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June 17, 2024

March Madness Round of 32 analysis: Donovan Clingan’s historic game leads UConn to win

March Madness Round of 32 analysis: Donovan Clingan’s historic game leads UConn to win

Day 4 of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament featured several dramatic finishes, including Houston ‘s thrilling overtime victory over Texas A&M.

College hoops fans were treated to eight games on Sunday, which included three No. 1 seeds – Purdue , UConn and Houston – all advancing to the Sweet 16.

FOX Sports’ college basketball experts, John Fanta and Michael Cohen , are here to provide instant analysis of Sunday’s games.

Catch up on all the action from Day 4 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament here:

(5) San Diego State 85, (13) Yale 57

Jaedon LeDee had 26 points and nine rebounds, Darrion Trammell added 18 points and fifth-seeded San Diego State used a fast start to overwhelm 13th-seeded Yale and rolled to an 85-57 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.

The Aztecs scored the first 10 points of the game, led by 24 at halftime and removed any chance of another potential March Madness, bracket-busting upset.

San Diego State (26-10) earned a rematch with No. 1 seed and defending national champion UConn on Thursday in Boston in the Sweet 16. The Huskies beat the Aztecs 76-59 last April in Houston, denying San Diego State a chance at its first title.

The Aztecs will be playing in the Sweet 16 in consecutive years for the first time in school history.

LeDee was again the star for the Aztecs after he scored 32 points in the first-round win over UAB. He made 9-of-12 shots, including a pair of 3s, and in two tournament games was 20-for-30 shooting.

But some of the outside shooting that was absent in the tourney opener returned and San Diego State hit a season-high 13 3-pointers. Trammell had just four points and took four shots against UAB, but hit four 3s against Yale.

Bez Mbeng led Yale with 12 points and Matt Knowling added 11. But even with borrowing the University of Idaho band for a second time, there was no magical late comeback after the Bulldogs (23-10) rallied from down 10 in the final 7½ minutes to top No. 4 seed Auburn in the opener.

For the second straight year, San Diego State didn’t allow a No. 13 seed seeking a landmark second-round upset the chance to breathe. The Aztecs suffocated Furman last year after the Paladins upset Virginia in the first round.

They did the same to Yale.

John Poulakidas, the star of Yale’s upset win over Auburn, wasn’t able to match the same level of shot-making he displayed on the way to 28 points in the first round. Poulakidas missed all five shots in the first half and was scoreless at the break. He finally scored early in the second half, but finished with only nine points.

– The Associated Press

(1) Houston 100, (9) Texas A&M 95

Emanuel Sharp started overtime with a 3-pointer that put top-seeded Houston ahead to stay as the Cougars advanced to the Sweet 16 back in Texas by topping ninth-seeded Texas A&M 100-95 on Sunday night.

The Aggies forced overtime with a furious rally, outscoring Houston 17-5 in the final two minutes of regulation. Andersson Garcia beat the buzzer with his ninth 3-pointer of the season, and then was mobbed by his teammates.

Sharp fouled out after his 3, finishing with 30 points. His teammates outscored Texas A&M 7-1 to start the extra session and close it out.

The win by Houston (32-4) means all eight teams seeded 1 and 2 advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time since the NCAA tourney started seeding in 1979. The top-eight seeds also advanced in 2019, 2009, 1995 and 1989.

The Cougars will play Duke, a 93-55 winner over James Madison, on Friday in Dallas in the South Region semifinals. This will be Houston’s fifth straight Sweet 16 and 16th all-time.

– The Associated Press

(1) UConn 75, (9) Northwestern 58

We are watching one of the great two-year runs in college basketball history. UConn has now won eight straight NCAA Tournament games by an average of 22 points after Sunday’s 75-58 win over Northwestern. With the victory, the Huskies advance to the Sweet 16, where they will play either San Diego State or Yale on Thursday in Boston.

In the Round of 32 win, Connecticut left no doubt from the beginning, starting the game on an 11-2 run and never looking back. The headliner was big man Donovan Clingan, who went off for 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks, becoming the first player with that many points, rebounds, and blocks in an NCAA Tournament game since Navy’s David Robinson did it in 1986 vs Cleveland State. 

