DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas' national title defense ended in the second round of 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 and coach Eric Musselman return to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. The Razorbacks will play in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Musselman and his players rushed to a second of fans sitting courtside after the final buzzer. Musselman ripped his polo shirt off, waved it over his head and shouted with joy.
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Self has been with the Jayhawks since they arrived in Des Moines and has attended practices and meetings, but he still doesn’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.
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 the Jayhawks' 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.
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.
(2) UCLA 68, (7) NORTHWESTERN 63: Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 24 points and UCLA withstood a second-half push from Northwestern. UCLA made it to a third straight Sweet 16 for the first time in 15 years with the win.
The Bruins turned up the defensive intensity late, holding the Wildcats to 1-for-12 shooting during a key late-game stretch to seal the win.
Boo Buie scored 18 points to lead Northwestern. The Wildcats ended their second trip to the tournament in the same fashion as the first six years ago, losing in the second round.
(4) TENNESSEE 65, (5) DUKE 52: Olivier Nkamhoua tied his career high with 27 points, and Tennessee beat Duke to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019.
Tennessee ended Duke’s 10-game winning streak and sent first-year coach Jon Scheyer home after just two NCAA Tournament games.
Nkamhoua put an exclamation mark on Tennessee’s victory with an emphatic slam with 1:15 remaining. It prompted Vols fans to start chanting and sent many Duke fans toward the exits. Tyrese Proctor led Duke with 16 points.
(15) PRINCETON 78, (7) MISSOURI 63: Blake Peters made five 3-pointers in the second half and Princeton shocked another power conference team to reach the regional semifinals for the first time in 56 years by beating Missouri.
The Tigers have reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1967 when only 23 teams even made the tournament. Princeton is the second Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 in the past 43 tournaments, joining Cornell in 2010.
No team from the academically prestigious that doesn’t give athletic scholarships has gone further since Penn made the Final Four in 1979.
Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points. DeAndre Gholston scored 19 points for Missouri.
ALABAMA 73, MARYLAND 51: Brandon Miller heated up and so did Alabama, which avoided the fate of two other top seeds and brushed aside Maryland behind a dominant second half.
The Crimson Tide advanced to their second Sweet 16 in the past three tournaments and ninth overall.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points and Miller had 19 after being held scoreless in Alabama’s tournament opener while nursing a groin injury.
Julian Reese had 14 points for Maryland before fouling out.
(5) SAN DIEGO STATE 75, (13) FURMAN 52: San Diego State had little trouble ending the run of March Madness darling Furman, getting 16 points from Micah Parrish to pace a balanced scoring attack and pull away for a second-round win.
The Aztecs are heading to their first Sweet 16 since 2004. They are the first Mountain West Conference team to reach the Sweet 16 since Nevada in 2018.
Darrion Trammell had 13 points, Lamont Butler added 12 and leading scorer Matt Bradley finished with 10 for San Diego State, which has won 11 of its past 13 games. Mike Bothwell led Furman with 15 points.
(1) HOUSTON 81, (9) AUBURN 64: Marcus Sasser looked just fine, scoring 22 points, and Houston stifled local favorite Auburn in the second half.
The Cougars overcame a 10-point halftime deficit, playing with the desperation of a national championship contender that wasn’t ready to suffer the same fate as No. 1 seeds Purdue and Kansas.
Houston was led by Tramon Mark with 26 points, while Jaylin Williams and Johni Broome scored 14 apiece for Auburn.
(2) TEXAS 71, (10) PENN STATE 66: Dylan Disu had a season-high 28 points and Texas advanced to its first regional in 15 years with a victory over Penn State.
The Longhorns made just one of 13 shots from 3-point land. Disu turned this one into a mid-range game. He went 5 for 5 over the final 4 1/2 minutes and grabbed 10 rebounds for good measure.
Camren Wynter had 16 points for the Nittany Lions, who were coming off their first NCAA Tournament victory in 20 years.