Not even many basketball fans knew about Florida Gulf Coast just a couple of weeks ago.
They do now. the Eagles are the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16.
Bernard Thompson scored 23 points, and Sherwood Robinson added 17 to lead FGCU to its second NCAA tournament win in as many tries, an 81-71 victory over San Diego State on Sunday night in Philadelphia.
Now, the Eagles (26-10) will face an opponent that should know a lot more about them. Third-seeded Florida will play FGCU on Friday night in the semifinals of the South Regional in Dallas.
The upstart state school against the main campus. Seems right up FGCU’s alley.
Jamal Franklin had 20 points for the seventh-seeded Aztecs (23-11), who were trying to reach the regional semifinals for the second time in 3 years.
No. 3 Florida 78, No. 11 Minnesota 64: Also in the South Regional, Mike Rosario scored 25 points, and Florida used an overpowering first half to roll past Minnesota.
The Gators (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 Gophers (21-13).
Hollins’ 3-point shooting sparked a second-half rally that pulled Minnesota within seven points, but Rosario’s sixth 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pushed the Gators’ lead back to 16.
West Region – No. 13 La Salle 76, No. 12 Mississppi 74: Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left, vaulting the Explorers to their deepest run in the NCAA tournament since they played for the championship in 1955.
Ramon Galloway had 24 points for La Salle (24-9), which was playing its third game in five days. No. 12 Ole Miss (27-9) led 74-72 with 1:58 left but failed to reach the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.
East Region: No. 2 Duke 66, No. 7 Creighton 50: Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points, and the Devils made the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in 5 years.
Creighton (28-8) went cold and never made a serious run in the second half. Doug McDermott scored 21 points but made only four baskets.
No. 1 Kansas, No. 8 North Carolina 58: Kansas got the best of ‘ol Roy and his Tar Heels once again, behind the play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey.
Withey had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Releford finished with 22 points for the Jayhawks (31-5), who also knocked former coach Roy Williams’ team out of the NCAA tournament during their 2008 title run and again last season.
P.J. Hairston scored 15 points and James Michael McAdoo finished with 11 for the Tar Heels (25-11).