Aussies in the mix in basketball s NCAA
Aussies in the mix in basketball's NCAA

Perth's Keanu Pinder and his Arizona Wildcats are moving on to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

St Mary's, led by star Australian centre Jock Landale, had the highly-rated University of Arizona on the ropes but were unable to knock them out of the NCAA basketball tournament.

St Mary's shot to an early lead in the second-round contest in Salt Lake City on Saturday and went into halftime up by one point.

Arizona's NBA-bound guard Allonzo Trier went scoreless in the first half, but exploded with 14 points to guide his team to a 69-60 victory.

"They just got us down the stretch," St Mary's head coach Randy Bennett told reporters.

St Mary's, a seventh seed located near San Francisco, has become a popular destination for young Australians basketballers with six on their active roster, former Adelaide 36ers coach Marty Clarke the associate head coach and past players including the NBA's Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills.

The 211cm tall Landale had 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while battling Arizona's twin 213cm towers, Finland's Lauri Markkanen and Serbia's Dusan Ristic.

Tasmanian guard Tanner Krebs connected with three of his five three point attempts for 12 points.

"Landale is one heck of a low post player," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

"He got off to a great start.

"If I'm not mistaken he had five of his eight field goals in the first eight minutes of the game so if you have a look at the rest of the game we did a much better job against him."

Arizona's Australian forward Pinder went scoreless in his five minutes on the court.

Markkanen had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Ristic 13 points and two rebounds.

Arizona will play 11th-seeded Xavier in the third round on Thursday.

Other teams with Australians on their rosters and still alive in the tournament are: Louisville, Kentucky, Duke, Baylor and Florida.

AAP

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