bulldogs (29-6) are in their 16th straight NCAA tournament.
The refs called 61 fouls, and five players fouled out. Pangos made 12 of 14 free throws, most of them in the closing minutes.
Smart had 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six steals for Oklahoma State (21-13). The Cowboys won five of seven games coming in, a run that coincided with Smart’s returning from a three-game suspension for shoving a Texas Tech fan.