Kentucky 59, Princeton 57 Brandon Knight missed his first seven shots and even found himself on the bench in the final minute against Princeton.
His confidence could have been shaken, or his ego bruised. After all, he was a freshman playing in his first NCAA Tournament game.
Then again, Knight’s no ordinary newcomer.
Held scoreless for more than 39 minutes, Knight made a driving layup with two seconds remaining to lift No. 4 seed Kentucky to a 59-57 win over 13th-seeded Princeton.
The Tigers (25-7) shut Knight down much of the game, doubling him on drives, putting a hand in his face on the perimeter, and contesting every shot.
A day earlier, coach John Calipari proclaimed, “You can’t count on freshmen.’’ He pulled Knight down the stretch in favor of a taller defender. But with the game on the line, Calipari put the ball in Knight’s hands.
The kid delivered, and Big Blue advanced to face West Virginia in the East Regional.
Knight’s winner was the biggest contribution Kentucky (26-8) got from its trio of talented freshmen. Terrence Jones finished with 10 points, and Doron Lamb added 7.
Princeton (25-7), the school known for scaring — and even beating — some of college basketball’s most storied programs in the NCAA Tournament, never gave up.
Kareem Maddox hit a turnaround jumper with 57.8 seconds remaining, and Dan Mavraides sank a step-back jumper with 36.7 seconds left that tied the game.
UCLA 78, Michigan St. 76 Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee scored 16 points apiece and seventh-seeded UCLA held off a late comeback by No. 10 seed Michigan State.
The Bruins (23-10) won despite missing 17 free throws, nine of them in the final 3:40 while the Spartans were making a barrage of 3-pointers to get back into the game. The Bruins advanced to a third-round date with Florida.
UCLA led by as many as 23 in the second half before nearly letting the game slip away against a team hoping to make an improbable run in the tournament to a third consecutive Final Four.
Draymond Green led Michigan State (19-15) with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
W. Virginia 84, Clemson 76 Darryl Bryant scored 19 points and Kevin Jones added 17 to help No. 5 seed West Virginia overcome a slow start and wear down the 12th-seeded Tigers.
The Mountaineers (21-11) took advantage of a fatigued opponent playing its second game in just over 36 hours.
Bryant’s 4-point play and a long 3-pointer by Jones that tied it, 40-40, at the half highlighted a game-changing 28-8 run that enabled West Virginia to turn a 10-point deficit into a 57-47 lead. Clemson (22-12) got no closer than 3.
Florida 79, UCSB 51 Chandler Parsons flirted with his first triple-double, finishing with 10 points, 7 rebounds, and a career-high 10 assists, and No. 2 seed Florida coasted over 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara.
The Gators (27-7) made 11 of their first 15 shots, opened up a double-digit lead, and kept piling on. They were bigger, faster, more skilled, and more athletic at nearly every position.
Erving Walker had 18 points and six assists, and Kenny Boynton added 13 points. Orlando Johnson led the Gauchos (18-14) with 21 points.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.