Upsets and Nail-Biters Abound in March Madness Second Round
If the mayhem of March Madness’s first round wasn’t enough to whet the palette of basketball fans, then surely the upset action of the second round over the weekend was.
In the West on Saturday, Northern Iowa’s 69–67 knockout of the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed Kansas is and will be, when all is said and done, the biggest upset of the tournament.
Ali Farokhmanesh’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds to go sealed the Jayhawks’s fate, who had rallied down the stretch to peck away at what was a sustained Panthers lead.
“If anybody’s going to shoot that shot, I want it to be Ali,” Northern Iowa’s forward Jake Koch said.
“We never doubted we could play with them at all,” Panthers senior Adam Koch said.
In the South, Saint Mary’s 75–68 defeat of No. 2 seed Villanova was almost as stunning, with Omar Samhan leading the team with an amazing 32 points and 7 rebounds.
In the East, the surging No. 11 Washington Huskies knocked out No. 3 seed new Mexico 82–64 with well-balanced scoring among the starters to squash the 25-point scoring of Lobos guard Dairese Gary.
on Sunday, 12th seed Cornell laid another higher seed to waste with an easy win over No. 4 Wisconsin 87–69. Big Red’s Louis Dale and Ryan Wittman tag-teamed for 26 and 24 points respectively.
Down to the Wire
But if upsets aren’t your fancy, then the second round still had something for you with nail-biting finishes in each region.
On Saturday, No. 5 Butler fended off No. 13 Murray State 54–52 after a neck-and-neck first half.
on Sunday, the 4–5 matchup of Purdue and Texas A&M went into OT, with Purdue overcoming the Aggies 63–61 in the final seconds off a driving layup from guard Chris Kramer, who led the team with 17 points.
A particularly exciting game on Sunday was between Michigan State and Maryland.
The Spartans maintained a lead for most of the game, despite star guard Karlin Lucas leaving the game with an Achilles tendon injury. The team then lost a 16-point lead.
“That poor kid, he was devastated,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
The Terrapins rallied down the stretch to take a one-point lead in the final minute and that opened up a scoring frenzy.
Michigan got the lead back on the next possession, but then the Venezuelan wonder Greivis Vasquez made a tough driving layup to put Maryland back up by one with six seconds to go.
on the next play, Spartans guard Korie Lucious answered the call with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Michigan an 85–83 win and ticket to the Sweet 16. Lucious will likely remain at the helm for Michigan with Lucas’s return in question.
“I had an open look. Time was running down. I just shot it and it went in,” Lucious said.
In another close game, the West’s No. 3 seed Pittsburgh threatened to make a comeback against Xavier in the final seconds, drilling a 3-pointer to cut Xavier’s lead by three.
But Xavier stayed cool under the pressure, hitting their foul shots to increase their lead back up to five.
Pitt scored off a layup on the next possession and were able to get off two 3-point attempts in the final seconds for what would be a tie, but the ball wouldn’t land, giving Xavier the 71–68 win.
Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Scores
(2) W. Virginia 68, (10) Missouri 59
(12) Cornell 87, (4) Wisconsin 69
(5) Michigan St. 85, (4) Maryland 83
(2) Ohio St. 75, (10) Georgia Tech 66
(1) Duke 68, (8) California 53
(4) Purdue 63, (5) Texas A&M 61 (OT)
(6) Xavier 71, (3) Pittsburgh 68
(1) Syracuse 87, (8) Gonzaga 65
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