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Northern Iowa finally moves on

Using a grind-it-out defense and a clutch shot by Ali Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa is moving on in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two decades.

Farokhmanesh hit a three-pointer with 4.9 seconds left to lift ninth-seeded Northern Iowa over UNLV, 69-66, last night in the first round of the Midwest Regional.

"That's what you dream for is to make a shot like that," Farokhmanesh said. "It just felt good to actually do it."

Northern Iowa advanced to face No. 1 overall seed Kansas, which beat Lehigh, 90-74, in a second-round game Saturday.

Farokhmanesh found himself open after Kwadzo Ahelegbe had chewed up the majority of the clock following Oscar Bellfield's tying three-pointer for UNLV with 35 seconds remaining. Johnny Moran reversed the ball to Farokhmanesh, who drained the jumper with the shot clock running down.

The Runnin' Rebels (25-9) got one last chance to tie it, but Tre'Von Willis didn't get his three-pointer off before the final buzzer - and it was off-target anyway.

Farokhmanesh finished with 17 points, including three three-pointers in the second half, and Ahelegbe added 13 points as the Panthers (29-4) snapped a 20-year drought in the NCAA Tournament. Northern Iowa hadn't won a game in the NCAAs since upsetting third-seeded Missouri in 1990.

Reserve forward Matt Shaw scored 14 points to lead UNLV, which had a rare first-round blemish added to its NCAA Tournament record and fell to 13-3 in openers. Willis and Bellfield had 13 points apiece while leading the Runnin' Rebels out of a late nine-point hole.

Northern Iowa had become a regular in the NCAAs of late, making the field in five of the last seven years, but hadn't been able to get over the hump with a string of four straight first-round losses by exactly five points apiece.

Tennessee 62, San Diego St. 59

Melvin Goins made his fourth three-pointer with 19 seconds left after San Diego State cut the deficit to one point, and Tennessee held off the Aztecs to advance to the second round.

The sixth-seeded Volunteers (26-8) will play tomorrow against No. 14 seed Ohio, an easy upset winner over third-seeded Georgetown. A victory would put Tennessee in the round of 16 for the third time in four years.

Goins and J.P. Prince scored 15 points apiece for Tennessee on coach Bruce Pearl's 50th birthday. D.J. Gay had 16 points for No. 11 seed San Diego State (25-9).

Kawhi Leonard scored 12 with 10 rebounds, but he missed a well-guarded three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied it.

Kansas 90, Lehigh 74

Marcus Morris had 26 points and Sherron Collins 18 for top-seeded Kansas (33-2). Freshman C.J. McCollum had 26 points and Zahir Carrington 17 for No. 16 seed Lehigh (22-11). - AP

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