CONNECTICUT GUARD Ryan Boatright (11) is guarded by Iowa State forwards Anthony Booker (22) and Royce White, right, in the second half of their NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday

CONNECTICUT GUARD Ryan Boatright (11) is guarded by Iowa State forwards Anthony Booker (22) and Royce White, right, in the second half of their NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Reserve forward James Southerland had 15 points and a season- high eight rebounds, and Syracuse avoided becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 when it rallied for a 72-65 victory over North Carolina-Asheville on Thursday in the East Regional.

The Orange entered the tournament without starting center Fab Melo, who was declared ineligible for academic reasons, and they almost left early with a piece of history no team wants. Instead, Syracuse (32-2) will play eighth-seeded Kansas State in the third round Saturday.

The Orange overcame a terrible game from 3-point range (5 of 23) to beat the much-smaller Bulldogs (24- 10), who had talked Wednesday of becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1.

J.P. Primm had 18 points for UNCAsheville.

The Bulldogs were up 34-30 at halftime — the third 16 seed to lead at the break — but the Orange took the lead for good with 6:17 left on a turnaround jumper by Southerland. The Bulldogs were within three points three times in the final 1:04 but got no closer.

No. 2 Ohio State 78, No. 15 Loyola, Md. 59

Deshaun Thomas scored a careerhigh 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Ohio State.

Jared Sullinger added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes (28-7), who dominated the smaller Greyhounds inside, finishing with a 49-24 rebound advantage.

Ohio State will play seventh-seeded Gonzaga in the third round on Saturday at the Consol Energy Center.

No. 4 Wisconsin 73, No. 13 Montana 49

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. ( AP) — Ryan Evans scored 18 points and Jordan Taylor added 17 points and six assists for Wisconsin, which ended Montana’s school-record 14- game winning streak.

The Badgers (25-9) improved to 10- 1 in NCAA tournament openers under Bo Ryan, the winningest coach in the program’s history.

No. 4 Vanderbilt 79, No. 12 Harvard 70

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. ( AP) — John Jenkins made all six of his free throws down the stretch and finished with 27 points to help Vanderbilt hold off Harvard in a game billed as "The Brain Bowl."

No. 7 Gonzaga 77, No. 10 West Virginia 54

Robert Sacre and Gary Bell Jr. scored 14 points apiece as Gonzaga routed West Virginia.

Kevin Pangos added 13 points and five assists for the seventh-seeded Bulldogs (26-6), who will play Ohio State in the third round on Saturday.

No. 8 Kansas State 70, No. 9 Southern Miss 64

Rodney McGruder scored 30 points and Jordan Henriquez added 15 points, nine rebounds and six blocks to lead Kansas State over Southern Mississippi.

The Wildcats (22-10) advanced past their opening tournament game for the third straight year.

West Regional

No. 3 Marquette 88, No. 14 BYU 68

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( AP) — Jae Crowder had 25 points and 16 rebounds, Darius Johnson-Odom scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half and Marquette withstood another furious rally by BYU.

Brandon Davies had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Cougars (26-9), who looked for a brief while as if they might have a chance to top their historic comeback in the First Four on Tuesday night. After trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, BYU got within 52-46 with 15:28 left. But the Golden Eagles (28-5) were simply too big and too strong.

No. 6 Murray State 58, No. 11 Colorado State 41

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Isaiah Canaan scored 15 points in Murray State’s return to the NCAA tournament after a two- year wait, and Donte Poole added 13 to lead the Racers past Colorado State.

Poole scored Murray State’s first eight points early, and the Racers shook off an 11-day wait with an 18-2 rally to start the second half.

No. 4 Louisville 69, No. 13 Davidson 62

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Peyton Siva scored 17 points and Louisville finally moved on in the NCAA tournament by beating Davidson.

After getting ousted in their first tournament game the past two seasons, coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals (27-9) advanced to play fifthseeded New Mexico in the third round.

No. 5 New Mexico 75, No. 12 Long Beach State 68

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kendall Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and bottled up Long Beach State star Casper Ware defensively to help New Mexico hold off the 49ers.