Tristen Newton posted 20 points and 10 assists, and the Huskies had a 52-26 advantage in points in the paint.

This Northwestern team, headlined by Boo Buie, should be commended for reaching back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time in program history. But on Sunday night, the Wildcats met the foe that nobody seems to have an answer for: Dan Hurley’s Huskies.

– John Fanta

(4) Alabama 72 (12) Grand Canyon 61

Mark Sears had 26 points and 12 rebounds, Mouhamed Dioubate scored all nine of his points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, and fourth-seeded Alabama used a late surge to beat No. 12 seed Grand Canyon 72-61 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.

Sears carried the Crimson Tide (23-11) for the better part of 35 minutes before getting some unexpected help from Dioubate. The 6-foot-7 freshman scored more than nine points only twice all season but made the most of his chance to contribute in the final minutes of a physical game with Alabama in foul trouble and without starter Latrell Wrightsell Jr., who suffered a head injury in the first half.

Alabama advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 10th time overall and third time in the last four seasons under coach Nate Oats. The Crimson Tide will play in a regional semifinal in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1990-91; last year, Alabama was a No. 1 seed and fell to eventual national runner-up San Diego State.

This time, it’ll be the Tide trying to take down top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday in a West Region semifinal Los Angeles.

Sears made 8 of 18 shots and cheekily waved goodbye in the final seconds to the Grand Canyon “Havocs” fans who filled Spokane Arena. Dioubate also grabbed five rebounds in his 12 minutes and played solid defense on Grand Canyon star Tyon Grant-Foster.

Grant-Foster scored 29 points, one off his career high, but didn’t score in the final 4:40. The Lopes shot 32%, including a brutal 3 of 17 to begin the game. Grand Canyon (31-4) also couldn’t find anything from beyond the 3-point arc, going 2 of 20. Coach Brice Drew’s squad came in averaging seven 3s per game.

– The Associated Press

(6) Clemson 72, (3) Baylor 64

Chase Hunter had 20 points and six assists, and No. 6 seed Clemson held off third-seeded Baylor for a 72-64 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

The Tigers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in coach Brad Brownell’s 14 seasons. They also made it in 2018, when they lost to Kansas in the third round.

Joseph Girard III scored 13 points for the Tigers (23-11), and Ian Schieffelin and PJ Hall each had 11.

Next up for Clemson is No. 2 seed Arizona in the West Region semifinals in Los Angeles. The Wildcats advanced with a 78-68 victory over Dayton on Saturday.

RayJ Dennis led Baylor with 27 points, including 21 in the second half. Ja’Kobe Walter added 20 points, but the Bears (24-11) lost in the second round of the NCAA tourney for the third straight year.

Baylor went 16-for-26 at the foul line, compared to 20 for 24 for Clemson.

The Tigers opened a 61-46 lead on Schieffelin’s layup with 6:41 left. But the Bears responded with a 16-3 run, capped by Walter’s three-point play with 2:19 to go.

Baylor had a chance to tie the game with 36.2 seconds left, but Walter missed two foul shots. RJ Godfrey then made four free throws and Girard hit two to help Clemson close it out.

– The Associated Press

(4) Duke 93, (12) James Madison 55

As Jon Scheyer told FOX Sports in an exclusive Q&A following Duke’s NCAA Tournament first-round win over Vermont on Friday, the Blue Devils’ uncommon week-long gap from an ACC Tournament quarterfinal loss to NC State to their Big Dance debut allowed his team to reflect and refocus. 

Duke validated that in Brooklyn this weekend, securing a Sweet 16 ticket with a 93-55 win over James Madison on Sunday evening. 

It was the “Jared McCain Show” in the Big Apple. The five-star freshman followed up a 15-point performance in Friday’s 64-47 win over Vermont with the highest scoring half of any player in this year’s NCAA Tournament, posting 22 points on 6-of-8 from 3-point territory. When it was all said and done, McCain had 30 points in 31 minutes on 10-of-15 from the floor and 8-of-11 from downtown, giving him the second-highest scoring performance by a Duke freshman in the NCAA Tournament.

As for James Madison, Sunday marked the conclusion of a historic 32-4 season. The program set a new mark for wins in a year and reached the second round of the Big Dance for the first time since 1983. Mark Byington’s group has much to be proud of. 

