The Latest: Cunningham gets shoe help from ref, cheerleader


The Latest on Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament (all times eastern):

5:00 p.m.

When Jacksonville State’s Christian Cunningham’s shoe came off during an offensive possession, the referee picked it up and handed it to a cheerleader as play continued. Malcolm Drumwright ended the possession by banking in a 3-pointer to get the Gamecocks to 61-52 against Louisville.

___

4:40 p.m.

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes will have a few extra people chanting his name Saturday — just not intentionally.

The third-seeded Seminoles play No. 11 seed Xavier in the second round in Orlando, Florida, so all those “Let’s Go X” chants coming from the Musketeers section might as well be for the FSU junior.

“It’s pretty cool that we’re playing Xavier,” Rathan-Mayes said. “But we’ve got a game to win, and that’s all that counts.”

Rathan-Mayes said he didn’t think it would be a distraction to hear the X chants.

“I don’t think it’s going to have too much of an effect,” he said. “When I’m out there, I don’t really hear the crowd too much or the chants. I don’t really focus on it too much.”

___

4:35 p.m.

The head of officiating for the NCAA says the referees made the right call by calling a flagrant foul against Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez as he tried to stop the clock near the end of his team’s loss to Arkansas.

The call with 18.3 seconds left gave Arkansas two free throws and the ball. Jaylen Barford, who fell on the play, hit the free throws and Seton Hall immediately fouled again. Another free throw from Daryl Macon put the game out of reach.

J.D. Collins is the NCAA’s national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating. He says the referees called the play as instructed by calling a normal foul, then reviewing the play and calling a flagrant because Rodriguez did not make a play on the ball.

Collins says incidental contact that caused Barford to trip didn’t matter because Rodriguez ran up from behind with two hands on his opponent.

Collins say referees look for players to make a legitimate play on the ball.

___

3:50 p.m.

The favorites continue to roll at the NCAA Tournament.

The higher-seeded teams improved to 17-2 through the first 27 hours of the tournament after eighth-seeded Arkansas survived against ninth-seeded Seton Hall. The number should move to 18-2 with third-seeded Oregon up big over Iona.

Call it March Meh-dness instead of March Madness.

Maybe the most intriguing late afternoon matchup is a meeting between sixth-seeded Creighton and 11th-seeded Rhode Island.

The Rams won the Atlantic 10 tournament to reach the NCAAs for the first time since 1999.

___

3:25 p.m.

Injured Oregon star Chris Boucher stands up carefully, his injured left knee in a bulky brace, to pump his arms and cheer his teammates during their NCAA opener against Iona.

Forced into a cheerleading role isn’t how the Ducks’ senior star from Quebec saw his final collegiate season ending.

He tore his ACL in a victory against California in the semifinals of last weekend’s Pac-12 Tournament. Boucher was Oregon’s third-leading scorer at 11.8 points, also averaging 6.1 rebounds and 2.55 blocks before getting hurt. The Ducks lost by three points to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament final without him.

___

3:10 p.m.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett says leading rebounder Isaiah Wilkins is doubtful to play against No. 4 seed Florida on Saturday night in Orlando, Florida, because of strep throat.

The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 6.8 points and 6.0 rebounds, and Bennett calls him the “heart and soul of our defense.” Wilkins also leads the team in blocks (43) and steals (33).

“This virus is hanging on, and he’s lost some weight,” Bennett said. “I’m not expecting him to play, but you never know.”

Wilkins played just 5 minutes in the Cavaliers’ opening-round game against UNC Wilmington on Thursday. Because of his illness, the fifth-seeded Cavs went with a five-guard lineup in their 76-71 victory against the Seahawks.

They don’t plan on doing that against the Gators, so getting something from Wilkins would be ideal.

___

2:55 p.m.

Iona star Jordan Washington went down hard under Oregon’s basket, screaming in pain after grabbing above his left shin area. He limped off with help at the 1:12 mark of the first half and Iona trailing the third-seeded Ducks 52-35 in the first round of the Midwest Regional at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center.

Washington brought energy on both ends to lead No. 14 seed Iona, driving for a pretty spin move with 11:46 left in the first half then taking a charge from Dorsey moments later. He then drew another one.

He had 14 points and five rebounds when he left the court, having scored 14 of his team’s initial 18 points. Oregon led 55-37 at halftime.