Drew Gordon added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Lobos.

With most of the 49ers’ defensive efforts focused on slowing down Gordon, New Mexico’s punishing forward, Williams came up with key shots when the opportunities were there. The Lobos (28-6) then hit their free throws in the final minute to close it out.

Williams’ length and quickness bothered Ware. The Big West player of the year went nearly 25 minutes without a field goal and finished with 17 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

South Regional

No. 1 Kentucky 81, No. 16 Western Kentucky 66

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( AP) — Terrence Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Doron Lamb scored 16 and Kentucky began its quest for an eighth national title with a staggering display of athleticism in a victory over Western Kentucky.

Freshman and player of the year candidate Anthony Davis added 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks for Kentucky, which was never seriously threatened.

Western Kentucky (16-19) saw its improbable seven- game winning streak end. Freshman T. J. Price scored 16 of his career- high 21 points in the first half before fouling out late.

No. 3 Baylor 68, No. 14 South Dakota State 60

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. ( AP) — Pierre Jackson scored 18 points and Baylor held off South Dakota State to advance to the third round.

The Bears (28-7) fell behind by 12 in the first half before taking a 36-28 halftime lead that they never relinquished. But it was a nail-biter.

Making their first trip to the NCAA tournament, the Jackrabbits (27-8) misfired on a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left that would have made it one- point game. Then, the Bears iced it at the line.

No. 4 Indiana 79, No. 13 New Mexico State 66

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jordan Hulls went on a second-half shooting spree and finished with 22 points, and Indiana rolled past New Mexico State.

Making its return after a fouryear tournament absence, the Hoosiers (26-8) picked up their first tournament win since beating Gonzaga in 2007 on a night their main stars — Cody Zeller and Christian Watford — did the heavy lifting in the opening minutes then watched Hulls and others carry the load.

No. 8 Iowa State 77, No. 9 UConn 64

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Chris Allen scored 20 points to lead four Iowa State players in double figures, and the Cyclones scored their last 14 at the free-throw line.

Connecticut’s loss marked the first time since UCLA in 1996 that the defending champs were beaten in their opening game. Huskies coach Jim Calhoun didn’t even wait for the final buzzer, heading for halfcourt with about 4 seconds left to congratulate Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

After leading by 22 in the first half, Iowa State (23-10) withstood a UConn rally in the second half. Ryan Boatright went on a one-man tear, making three straight baskets to pull Connecticut within 58-52 with 8:24 to play. But the Huskies (20-14) couldn’t get any closer, going scoreless for more than 5 1/2 minutes.

Iowa State will face No. 1 seed Kentucky in the third round Saturday.

No. 11 Colorado 68, No. 6 UNLV 64

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. ( AP) — Freshman reserve Askia Booker scored 16 points Thursday night and Colorado held off a furious UNLV rally.

The Buffaloes (24-11) led 49-29 with just under 15 minutes remaining, then the Rebels (26-9) went on a 26-8 run to cut the margin to two at the 4:20 mark.

But UNLV missed its next seven shots and Carlon Brown took a fullcourt pass for a windmill dunk to help the Buffs gather themselves and win in their first NCAA appearance since 2003.

Austin Dufault finished with 14 points and Andre Roberson had 12 points and 16 rebounds for Colorado, which plays Baylor on Saturday.

No. 12 VCU 62, No. 5 Wichita State 59

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Bradford Burgess hit a key 3-pointer with 1:33 left and Shaka Smart coached VCU to another tournament surprise, holding off Wichita State.

The Rams (29-6) led by as many as 13 in the second half, but the Shockers closed to 54-53 on Garrett Stutz’s layup with 5:39 left. Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer for the Rams, and Joe Ragland answered with his own for Wichita State.

ToureMurrymadea3thatgave Wichita State the lead, but Burgess came back with his big shot to give the Rams a 60-59 edge. Darius Theus’ runner from about 6 feet provided the final margin.

Stutz’s long jumper just before the buzzer was off for Wichita State (26- 6).

VCU made a stunning run all the way from the First Four to the Final Four last season.