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NCAA Tournament: No. 9 seed Northern Iowa knocks off No. 1 seed Kansas

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kansas forward Marcus Morris fell onto the left baseline with his jersey pulled over his head as the rest of his team headed off the floor.

Teammate Tyshawn Taylor tried desperately to pull Morris off his knees. Several seconds later, Morris' twin brother, Markieff, helped him to his feet. The three slowly headed toward the locker room, their faces displaying pure shock.

The NCAA Tournament brackets of millions of Americans took a serious blow when top-seeded Kansas, favored by many to win it all, lost 69-67 to ninth-seeded Northern Iowa on Saturday.

The Panthers (30-4) reached the round of 16 for the first time in school history, becoming the first Missouri Valley Conference team to advance that far since Indiana State in 1979.

The Jayhawks (33-3) led 2-0 then never held an edge again.

After trailing by 12 early in the second half, the Jayhawks pulled to within 63-62 on a layup by senior guard Sherron Collins with 44 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, senior guard Ali Farokhmanesh caught the ball on the wing after the Panthers broke the Jayhawks' press. With the shot clock still in the 30s, he hesitated for an instant then hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 34 seconds left for a 66-62 lead.

"I was going to see if I could drive it, then he backed off so far that I thought I might as well shoot this one," said Farokhmanesh, who scored a team-high 16.

"If anybody's going to shoot that shot, I want it to be Ali," Panthers forward Jake Koch said.

Farokhmanesh hit the winner for Northern Iowa in Thursday's first-round game against UNLV.

Kansas had one last chance, but Tyrel Reed was called for an offensive foul, and Farokhmanesh sealed it with two free throws.

Kansas shot 44.4 percent from the field and outrebounded the Panthers 38-30 but shot 6-of-23 from 3-point range.

"We tried real hard, just didn't make shots early, and when we had a chance to do some things late, just didn't make the play," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "But certainly very proud of our kids. I thought they fought hard to the very end."

Cole Aldrich had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Marcus Morris added 16 points, and Collins ended his career with 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

"Obviously, everybody is disappointed on our team," Aldrich said. "To work so hard and to go through so much adversity … it's disappointing that we couldn't have let Sherron go out in a better way."

Tennessee cruises, rewards role players

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl cleared his bench at the end of the game, a victory over No. 14 seed Ohio and a berth in the region semifinals secure.

It was time to reward the players who helped the Volunteers get there.

J.P. Prince scored 18 and Scotty Hopson had 17 to lead sixth-seeded Tennessee to an 83-68 victory over Ohio and give the Vols their third Sweet 16 berth in four years. The other starters pitched in, too: Brian Williams and Wayne Chism had 12 rebounds apiece, and Bobby Maze had nine assists.

But Pearl wanted them to share the celebration with the reserves who filled in after a New Year's Day gun, drug and alcohol bust left Tennessee with just six scholarship players.

"There's no question, Josh Bone and Renaldo Woolridge, Skylar McBee — those guys all played a lot in a stretch of games," Pearl said. "We're a team, we're a family, and those guys got us through. … We don't get here to this game if Melvin Goins doesn't step up to San Diego State, and Cameron Tatum, I thought, played well. And so it's a team."

Tennessee (27-8) faces the winner of today's Ohio State-Georgia Tech game in St. Louis. The Vols have never gotten past the third round.

"I've been there twice already and came up short twice," Chism said. "I'm happy to be back on that stage again, and I just can't wait to get there."

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

NCAA Tournament: No. 9 seed Northern Iowa knocks off No. 1 seed Kansas 03/20/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 21, 2010 12:11am]
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