GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Jack Nunge scored 18 points, Adam Kunkel added 15 on five first-half 3-pointers, and No. 3 seed Xavier beat 11th-seeded Pittsburgh 84-73 on Sunday to reach its first Sweet 16 since 2017.
Colby Jones had 10 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and Souley Boum and Jerome Hunter each chipped in with 14 points as all five Xavier starters scored in double digits.
Xavier distributed the ball well, particularly early on with 17 assists on 19 baskets in the first half to build a 48-34 lead at the break. The Musketeers finished with 22 assists.
Xavier (27-9) moves on to play No. 2 seed Texas on Friday in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri.
Blake Hinson scored 18 points and Jamarius Burton had 16 for Pitt (24-12).
KANSAS STATE 75, KENTUCKY 69
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Markquis Nowell scored 23 of his 27 points after halftime and Kansas State overcame a horrid start from outside by hitting a couple of clutch 3-pointers while topping Kentucky.
The win sends the third-seeded Wildcats (25-9) to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018, and it came thanks to a series of big shots that finally pushed them through in a tight game.
Kansas State missed its first 13 3-pointers and sat at 2 for 17 for the game when the outside shots started falling. There was Nowell burying a step-back 3 against Cason Wallace to bring Kansas State within 60-59, followed a bit later by Ismael Massoud burying one from the right wing at the 2:21 mark that gave Kansas State the lead for good at 64-62.
Keyontae Johnson added one more from that side of the court in front of the Kansas State bench, pushing the lead to 67-62 with 1:23 left _ sending a jolt with the kind of margin that felt massive considering nearly all of the second half had been played within four points.
The 5-foot-8 Nowell, a third-team Associated Press All-American, played a fearless floor game while making 7 of 14 shots and 10 of 11 free throws. He also hit three 3s, including the first one over Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe after an 0-for-13 start by Kansas State and another after halftime with his left foot on the “March Madness” logo near midcourt.
Tshiebwe had 25 points and 18 rebounds for sixth-seeded Kentucky (22-12), which shot 55% after halftime and led by eight early in the second half. But the Wildcats never could stretch that lead out, then couldn’t make their own big outside shots (4 for 20 for the game) to answer when Kansas State made its move.