___

2:40 p.m.

Oklahoma State lost a tough one to Michigan, but the Cowboys’ financial backers won in the process.

When Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans hit a running 3-pointer at the horn to make the final score Michigan 92, Oklahoma State 91, Evans did a solid for folks who put money on the Cowboys.

The seventh-seeded Wolverines entered the game as a 2.5-point favorite. Evans’ heave – his only made 3-pointer in a game in which he finished with 23 points – meant the 10th-seeded Cowboys covered the spread.

So much for entertainment purposes only.

___

2:30 p.m.

Arkansas forward Moses Kingsley is having quite a start to his NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-10 senior had 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting — including a 3-pointer — during the first half of the eighth-seeded Razorbacks’ South Region opener against ninth-seeded Seton Hall. He came in averaging 11.8 points on 46-percent shooting.

In his last action, the preseason Southeastern Conference player of the year was called for a late flagrant foul and ejected in the last weekend’s loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship game.

The teams were tied 37-all at halftime.

___

1:40 p.m.

A historic season for Baylor is in danger of ending with a disappointing thud.

The third-seeded Bears trail 14th-seed New Mexico State 40-38 at the break. Baylor is no stranger to NCAA disappointment. Last spring the Bears came into the tournament as a fifth seed and fell to 12th-seeded Yale in the opening round of the tournament.

The Aggies are no stranger to the NCAAs, having reached the tourney in six of the last eight years. It’s been awhile, though, since New Mexico State has advanced. The Aggies’ last NCAA victory came in 1993 when they beat Nebraska in the first round.

___

1:30 p.m.

An NCAA Tournament game is underway in South Carolina for the first time in 15 years.

Arkansas and Seton Hall tipped off Friday’s slate of four games in Greenville, which last hosted the tournament in 2002. The reasons — both for the long absence and the return — are rooted in state-level politics in the Carolinas.

The NCAA had banned South Carolina from as a predetermined-site host due to the presence of a Confederate flag on state capitol grounds, though that was lifted after the flag’s removal in 2015. And the NCAA stripped opening-weekend games from Greensboro, North Carolina, last fall and moved them here after that state passed a law limiting protections for LGBT people.

South No. 1 seed North Carolina and East No. 2 seed Duke are also playing in Greenville, games that should’ve been held roughly an hour from their campuses in their home state.

___

12:45 p.m.

So you’re pretty pleased with your brackets after nailing all your picks during Day 1 of the tournament?

Don’t get too excited, you’re hardly alone.

ESPN says there were over 154,000 perfect brackets out of over 18 million entered in the site’s bracket challenge.

Things figure to get a bit messy as Day 2 ramps up, though a head start in your office pool is never a bad thing. As far as keeping it going all the way through the championship game, the odds of going a perfect 63 for 63 is one literally one in a billion. But like Jim Carrey so famously said in “Dumb & Dumber” ”so you’re saying there’s a chance?”

___

12:30 p.m.

New Mexico State and Baylor will take March Madness all over the world.

Their NCAA Tournament game in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will feature 10 players who were born outside of the United States. New Mexico State has seven, and its coach, Paul Weir, is from Toronto. France, Ivory Coast, Kenya, India, Australia, Belgium, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Canada all will be represented by birth or heritage when the two teams take the court.

The NBA had a record 113 international players on opening-day rosters this season, and Weir said the college game is following. More than half the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament had at least one player from another country on their rosters at the start of the season. Saint Mary’s alone has seven Australians on its roster.

___

11:30 p.m.

Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament won’t have much work to do if it wants to top a decidedly staid Day 1.

The higher seeds went 14-2 on Thursday, the only upsets coming by 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee and 11th seeded Xavier.

The rest of the field gets underway Friday, with streaking Big Ten champion Michigan taking on 10th-seeded Oklahoma State at 12:15 p.m EST. The early games include third-seeded Baylor against 14th-seeded New Mexico State, eighth-seeded Arkansas against ninth-seeded Seton Hall and third-seeded Oregon against 14th-seed Iona.

Top seeds North Carolina and Kansas get started a little later.

The upset alert button will be ready for 10th-seeded Wichita State against seventh-seeded Dayton in the South Region. Over 70 percent of brackets on Yahoo opted for the Shockers over the Flyers.