EditorsNote: Added missing word ‘left’ in final graf
Guards Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard each scored 19 points as No. 13 seed UC Irvine upset short-handed Kansas State 70-64 Friday in the first round of the South Region in San Jose, Calif.
Hazzard made 5 of 11 3-point shots, including a trey with 1:25 left for a five-point lead. Leonard, who added six rebounds, four assists and four steals, hit two key free throws with 17.4 seconds left for a 68-64 lead.
Kansas State’s Barry Brown Jr. then missed a 3-pointer before Leonard added two more free throws with seven seconds to go for the final margin.
Fourth-seeded Kansas State (25-9) was without senior forward Dean Wade because of a foot injury, while Brown — a fellow first-team all-Big 12 performer — managed just five points, all in the second half. Brown sat for the final 14:15 of the first half after picking up two fouls. He shot 2-for-9 from the field.
UC Irvine (31-5) won its first NCAA Tournament game in program history. The Anteaters have won 17 consecutive games and will play in Sunday’s second round against 12th-seeded Oregon, which pulled away to beat Wisconsin 72-54 later Friday.
Kansas State was down eight with 6:03 left but Kamau Stokes’ jumper brought the Wildcats within 63-61 at the 3:21 mark. Kansas State twice had a chance to tie or take the lead but couldn’t convert before Hazzard’s 3 made it 66-61 with 1:25 to go.
Stokes led Kansas State with 18 points. Makol Mawien was a force down low, with his second double-double of the season — 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Leonard made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give UC Irvine a 53-51 lead with 8:35 left. His three free throws at the 6:03 mark completed a 12-0 run that gave the Anteaters a 59-51 edge.
The Wildcats led 28-18 in the first half but missed their final 11 shots over the final six minutes. The Anteaters chipped away, with Elston Jones scoring seven points in a 9-0 run to make it 28-27.
Kansas State’s Mike McGuirl stopped the run with two free throws with 1:02 left before halftime, but Hazzard nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer before sprinting off the court with his team tied at 30.
—Field Level Media