NCAA Tournament Round Of 64, Day 2: Norfolk Stars
After a day with relatively few upsets, No. 15 seed Norfolk State provided the story of the tournament with an 86-84 upset of Missouri, a team many thought deserved top seeding.
Norfolk State held a consistent lead until Missouri rallied to tie the game at 81 and set the stage for a frantic final minute. A Norfolk State player shot an airball, only for Kyle O’Quinn to get the offensive rebound and convert a three-point play. Up two with under four seconds remaining, O’Quinn missed two free throws to give Missouri one last chance. Alas, Phil Pressey missed a three that would have won the game for the Tigers.
A Star Is Born
Though unknown to most of the country, O’Quinn had a game for the ages, delivering 26 points and 14 rebounds. He provided a quote for the ages after the game, too, when he said “We even messed up my bracket.”
O’Quinn wouldn’t be the only one with a damaged bracket. In ESPN’s Bracket Challenge, Missouri was the fourth most common choice to win the national championship and only two brackets were still perfect following their loss.
First it was BYU and Western Kentucky. Now it’s Creighton, the latest team to make a second-half comeback. The BlueJays had gone 10 years without an NCAA Tournament victory before erasing an 11-point deficit to defeat Alabama 58-57.
Despite a sloppy end to the game with three missed free throws in the last 32 seconds, Creighton forced an Alabama air ball on the last possession of the game to advance to the second round, where they will play North Carolina. Creighton star Doug McDermott, the third-leading scorer in NCAA basketball with an average of over 23 points a game, paced his team with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
A game with the Tar Heels would include an interesting matchup between McDermott and his former teammate Harrison Barnes, the leading scorer for UNC. The two were high school teammates in Ames, Iowa.
Florida Schools Advance
They may have done it in vastly different ways, but both Florida and Florida State are moving on to the weekend.
The Gators, retaining much of the personnel that led the team to the Elite Eight last year, had a resounding 71-45 win. Freshman Bradley Beal had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Patric Young had 13 points on 6-6 shooting, and Casey Prather had a career-high 14 points.
Florida’s suffocating defense came through on a day when they were only 4-23 on three point field goals. The Gators will play Norfolk State next.
Florida State survived a stiff test from St. Bonaventure and rode a 16-2 second half run to a 66-63 victory.
The Seminoles withstood the lackluster performance of leading scorer Michael Snaer, who was held scoreless. However, Bernard James stepped up with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Led by the 20 points and seven rebounds of star guard Andrew Nicholson, the Atlantic 10 champion Bonnies gave Florida state, a trendy Final Four pick by many, a scare.
"That was one of the toughest games we've played all season, and that's all the credit to their team," said Luke Loucks of Florida State.
(6) Cincinatti 65, (11) Texas 59
(11) North Carolina State 79, (6) San Diego State 65
(1) North Carolina 77, (16) Vermont 58
(3) Georgetown 74, (14) Belmont 59