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Canada’s Ryan Nembhard scores career-high 30 points, leads Creighton to upset victory over Baylor

The rims really aren’t bigger in Denver. It just felt that way to Canadian Ryan Nembhard.

The sophomore guard had a career-high 30 points and No. 6 seed Creighton found its shooting touch to beat third-seeded Baylor 85-76 on Sunday night and earn a spot in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons.

With Baylor heavily focused on containing big man Ryan Kalkbrenner, Nembhard, of Aurora, Ont., and the Bluejays went to work from outside. They shot 45.8 per cent from 3-point range after a 3-for-20 showing in a first-round win over North Carolina State. They also went 22 of 22 from the free throw line, including 10 for 10 from Nembhard.

“The rim felt a little bit bigger tonight,” Nembhard said after a performance that included four 3-pointers. “Luckily, I made some shots.”

The Bluejays (23-12) will meet 15th-seeded Princeton in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday in the NCAA Tournament. Princeton reached the South Region semifinals with wins over Arizona and Missouri.

“We definitely don’t care who we’re going against. We respect everybody,” said Nembhard, the younger brother of Indiana Pacers rookie point guard and former Gonzaga star Andrew Nembhard. “At the end of the day, we think we’re just as good as anybody in the country.”

LJ Cryer finished with 30 points for Baylor (23-11), which lost in the second round for the second consecutive year after winning the championship in 2021. Big 12 freshman of the year Keyonte George was held to seven points, well below his average of 15.6.

FAU ends Fairleigh Dickinson’s magical March

Johnell Davis had 29 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and five steals, and Florida Atlantic ended 16th-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson’s magical March with a 78-70 win.

The ninth-seeded Owls (33-3) needed everything they had to put away the Knights (21-16), the nation’s smallest team and a winner Friday night over Purdue, the second 16-over-1 upset in tournament history.

FAU will play Tennessee in the East Region semifinals on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Demetre Roberts scored 20 points and Sean Moore had 14 for FDU, which didn’t even win the Northeast Conference tournament before becoming an NCAA team that won’t soon be forgotten.

Alijah Martin added 14 points for FAU, which finally took control late in the second half.

Michigan State outlasts Marquette

Tyson Walker scored 23 points and No. 7 seed Michigan State beat second-seeded Marquette 69-60 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, sending coach Tom Izzo’s squad back to the Sweet 16 for the first time in four years.

Joey Hauser — a Marquette transfer — had 14 points and A.J. Hoggard had as 13 Michigan State (21-12) took over in the last three minutes. The Spartans advanced to play third-seeded Kansas State in the East Region semifinals on Thursday at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Izzo, the 68-year-old Hall of Fame coach, reached his 15th regional semifinal and won his record 16th March Madness game with a lower-seeded team — one more than Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who retired after this season.

This one was particularly meaningful. Izzo became the face of a grieving school where three students were killed in a campus shooting on Feb. 13.

“It’s been a long year,” an emotional Izzo said in a courtside interview. “I’m just happy for our guys.”

Olivier-Maxence Prosper led Marquette (29-7) with 16 points and Kam Jones had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Big East champions.

The Michigan State Spartans celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles in the second round game of the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Nowell, late 3s lift Kansas State past Kentucky

Markquis Nowell scored 23 of his 27 points after halftime, and Kansas State overcame a horrid start from outside by hitting a couple of clutch 3-pointers while topping Kentucky 75-69 in Sunday’s second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Third-seeded Kansas State (25-9) heads to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018, where it will play Michigan State in the East Region semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Ismael Massoud buried a 3 from the right wing at the 2:21 mark that gave Kansas State the lead for good. Keyontae Johnson followed with another 3 with 1:23 left to put Kansas State ahead by five.

The 5-foot-8 Nowell, a third-team Associated Press All-American, played a fearless floor game while making 7 of 14 shots and 10 of 11 free throws.

Oscar Tshiebwe had 25 points and 18 rebounds for sixth-seeded Kentucky (22-12), which shot 55 per cent after halftime and led by eight early in the second half.

Timme helps No. 3 Gonzaga rally past TCU

Drew Timme extended his one-of-a-kind college career by at least one more game, finishing with 28 points and eight rebounds to help third-seeded Gonzaga rally past TCU 84-81 and make its eighth straight Sweet 16.

Timme made his first 3-pointer since December — and only his third of the season — as part of a 13-1 run that helped the Zags (30-5) take a seven-point lead with just under nine minutes left after trailing most of the night.

Next stop for the 6-foot-10 senior and his social media-friendly mustache — Las Vegas for the West Region semifinals and a meeting with UCLA on Thursday.

Mike Miles Jr. finished with 24 points and four assists in his second straight electric game for the sixth-seeded Horned Frogs (22-13), who were trying to win two games in the same tournament for the first time in program history.

Miami secures 2nd straight Sweet 16 appearance 

Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller led a decisive second-half spurt for Miami, which beat Indiana 85-69 to reach its second straight Sweet 16.

Wong, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year who was limited to five points in a first-round win over Drake, had 27 points and eight rebounds for coach Jim Larranaga’s fifth-seeded Hurricanes (27-7), the only ACC team left in March Madness.

Miller scored 19 points and Indianapolis native Nijel Pack had 10 of his 12 points in the first half as Miami got off to a fast start, led most of the game and ended fourth-seeded Indiana’s hopes of a sixth national title.

Miami will face top-seeded Houston in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday.

All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Hoosiers (23-12), who have not been to the Sweet 16 since 2016. Freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino added 19 points and Race Thompson had 11.

Xavier beats Pitt, reaches 1st Sweet 16 since 2017

Jack Nunge scored 18 points, Adam Kunkel added 15 on five first-half 3-pointers, and No. 3 seed Xavier beat 11th-seeded Pittsburgh 84-73 to reach its first Sweet 16 since 2017.

Colby Jones had 10 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and Souley Boum and Jerome Hunter each chipped in with 14 points as all five Xavier starters scored in double digits.

Xavier had 17 assists on 19 baskets in the first half to build a 48-34 lead at the break. The Musketeers finished with 22 assists.

Xavier (27-9) moves on to play No. 2 seed Texas on Friday in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri.

Blake Hinson scored 18 points and Jamarius Burton had 16 for Pitt (24-12).

Sanogo, UConn pull away from Saint Mary’s

Adama Sanogo scored 24 points and Jordan Hawkins delivered from the 3-point line in the second half as UConn pulled away from Saint Mary’s with a 70-55 victory to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in nine years.

No. 4 seed UConn (27-8) advanced to the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday. Next up is eighth-seeded Arkansas, which knocked off No. 1 seed Kansas.

Sanogo followed up his 28-point game in the Huskies’ NCAA tourney opener against Iona with another powerful and efficient performance in the paint. The 245-pound junior was 11 for 16 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds, dominating a big-man matchup with Mitchell Saxen (six points, three rebounds and four fouls).

Saint Mary’s (27-8) of the West Coast Conference failed to get out of the first weekend of the tournament for the second straight season as a No. 5 seed.

Aidan Mahaney and Logan Johnson each scored nine points for the Gaels, who played the final 25 minutes without third-leading scorer Alex Ducas. The senior left with an apparent back injury.