NCAA Latest: Father-son tandem helps UCF to second round


The Latest on the second round of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):

4:45 p.m.

Central Florida’s Johnny Dawkins was hesitant about coaching his son, Aubrey, when the younger Dawkins decided to transfer after two seasons at Michigan. But things could not have worked out much better for those two.

The ninth-seeded Knights will take on top overall seed Duke for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Sunday. Johnny Dawkins used to train Aubrey as a boy and teenager after his day job either as a Duke assistant from 1998 to 2008 or as Stanford head coach after that.

Dad was concerned the good father-son relationship might strain if Aubrey played for him, but friends and fellow coaches like Steve Alford said he shouldn’t miss that experience.

“They were absolutely right,” Johnny Dawkins said Saturday.

Aubrey Dawkins, a redshirt junior, is averaging 15.1 points a game. Aubrey Dawkins has also loved the time together. He likes that his father treats him like the rest of his teammates.

“We don’t see it as father-son,” UCF center Tacko Fall said. “We see all of us as his sons.”

– Pete Iacobelli reporting from Columbia, South Carolina.


4:30 p.m.

A GoFundMe page has drawn more than $30,000 in donations for the family of Florida State forward Phil Cofer, who found out after Thursday’s game his father had died after a long illness.

Mike Cofer, a former NFL linebacker, died at age 58. His son was expected to remain with the team for Saturday’s second-round West Region game against Murray State, but it was unclear if Phil Cofer would play. He missed the Seminoles’ first game against Vermont with a foot injury.

The official FSU Hoops Twitter account tweeted out a link to the GoFundMe, and the Murray State Sports account retweeted it.

– Ralph D. Russo reporting from Hartford, Connecticut.


4 p.m.

Kentucky has pulled ahead at halftime of its Midwest Regional game against Wofford.

The second-seeded Wildcats finished the opening half on a 10-2 run, going to the locker room with a 28-26 lead.

Kentucky is doing a good job on Wofford star Fletcher Magee, who has only two points on 1-of-6 shooting. The NCAA Division I career leader in 3-pointers has missed all four of his attempts beyond the arc.

Reid Travis leads Kentucky’s balanced attack with six points. Nathan Hoover is pacing seventh-seeded Wofford with 11.

– Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


3:25 p.m.

It may be a No. 9 seed going against top-seeded Virginia on Sunday, but don’t call Oklahoma a Cinderella.

In the South bracket, where three double-digit seeds survived the first round and the winner of Sunday’s Oklahoma-Virginia game will play the winner of No. 12 Oregon and No. 13 UC Irvine, Sooners guard Christian James says the slipper doesn’t fit his team.

James says Oklahoma expected to be in the tournament’s second round even after a five-game losing streak during Big 12 play.

The senior was also part of the Oklahoma team that went to the Final Four in 2016.

– Jeffrey Collins reporting from Columbia, South Carolina.


2:45 p.m.

A buzzer beater at the NCAA Tournament.

Tremont Waters drove around three defenders and flipped in a shot with 1.6 seconds remaining to give LSU a 69-67 victory over Maryland in the second round of the East Region.

Maryland rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half, setting up the thrilling finish. Skylar Mays hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, giving LSU a 67-64 lead, but Jalen Smith answered from the corner with 26 seconds remaining to tie it.

The first round of this tournament was a bit light on exciting finishes. New Mexico State’s Trevelin Queen shot an air ball from the wing, missing a chance to beat Auburn, and Iowa State’s Nick Weiler-Babb missed a 3-pointer against Ohio State that would have tied the game.

Waters took advantage of his opportunity. He ran the clock down, got a pick near the foul line and drove down the right side of the lane to make the game winner.

Third-seeded LSU (28-6) is heading to the Sweet 16 for first time since reaching the Final Four in 2006. The Tigers will face the winner of the Michigan State-Minnesota game. Those teams are playing Saturday night. Maryland finishes 23-11.

– Paul Newberry reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


1:15 p.m.

LSU is handling Maryland in the post and on the scoreboard.

Naz Reid has 8 points, all of them in the paint, and the Tigers lead the Terrapins 38-29 at halftime on Saturday.

No. 3 seed LSU has doubled up sixth-seeded Maryland in the paint, 20-10. The Tigers also played exceptional defense, holding Maryland to 28.6 percent from the field and forcing six turnovers.

Maryland trailed by as many 15 midway through the half, but got it under double digits thanks to two late 3-pointers by Aaron Wiggins. Wiggins hit one with 1:01 remaining and another with four ticks left.

It didn’t help Maryland that forward Jalen Smith picked up two fouls and played less than 10 minutes.

– Mark Long reporting from Jacksonville, Florida.


12:10 p.m.

Time to see whether the upstarts of the NCAA Tournament can dance their way to the Sweet 16.

Seventh seeded Wofford of the Southern Conference plays No. 2 seed Kentucky on Saturday in a game that will test how the team outside the Power Five is set up for a deep run.

The Terriers have won 21 straight games and haven’t lost since Dec. 19. They were ranked in the AP Top 25 for much of the season. Kentucky is favored by 5 but is playing without leading scorer and rebounder PJ Washington because of a foot sprain.

No. 12 seed Murray State also plays Florida State in the West, riding high behind Ja Morant and his virtuoso performance with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in a rout of fifth-seeded Marquette in the first round.


11:45 a.m.

The Big Ten leads the tournament among conferences with seven teams still in and a 7-1 record.

It’s even set up for a less than ideal second-round matchup between No. 2 seed Michigan State and 10th-seeded Minnesota.

Here’s a quick look at the rest of the conference records going into Round 2 among those that have teams remaining, including the first four play-in games:

– Big Ten, 7-1, 7 teams left

– SEC, 5-2, 5 teams

– ACC, 5-2, 5 teams

– Big 12, 4-2, 4 teams

– Pac-12, 3-1, 2 teams

– American Athletic, 2-2, 2 teams

– Ohio Valley, 2-1, 1 team

– Big West, Southern, MAC, Atlantic Sun, 1-0, 1 team each

– West Coast, 1-1, 1 team

– Big East, 1-3, 1 team.


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Central Florida guard Aubrey Dawkins looks to shoot against VCU during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)