But Sunday belonged to the Blue Devils, who are starting to trend closer to living up to those original expectations when they were preseason No. 2 team in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Duke led 24-9 just over eight minutes into the game and never looked back, with Tyrese Proctor supplying 18 points and five assists, while Jeremy Roach scored 15 points and Kyle Filipowski delivered 14. It was a demolition for Duke, as Jon Scheyer is heading to his first Sweet 16 as head coach. 

The Blue Devils will take on the winner of Houston and Texas A&M.

– John Fanta

(1) Purdue 106, (8) Utah State 67

Had Purdue head coach Matt Painter been informed prior to Sunday’s game against No. 8 Utah State that his best player, center Zach Edey, would score 21 points, grab 11 rebounds, dish out three assists, block two shots and notch one steal, he would likely have been quite happy with the stat line. The Boilermakers won’t often lose when Edey produces those kinds of numbers. Had Painter been told that Edey would accomplish all those things in the first half, he would certainly be able to surmise the end result.

The second scenario is what unfolded in the Round of 32 before a heavily pro-Purdue crowd in Indianapolis, where the Boilermakers were attempting to reach the Sweet 16 for just the second time in the last five years. Edey was so big, so strong and so dominant that Utah State understood its fate by halftime. The presumptive Naismith Men’s Player of the Year had lured the Aggies into early foul trouble and bludgeoned their sparsely used reserves. Utah State trudged to the locker room trailing by 16 points having already been whistled for 13 fouls to Purdue’s five.

From there, shooting guard Lance Jones opened the second half with a corner 3-pointer. Then, Trey Kaufman-Renn scored on the next two possessions, widening the lead to 23. Utah State head coach Danny Sprinkle called timeout at the 18:39 mark in a futile effort to stop the bleeding. The Boilermakers were well on their way to a commanding 106-67 win that sends them to Detroit for a matchup with No. 5 Gonzaga later this week.

Edey finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds despite only needing to play 26 minutes. He and Kaufman-Renn, who was the beneficiary of the Aggies’ attempted double teams on Edey, combined to score 41 on 16-for-24 shooting. The Boilermakers blew Utah State away by finishing plus-26 for points in the paint.

– Michael Cohen

(2) Marquette 81, (10) Colorado 77

When the first-half buzzer sounded, the statistics suggested that No. 2 Marquette should have been winning this game by 15 or 20, if not more. The Golden Eagles had shot a sizzling 19-for-28 from the floor (68%) and 6-for-13 from 3-point range. Star point guard Tyler Kolek went into the locker room with eight points and six assists. Star shooting guard Kam Jones nearly matched his season average of 17.1 points per game by scoring 16 points in 14 minutes of playing time.

Yet the Golden Eagles only led 10th-seeded Colorado by 11, their seven turnovers having allowed the Buffaloes to hang around. To the chagrin of head coach Shaka Smart, his team had surrendered 20 points in the paint and allowed Colorado to shoot 47% from the field — a number that, on a day when Marquette wasn’t quite so hot, could have easily saddled the Golden Eagles with a deficit. But their subpar defense gave the Buffaloes a chance, and from there, the game squeezed tighter.

Colorado opened the second half with a 10-2 spurt that forced Smart to call timeout. Then the Buffaloes nudged in front by a point. Back and forth they went in a beautiful offensive display, with Kolek (21 points, 11 assists) pacing the Golden Eagles and Tristan da Silva (17 points, 15 in the second half) repeatedly sparking the underdogs. Every time Marquette pulled ahead by four or five, back Colorado came. The score was tied with 2:59 remaining.

The game finally hinged on a swirling, looping drive from Kolek, who circled beneath the basket and pirouetted in the lane for a trademark left-handed floater. Kolek’s basket gave Marquette a three-point lead with 54 seconds remaining in an eventual 81-77 win. Forward David Joplin made two free throws in the final minute to help the Golden Eagles clinch their first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2013.

Marquette will face 11th-seeded N.C. State next weekend.

– Michael Cohen

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John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @ John_Fanta .

Michael Cohen covers college football and basketball for FOX Sports with an emphasis on the Big Ten. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Cohen13 .

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