Arizona 70, San Diego State 64
ANAHEIM —Nick Johnson scored 15 of Arizona’s final 16 points and the Wildcats advanced to the West Regional Final following a 70-64 triumph over San Diego State on Thursday night.
The Pac-12 Player of the Year Johnson began 0-of-10 from the floor before his layup gave Arizona 56-51 lead with 2:46 left. After J.J. O’Brien made two foul shots, Johnson knocked down a right wing triple to extend the margin to 59-53 with 1:52 on the clock.
Johnson hit all 10 of his foul shots down the stretch to send top-seeded Arizona (33-4) to its first Elite Eight since 2011. The Wildcats will face second-seeded Wisconsin in the West Regional Final on Saturday.
Aaron Gordon had 15 points and seven rebounds, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 15 points and five boards for the Wildcats, who are in their third Sweet 16 in four years. Arizona also defeated the Aztecs, 69-60, earlier this season on Nov. 14.
Xavier Thames netted 25 points to lead fourth-seeded San Diego State (31-5), which has never reached the Elite Eight. Dwayne Polee provided 13 points and Josh Davis pulled down 14 boards in defeat.
Dayton 82, Stanford 72
MEMPHIS — Dayton has not danced this long in 30 years. Jordan Sibert led the way with 18 points and the upstart Flyers thoroughly handled Stanford, 82-72, in a Sweet 16 battle of double-digit seeds from the South Region.
Eleven different players scored in an efficiently balanced attack for the 11th-seeded Flyers (26-10), who made 48.3 percent of their shots and assisted on 19 of their 28 made baskets. Kendall Pollard scored 12 points off the bench, Devin Oliver chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds and Matt Kavanaugh added 10 points for Dayton, which last reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1984, when it lost to Georgetown in the regional final. They’ll face another perennial power on Saturday in top-seeded Florida.
Stanford’s leading scorer, Chasson Randle, needed 21 shots to score 21 points, and the 10th-seeded Cardinal (23-13) had three other double-digit scorers in Dwight Powell, Stefan Nastic and Josh Huestis. Powell finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, Nastic had 15 points before fouling out and Huestis netted 13, but Stanford only received two points from its short bench as opposed to Dayton getting 34 from its reserves.
Florida 79, UCLA 68
MEMPHIS — Another Florida-UCLA meeting in the NCAA Tournament went the way of the Gators. Michael Frazier II made five 3- pointers and scored a team-high 19 points and top-seeded Florida ousted the Bruins for the fourth time in the past eight years with a tense 79-68 victory in a familiar Sweet 16 showdown.
Florida (35-2) has now reached the Elite Eight four straight years, and while the previous three all ended in defeats, the Gators get another shot at a Final Four appearance on Saturday against upstart Dayton.
UCLA (28-9) was within one with 10 minutes to go before SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin stepped up and scored eight of his 13 points in the final six-plus minutes to help Florida pull away for its 29th consecutive win. Casey Prather added 12 points and Dorian Finney- Smith netted 10 in the win. Jordan Adams led the fourth-seeded Bruins with 17 points, while Travis Wear had 14 for the Pac-12 Tournament champions, who also lost to Florida in the 2006 title game, the 2007 Final Four and the 2011 round-of-32.
Wisconsin 69, Baylor 52
ANAHEIM — Wisconsin’s crisp ball movement and passing picked apart Baylor’s zone and the Badgers’ third Sweet 16 appearance in the last four years finally resulted in a win. Frank Kaminsky had 19 points and six blocks and Wisconsin routed Baylor, 69-52, in a West Region semifinal from Anaheim.
Second-seeded Wisconsin (29-7), which hasn’t reached a Regional Final since 2005, hasn’t made the Final Four during Ryan’s tenure since he took over the program in 2001. It’ll get a shot Saturday against top-seeded Arizona. Ben Brust tallied 14 points and six rebounds, while Nigel Hayes added 10 points and six boards for the Badgers, who tallied 18 assists on 26 made field goals (26- of-50). They registered 36 points in the paint against the lengthy Baylor zone. Sixth-seeded Baylor (26-12) came in winning 12 of its last 14 games following a midseason swoon, but never found its rhythm against Wisconsin’s scrappy defense.