S.F. Austin gets some help in a thriller
Pulling off a comeback for the ages, feisty Stephen F. Austin became the latest No. 12 seed to pull off an upset, tying the game on Desmond Haymon’s did-that-just-happen four-point play with 3.6 seconds left, and then holding on in overtime for a 77-75 win over Virginia Commonwealth.
The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — The NCAA tournament has a new darling after one of the most improbable finishes in the NCAA tournament’s long bracket-busting history.
Pulling off a comeback for the ages, feisty Stephen F. Austin became the latest No. 12 seed to pull off an upset, tying the game on Desmond Haymon’s did-that-just-happen four-point play with 3.6 seconds left, and then holding on in overtime for a 77-75 win over Virginia Commonwealth on Friday night.
“Well, miracles truly do happen,” SFA coach Brad Underwood said.
Pretty regularly these days. SFA didn’t have the biggest upset of the opening two rounds, but the Lumberjacks certainly had the most jaw-dropping finish.
Here’s how it went down:
The South Region’s No. 5 seed, VCU (23-10) was firmly in control after its swarming defense flustered SFA during a big second-half run.
The scrappy Lumberjacks (32-2) kept hanging around and clawed their way back in the closing seconds.
Two missed free throws by VCU’s Jordan Burgess with 10 seconds left gave SFA a chance.
The Lumberjacks worked the ball around to the wing, where Haymon launched a three-pointer and was fouled by JaQuan Lewis just before the ball fell through the basket.
“I just tried to get out and contest it,” Lewis said. “(I) jumped to the side a little bit and kind of fell into him. The ref called a foul.”
The crowd still buzzing, VCU coach Shaka Smart called a timeout, trying to ice Haymon. The senior didn’t seem to mind, returning to the court to calmly knock the free throw down.
The tension still wasn’t over.
VCU’s turn at glory came after SFA’s Thomas Walkup made 1 of 2 free throws put the Lumberjacks up by two with 14 seconds left. The Rams got a good look on the final possession, working the ball to Lewis for an open three-pointer on the wing.
His shot went long, and the Lumberjacks grabbed the rebound, and they now move on to play UCLA.
Stanford 58, New Mexico 53
ST. LOUIS — Chasson Randle scored 23 points and the Cardinal made a good impression in its first NCAA appearance since 2008.
No. 10 seed Stanford (22-12) built an early 16-point lead then held on after No. 7 seed New Mexico (27-7) tied it midway through the second half.
Kansas 80, Eastern Kentucky 69
ST. LOUIS — Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis had double-doubles and the second-seeded Jayhawks (25-9 pulled away down the stretch to beat the Colonels (24-10).
UCLA 76, Tulsa 59
SAN DIEGO — Jordan Adams had 21 points to lead the fourth-seeded Bruins to a victory over the 13th-seeded Golden Hurricane (21-13), spoiling the NCAA tournament head coaching debut of Danny Manning.
In his first year at Westwood, Steve Alford coached the Bruins (27-8) to just their third win in the NCAA tournament since 2009.