Clemson advances to the Elite Eight

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chase Hunter scored 18 points and converted a three-point play with 25.7 seconds remaining, and Clemson advanced to the Elite Eight for the second time in school history, beating Arizona 77-72 in a West Region semifinal on Thursday night.

PJ Hall added 17 points for the sixth-seeded Tigers (24-11), who advanced to face either top-seeded North Carolina or No. 4 seed Alabama.

Clemson last reached the final eight in 1980, when there were 48 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Coach Brad Brownell was making his second appearance in the second weekend of March Madness in his 14 seasons with the Tigers.

Oumar Ballo scored 15 points and Caleb Love 13 for second-seeded Arizona (27-9), which had a horrific shooting night, going 5 of 28 (17.9%) from 3-point range. Love missed all nine of his attempts beyond the arc as the Wildcats failed to reach the Elite Eight for the 12th time overall and first time since 2015.

ALABAMA 89, NORTH CAROLINA 87

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Grant Nelson converted a go-ahead three-point play with 38 seconds remaining, and Alabama beat top-seeded North Carolina to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history.

Nelson finished with a season-high 24 points, 19 in the second half, and he blocked RJ Davis’ attempt at a tying layup after giving Alabama the lead. Rylan Griffen added 19 points, tying his career high with five 3-pointers, and Aaron Estrada also scored 19 for the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide (24-11).

Bacot finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds for UNC (29-8). Cormac Ryan had 17 points and made five 3-pointers and Davis had 16 points.

EAST REGION

UCONN 82, SAN DIEGO STATE 52

BOSTON (AP) — Stephon Castle had 16 points and 11 rebounds for top-seeded UConn and the defending NCAA champion advanced to the Elite Eight with another double-digit victory, beating San Diego State 82-52 in a rematch of last year’s title game.

Cam Spencer scored 18 points and Tristen Newton added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies (34-3), who will play the winner of the other East Region semifinal between No. 2 Iowa State and No. 3 Illinois for a spot in the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona.

Seven-footer Donovan Clingan, who played just 23 minutes after getting into foul trouble, had eight points and eight rebounds.

Jaedon LeDee scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half for fifth-seeded San Diego State, which followed up the only Final Four appearance in school history with another Sweet 16 run.

ILLINIOIS 72, IOWA STATE 69

BOSTON (AP) — Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 29 points and Illinois reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005, beating Iowa State.

Shannon had 20 points in the first half for the third-seeded Illini (29-8), who never trailed. He broke away for a dunk in the closing seconds and later hit two free throws to help Illinois finally put away the second-seeded Cyclones (29-8).

Illinois made a regional final for the fourth time in the past 40 years and will meet defending champion UConn on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.

Curtis Jones scored 26 points to lead Iowa State, which came into March Madness having blown out Houston for the Big 12 Tournament title.

AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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