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Rancho Bernardo High School Alum Set to Compete in March Madness Games in San Diego

Four teams are seeking Sweet 16 berths at Viejas Arena.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Berths in the Sweet 16 will be on the line today when UCLA faces Stephen F. Austin and Arizona takes on Gonzaga in NCAA tournament games at Viejas Arena.

UCLA (27-8), seeded fourth in the South Region, will face 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin (32-2). The game is set to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be televised on TBS.

The Lumberjacks upset fifth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth, 77-75, in overtime Friday night as Desmond Haymon's 4-point play with 3.7 seconds left forced the overtime while his 3-point basket with 2:03 left in overtime gave them the lead for good.

"Miracles truly do happen," Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood said after his team overcame the Rams 10-point lead with 3:38 to play to win an NCAA tournament game for the first time.

UCLA defeated Tulsa, 76-59, Friday, outscoring the Golden Hurricane, 17- 5 over the final 4:34 for its first tournament victory since 2011.

The Lumberjacks enter today's game with a 29-game winning streak.

"That's hard to do at any level of basketball," Bruins guard Jordan Adams said. "We're not going to take this team for granted. They earned our respect."

Both teams have players from San Diego. Guard Norman Powell, an alumnus of Lincoln High School, scored 15 points for UCLA Friday night. Tanner Clayton, a Stephen F. Austin reserve forward who graduated from Rancho Bernardo High School, had four points, two blocked shots and an assist in 13 minutes Friday night.

The winner will face top-seeded Florida Thursday in Memphis, Tenn. A Bruins victory would put them in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008. Their first-year coach, Steve Alford, hasn't reached the Sweet 16 since 1999, when he coached at Southwest Missouri State, now Missouri State.

The Arizona-Gonzaga game is set to begin at 6:40 p.m. and will also be televised on TBS. Arizona (31-4), the top seed in the West Region, defeated 16th-seeded Weber State, 68-59 Friday, while the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (29-6) were an 85-77 winner over ninth-seeded Oklahoma State.

"They're just well-disciplined," Wildcats guard Nick Johnson said of Gonzaga. "They've been playing really well of late."

Arizona is seeking its second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 while the Bulldogs last advanced that far in 2009.

The winner will face fourth-seeded San Diego State Thursday in Anaheim.

—City News Service

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