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MEN'S NCAA TOURNAMENT: Florida Atlantic fend off Kansas State, reach Final Four as No. 9 seed

UConn strolls past Gonzaga 82-54, earns trip to Final Four

Florida Atlantic guard Bryan Greenlee (left) drives to the basket against Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell during the second half of the NCAA Tournament East Regional final March 25, 2023, in New York.
Florida Atlantic guard Bryan Greenlee (left) drives to the basket against Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell during the second half of the NCAA Tournament East Regional final March 25, 2023, in New York.
Brad Penner / USA Today Sports

NEW YORK โ€” Dusty May's team didn't see itself as an underdog, and the players wouldn't admit to it throughout the month of March, but Cinderella's slipper fits Florida Atlantic flawlessly.

Now the ninth-seeded Owls are headed to their first Final Four in just their second NCAA Tournament appearance of all time.

Alijah Martin scored 17 points, Michael Forrest made four pivotal end-of-game free throws and FAU toppled third-seeded Kansas State 79-76 on Saturday in the East Region final at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Owls will head to Houston on an 11-game winning streak.

FAU is the third No. 9 seed ever to make the Final Four, joining 2013 Wichita State and 1979 Penn, and the ninth team seeded No. 9 or lower to go this far.

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Bryan Greenlee went 4-for-6 from the arc to score 16 points. He drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the game to slice the lead in half at 60-57.

Wildcats star Markquis Nowell responded by banking in his fourth 3 of the night at the other end, but Kansas State (26-10) would not make a field goal for the next 6:52 of game time.

FAU scored the next 10 points, Vladislav Goldin giving the Owls the lead for good at 64-63 with a rebound and dunk.

Nowell made his fifth 3-pointer of the night to end the shooting drought and cut the margin to 72-69. FAU's Nick Boyd missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity but Martin got the offensive rebound and Davis scored for a five-point game with 1:17 left.

Boyd went 1-of-2 at the line again, and Cam Carter's pull-up 3-pointer rolled in to bring Kansas State's deficit to 75-74 with 24 seconds left.

Kansas State gave its 10th foul and Forrest made both shots. Nae'Qwan Tomlin made a reverse layup to cut it back to one, but Forrest hit two more and the Wildcats failed to get a shot off in the final 6.9 seconds.

Goldin posted 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Johnell Davis had 13 points and eight rebounds as FAU had an enormous 44-22 rebounding advantage.

Nowell scored 30 points and dished 11 assists for Kansas State. Tomlin had 14 points and Johnson scored nine before fouling out.

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No. 4 UConn 82, No. 3 Gonzaga 54

UConn guard Jordan Hawkins shoots the ball against Gonzaga forward Anton Watson during the first half of the NCAA Tournament West Regional final March 25, 2023, in Las Vegas.
UConn guard Jordan Hawkins shoots the ball against Gonzaga forward Anton Watson during the first half of the NCAA Tournament West Regional final March 25, 2023, in Las Vegas.
Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today Sports

Jordan Hawkins matched his career high with six 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and UConn is advancing to the Final Four after steamrolling Gonzaga 82-54 on Saturday night in the West Region final at Las Vegas.

Alex Karaban added 12 points as the fourth-seeded Huskies (29-8) continued their domination of NCAA Tournament opponents. UConn has won its four games by an average of 22.5 points, including three by more than 20.

Adama Sanogo contributed 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Huskies trailed for just 47 seconds.

Drew Timme had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Julian Strawther added 11 points for the third-seeded Bulldogs (31-6). Gonzaga had a 12-game winning streak halted while playing in the Elite Eight for the fifth time in the past eight tournaments.

The Final Four trip is the sixth overall for UConn and the first since it won the 2014 national championship.

UConn is 15-0 this season against schools not in its conference (Big East).

The Huskies shot 41.7% from the field, including 11 of 31 from 3-point range.

The Bulldogs made 33.3% of their shots and were a lowly 2 of 20 from behind the arc.

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Timme picked up two fouls in the first 2:22 of the second half and headed to the bench with four personals. Gonzaga trailed by 10 points when Timme took a seat with 17:38 remaining and things quickly got worse.

Sanogo scored on the inside, Hawkins drained a 3-pointer and Nahiem Alleyne converted a three-point play to give the Huskies a 52-34 advantage with 16:39 left.

Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton drained a 3-pointer but UConn continued its charge with four points from Tristen Newton, a layup from Alleyne and a thunderous dunk by Donovan Clingan to boost its lead to 60-37 with 14:17 remaining.

Joey Calcaterra's 3-pointer increased the lead to 65-40 with 11:49 left. Nearly four minutes later, Hawkins buried a trey to make it 75-44 with 7:53 to play.

The Bulldogs missed nine straight shots and 16 of 17 before Hunter Sallis drove for a layup to cut the deficit to 30 with 4:57 left.

The lead topped out at 33 points.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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