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Saturday’s March Madness: No. 1 Seed Kansas Falls, Princeton Advances

  • March 19, 2023

The victory ensured that at least one top seed would advance to the second weekend of the N.C.A.A. tournament, after Purdue was shocked by Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night and Kansas was upset by Arkansas on Saturday. Alabama, the other top seed, is playing Maryland on Saturday night. Never have fewer than two top seeds failed to reach the men’s round of 16.

Houston seemed in grave danger after a first half in which Auburn, urged on behind a rousing partisan crowd, carved up what had been billed as one of the nation’s top defenses, racing out to a 41-31 lead.

But after halftime, the Cougars ratcheted up their defensive pressure. They made sure that if Auburn got to the basket, it was going to have bumps and bruises to show for it, and that the Tigers would have to win the game at the free-throw line.

It was there that the game turned. The Tigers, a reasonably proficient free-throw shooting team, at 70 percent, failed miserably, clanking shot after shot off the rim.

Auburn managed only one field goal — a breakaway layup by Wendell Green Jr. — in a nearly 15-minute stretch, by which time Houston was comfortably ahead, 70-57. The Tigers missed 11 consecutive shots at one point, and weren’t much better from the free-throw line, missing 10 of 13 free throws after Johni Broome had given them a 50-48 lead by making one.

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