Yale stuns No 3 seed Auburn for second win in NCAA tournament history

John Poulakidas scored 28 points, Samson Aletan made a key block during a wild fight in the final seconds, and 13th-seeded Yale rallied in the final five minutes to beat No. 4 seed Auburn 78-76 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. on Friday.

For the second year in a row, the Ivy League Tournament champion defeated one of the pre-tournament favorites, breaking many March Madness brackets in the process.

Last year it was Princeton that toppled Arizona. This time it was Yale’s turn.

The Bulldogs (23-9) won an NCAA tournament game for the second time in school history, rallying from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half. After the final seconds passed, the players celebrated on the scorer’s table in front of their fans.

Poulakidas scored big shot after big shot. His step-back 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 73-72 lead. Yale never trailed again, despite a chaotic final stretch in which Auburn made two shots in the final seconds on a missed free throw, one of which was disallowed by Aletan.

Yale guard Yassine Gharram stands on a table after celebrating with fans. Photo: Ted S Warren/AP

Auburn rolled through the SEC Tournament last week and became a favored pick as a team that could beat No. 1 overall UConn if the pair ultimately collided in the Sweet 16.

But the Tigers failed to advance out of the first round, joining fellow SEC schools South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State amid early exits from the tournament.

The match of the day was for Colorado and Florida. KJ Simpson rattled in a tie-breaking jumper with two seconds left as 10th-seeded Colorado defeated seventh-seeded Florida in a 102-100 thriller.

“Williams in. Simpson with it for the lead… OOOOOH! 1.7! 1.7! LONG SHOT, GOOD AS IT GOES! COLORADO WINS! THE BUFFALO WON!” -Kevin Harlan 🏀🎙️🧅🔥 #MarchCrazy pic.twitter.com/M974x7rqIJ

— Terrible announcement (@awfulannouncing) March 22, 2024

Simpson finished with 23 points as the Buffaloes and Gators put on the most impressive offensive performance of this year’s tournament. Colorado extended its single-season school record with wins two days after beating Boise State in the First Four. The Buffs advance in the South Region and will face second-seeded Marquette on Sunday. Walter Clayton Jr scored the final 16 points for Florida, including a 3-pointer, tying the game at 100 with nine seconds left. He finished with a career-high 33 points.

However, there will be no Final Four run for last year’s tournament darlings. Ryan Langborg scored 12 points in overtime for No. 9 Northwestern, which squandered a nine-point second-half lead before rebounding to beat No. 8 Florida Atlantic 77-65 in an East Regional first-round match at Barclays Center . A year ago, Langborg led Princeton to the Sweet 16. Now earning his master’s degree at Northwestern, he scored a season-high 27 points to beat FAU.

Northwestern led for more than 16 straight minutes in the second half, opening a trio of nine-point leads, the last at 54-45 on a Langborg layup, before Goldin hit a layup and a 13-2 run for the Owls began.

Brooks Barnhizer forced overtime by hitting a floater with nine seconds left for Northwestern (22-11).

Florida Atlantic forced a turnover on Northwestern’s next possession and Johnell Davis, a sensation in the school’s series last year, missed a layup, but the Owls retained possession on an inadvertent whistle. Goldin was fouled on the in-bounds and missed the front end of a one-and-one before Barnhizer hit the tying shot. Davis missed a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer.

On the women’s side, Angel Reese had 10 points and 19 rebounds as third-seeded LSU overcame a spirited performance from No. 14 seed Rice for a 70-60 first-round win. Aneesah Morrow added 15 points, while Flau’jae Johnson and Mikaylah Williams scored 14 each for the defending champion Tigers. But LSU committed a season-high turnover of 24, keeping Rice in the game. LSU never led by more than 11 and led by just six with two minutes left.

No. 1 overall seed South Carolina easily overcame the absence of starters Kamilla Cardoso and Bree Hall to defeat No. 16 seed Presbyterian 91-39. The Gamecocks moved five wins away from a 10th perfect championship season by overwhelming the Blue Hose for the second time this season. Then comes another rematch on Sunday against No. 8 seed North Carolina. The Tar Heels nearly gave up their initial 16-point lead before pinning No. 9 seed Michigan State earlier on Friday.