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NCAA basketball: Florida Gulf Coast becomes first 15 seed to reach Sweet 16

Published March 24, 2013 10:31 pm

South • Florida Gulf Coast becomes first 15 seed in Sweet 16.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Philadelphia • Florida Gulf Coast became the first 15 to reach the Sweet 16, and the Eagles not only made it look easy, they made it look fun.

Little-known FGCU beat San Diego State 81-71 on Sunday night, its second NCAA Tournament upset of the weekend. Just like in their opening victory over second-seeded Georgetown — the Eagles' calling card to the nation — there were plenty of laughs, dunks and dances.

"We don't take ourselves too seriously," said Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield, whose players tossed him in the air and doused him with water in a raucous celebration before his postgame interviews. "We try to have fun, get serious when we have to.

"Our goal was to make history and we did it."

Bernard Thompson had 23 points and Sherwood Brown added 17 for FGCU, the Atlantic Sun champion.

In its first-ever NCAA Tournament game on Friday, the 15th-seeded Eagles busted brackets everywhere with their win over Georgetown, a game in which the Eagles took control with a 21-2 run in the second half.

It went much the same way against seventh-seeded San Diego State (23-11).

This time the run was 17-0 and Brown, who was saddled early in the second half with foul trouble, had eight of the first 10 points of it. When it was over the Eagles led 71-52 with 4:19 to play.

Kansas 70, North Carolina 58 • Behind the impassioned play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, the top-seeded Jayhawks shook themselves out of a first-half slumber and blitzed No. 8 seed North Carolina down the stretch in Kansas City, Mo.

Withey posted 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Releford finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks (31-5).

The Tar Heels (25-11) harassed the Jayhawks into a dozen turnovers and one of their worst shooting performances of the season in taking a 30-21 lead at the break.

Florida 78, Minnesota 64 • Mike Rosario scored 25 points in Austin, Texas, and the third-seeded Gators used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota and into the Sweet 16 for third consecutive year. Florida (28-7) shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and led by 21 by halftime.

Andre Hollins scored 25 points to lead the 11th-seeded Gophers (21-13).