This post will update throughout the day, as we provide you second round action of the NCAA Tournament from HP Pavilion in San Jose.
New Mexico State never threatened Saint Louis, as the fourth-seeded Billikens easily toppled the Aggies. Saint Louis forward Dwayne Evans, who scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, was outscoring the entire New Mexico State team for most of the half. The 6-foot-5 junior was wide open at the free throw line against the Aggies’ 2-3 zone and consistently knocked down jumpers from the foul line. He was 11-of-16 from the field, helping the Billikens shoot 46.3 percent for the game. 7-foot-5 freshman Sim Bhullar grabbed 11 rebounds for New Mexico State but was a non-factor on offense, making just two baskets.
Final: No. 12 Oregon 68, No. 5 Oklahoma State 55 (Midwest Region)
When the brackets were announced, most people seemed to think that Oregon was underseeded at a 12. The Pac-12 Tournament champion Ducks made that abundantly clear Thursday in knocking off fifth-seeded Oklahoma State to advance to the round of 32 to face Saint Louis. After a back-and-forth start, Oregon never trailed in the final 33 minutes of the game and led by double digits the entire second half. The Ducks took advantage in transition and on the offensive glass (14-6). Damyean Dotson led Oregon with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Arsalan Kazemi had 11 points and 17 rebounds. Oklahoma State star guard Marcus Smart had a tough afternoon, scoring 14 points on 13 shots.
Final: No. 12 California 64, No. 5 UNLV 61 (East Region)
You could tell two minutes into the game that the Bears showed up ready to play. Prone to slow starts, Cal got steals on its first two possessions and jumped out to an early lead. The Runnin’ Rebels caught fire from outside and made a game of it, but make no mistake: When the Bears are mentally focused, they are a very tough out, as UNLV learned all too well. Anthony Bennett, who abused Cal’s big in the team’s previous meeting, was virtually a non-factor. Meanwhile, the Bears’ stout zone defense forced the Rebels into a 32 percent shooting effort. While it may have looked as if Cal squeaked by in the end, making just enough free throws to advance to the round of 32, Mike Montgomery’s club was in control from start to finish.
Final: No. 4 Syracuse 81, No. 13 Montana 34 (East Region)
As if the Grizzlies had any chance. Syracuse was 18-4, then 30-11, then 38-15 at the half. The Orange’s first half point total was more than Montana scored the entire game. Brandon Triche scored 20 for Syracuse, leading a balanced offensive attack. The Orange shot 52 percent from the field compared to Montana’s 20 percent clip and had an 11 rebound edge. Really, there was no facet of the game that Syracuse was not dominant.