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Coleby, Higgs advance to NCAA Sweet 16

  • Bahamian Lashann Higgs, a guard at Texas, drives to the basket during a second-round game in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament against North Carolina State, on Sunday, in Austin, Texas. The Texas Longhorns won the game, 84–80.

  • Bahamian Dwight Coleby Jr., a forward for the Kansas Jayhawks, celebrates late in the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Sunday. Coleby and the Kansas Jayhawks turned back fellow Bahamian Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr. and the Michigan State Spartans, 90–70, to advance. PHOTOS: AP

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Mar 20, 2017

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The second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament saw a battle of Bahamians in the Midwest Region on Sunday, as Dwight Coleby and the Kansas Jayhawks went up against Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr. and the Michigan State Spartans in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Jayhawks held just a five-point lead at the half, but exploded in the second half to coast to an easy 90–70 win. With the win, they earned a trip to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Not only did Coleby’s team escape with the win, but he also won the match-up with his fellow Bahamian. Coleby finished the game with three points, four rebounds and a steal in nine minutes of play, and Nairn went scoreless in 14 minutes. Kansas now moves on to take on fourth-seeded Purdue in the next round.

Freshman forward Josh Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half to help Kansas pull away. Frank Mason added 20 points for the Jayhawks, Devonte Graham poured in 18 and Landen Lucas chipped in with 10.

Freshman sensation Miles Bridges led the way for the Spartans with 22 points, despite missing a few minutes in the first half with an injury. Nick Ward also finished in double figures with 13 for the Spartans, and Joshua Langford added 10.

The Spartans appeared to have the momentum in their favor after cutting Kansas’ lead to 54–53 win with just over nine minutes to go in the game. However, that’s when Jackson took over. He scored eight of the next 10 points for the Jayhawks as they pushed their lead to seven, 64-57.

The Spartans earned a spot in the second round after a dominating win over Miami in the opening round. Behind 19 points from Ward, the Spartans knocked off the eighth-seeded Hurricanes 78–58. Nairn finished that game with five assists in 18 minutes of play.

In the Jayhawks opener on Friday, they defeated UC Davis 100–62. Coleby had two points and three rebounds in that game.

Along with Coleby, Bahamian Lashann Higgs and the Texas Longhorns are into the Sweet 16 on the women’s side.

Higgs had 12 points off the bench to help the Longhorns defeat sixth-seeded North Carolina State, 84–80. The win allowed the Longhorns to make their third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.

Despite going up 28–15 on 10-of-13 shooting in the first quarter, the Longhorns couldn’t keep up the pace and scored just nine points in the second quarter. That allowed the North Carolina State Wolfpack to rally to within one (37–36) by half-time. NC State went on to take the lead in the third, but neither team was able to create separation. With four seconds left in the game, Joyner Holmes scored a put-back basket to put Texas up four (84–80). That turned out to be the winning basket for the Longhorns.

Texas will move on to play the winner of today’s contest between Kansas State and Standford.

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