March 22, 2019 / 8:33 PM / 6 months ago

No. 13 seed UC Irvine stuns Kansas State

EditorsNote: Added missing word ‘left’ in final graf

Mar 22, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; UC Irvine Anteaters cheerleader performs during the first half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament between the UC Irvine Anteaters and the Kansas State Wildcats at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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

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