NCAA Tournament roundup: Alabama stuns top seed UNC

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Grant Nelson scored fourth-seeded Alabama’s final five points, including a three-point play with 38 seconds left that put the Crimson Tide ahead for good in a 89-87 win over top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday in an NCAA Tournament West Region semifinal in Los Angeles. Alabama (24-11) rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit, holding North Carolina to seven points through the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Crimson Tide’s defensive effort to open the second half produced a back-and-forth final stretch in a contest that featured 13 ties and 12 lead changes. Nelson put up a game-high 24 points for the Crimson Tide, who advance to face sixth-seeded Clemson on Saturday in the regional final. Aaron Estrada and Rylan Griffen each scored 19 points. Armando Bacot led North Carolina (29-8) with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Cormac Ryan scored 17 points, and RJ Davis had 16 points and seven assists. West Region

No. 6 Clemson 77, No. 2 Arizona 72

Chase Hunter’s and-one play with 25.7 seconds remaining capped his game-high-matching 18-point performance, and the Tigers held off the Wildcats to earn their first trip to the Elite Eight since 1980 in Los Angeles.

Clemson (24-11) led nearly wire-to-wire behind the play of Hunter — who also had seven rebounds and five assists — and PJ Hall, who scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Ian Schieffelin added 14 points, including some pivotal baskets in the second half, and snared seven rebounds.

Caleb Love, who scored 13 points, went 0-of-9 from beyond the arc for Arizona (27-9). He shot 5-of-18 from the floor overall. Oumar Ballo finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds but was just 1-of-7 at the foul line. Keshad Johnson grabbed 11 rebounds to go with six points.

East Region

No. 1 UConn 82, No. 5 San Diego State 52

Cam Spencer scored a team-high 18 points and the Huskies dominated the offensive glass to beat the Aztecs in a meeting of East Region teams in the Sweet 16. Spencer added five rebounds for the Huskies (34-3), who grabbed 21 offensive boards that led to 12 second-chance points. Tristen Newton chipped in 17 points and seven rebounds, and Stephon Castle supplied 16 and 11, respectively, as UConn became the first defending champion to reach the Elite Eight since Florida in 2007. The Huskies downed the Aztecs 76-59 in last year’s national championship game. Jaedon LeDee paced San Diego State (26-11) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Micah Parrish had 10 points as the Aztecs’ only other scorer in double figures. San Diego State was outshot 46.2 percent to 36.2 percent from the field.

No. 3 Illinois 72, No. 2 Iowa State 69 Terrence Shannon Jr. poured in 29 points and the Illini held off a second-half rally to earn a victory over the Cyclones.

The Fighting Illini will face No. 1 seed UConn in the Elite Eight on Saturday. Coleman Hawkins chipped in 12 points and six rebounds for the Fighting Illini (29-8), who outshot Iowa State 42.1 percent to 39.7 percent. Curtis Jones paced Iowa State (29-8) with 26 points. Keshon Gilbert supplied 14, and Tre King had 12 to go along with seven boards.