UNBEARABLE: Buffalo pulls off huge upset with 89-68 rout of Wildcats

UNBEARABLE: Buffalo pulls off huge upset with 89-68 rout of Wildcats
Arizona coach Sean Miller kneels by the bench during the first half of a first-round game against Buffalo in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. (Source: Associated Press)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Buffalo pulled off the first big upset of the NCAA Tournament with a 89-68 rout of Arizona Thursday night.

The Bulls (27-8) ran away from the Wildcats with a blistering second half to setup a showdown with Kentucky in the next round.

For fourth-seeded Arizona (27-8), it was one of the worst losses in school history.

Under Sean Miller, the Wildcats have failed to get out of the first round twice in the last three seasons and have never made it to the Final Four.

Since 1985, the Wildcats have suffered first-round losses 13 times.

Wes Clark scored 25 points, Jeremy Harris had 23 points and CJ Massinburg added 19 points for the Bulls. Harris had seven rebounds while Clark seven assists.

"With us being a MAC, it's easy to look at us as a team that can't compete with a high-major, a team that has four NBA prospects," Clark said. "We know deep down from looking at the film and getting our confidence right that we could play with those guys. We came and played hard."

Dusan Ristic led Arizona with 16 points while superstar freshman Deandre Ayton added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The game was close at halftime with the 13th-seeded Bulls leading by only two points.

But Buffalo came out firing in the second half to run away with it.

Buffalo was 15-for-30 (50 percent) from 3-point range while Arizona was only 2-for-18 (11 percent).

"They overwhelmed us in the second half, on offense and defense," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

Both teams dominated in their respective conferences this season.

Arizona went 14-4 in Pac-12 play and won the regular-season and conference-tournament titles.

"We endured a lot from the beginning," Arizona point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright said. "People kind of wrote us off. And I thought we responded every time that happened."

It hasn't been a particularly good week, or season, for the Pac-12. UCLA and Arizona State, the league's only other teams in the tournament, lost in the opening round earlier this week.

It's the first time since 1986 the conference has gone winless in the tourney. Arizona, Utah and Washington all lost their opening games that year.

The Associated Press reported less than 10 percent of fans with brackets in ESPN and Yahoo games selected Buffalo to win. About 5 percent picked Arizona as the national champion.

Buffalo went 15-3 in the Mid-American Conference and captured the league's regular season and tournament titles.

The Bulls will face No. 5 Kentucky, which beat Davidson 78-73 earlier in the day.

The second-round matchup is set for Saturday.

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