No. 13 Yale pulls off NCAA tourney stunner, No. 4 beat Auburn

SPOKANE, Wash. — John Poulakitas scored 28 points, Samson Aleton made a key block during a wild scramble in the final seconds, and 13th-seeded Yale held off 4th-seeded Auburn 78-76 in the final five minutes. Friday is the first round of the NCAA tournament.

For the second year in a row, the Ivy League Tournament champion took on one of the pre-tournament favorites — once again beating out the March Madness brackets.

Princeton beat Arizona last year. This time, it's Yale's turn.

The Bulldogs (23-9) won an NCAA Tournament game for the second time in school history, rallying from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half. After the final seconds ticked off, the players celebrated at the scorer's table in front of their fans.

Yale will face No. 5 seed San Diego State in the second round on Sunday.

Paulakidas hit big shot after big shot. His step-back 3-pointer with 2:10 left gave the Bulldogs a 73-72 lead. Auburn hit two shots in the closing seconds following a missed free throw, one of which was blocked by Aleton.

Auburn's KD Johnson had a contested look for the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer off the line.

Johnny Broome led Auburn (27-8) with 24 points and 13 rebounds, but was crushed on the court after the loss. It appeared he might have injured his right knee in the final scrum.

Auburn won the SEC Tournament last week and became a favorite as a team that could knock off No. 1 overall seed UConn if the pair met in the Sweet 16.

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But the Tigers failed to get out of the first round and joined fellow SEC schools South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and Mississippi State among early exits from March Madness.

Auburn took a 68-58 lead with 7:27 left after Denver Jones hit a 3-pointer, but the Tigers were outscored 20-8 the rest of the way. Auburn did itself no favors by missing five free throws in the final 3½ minutes.

Yale's rally started with a 3-pointer from Bess Mbeng, a 24% shooter from beyond the arc this season. Boulagitas hit a pair of jumpers and Dustin Wolf's free throws tied Yale at 70-70.

Broome scored for Auburn, but Boulagidas answered with a 3 of his own and the Bulldogs made 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute.

August Mahoney added 14 points and Wolf finished with 13, fouling out late.

Jones had 17 and Jaylin Williams added 13 for Auburn, but the Tigers played almost the entire game without wing Chad Baker-Masara after he was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul in the opening minutes of the game. Replays showed Baker-Masara elbowing Mahoney as the pair ran downhill and officials conducted a lengthy investigation before announcing the ejection.

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