If you were trying to catch your breath from the last 10 hours of basketball, Utah and Stephen F. Austin didn’t do you any favors as their matchup came down to the final minute. The Lumberjacks of SFA were just a few jumpers going in and out from upsetting the Utes, but ultimately fell, 57-50. This would have been the perfect 12-five seed upset that we are all looking for as soon as brackets are revealed, but the Utes stout defense held SFA’s high scoring offense to almost 30 points below their season average.
In overtime, Cincinnati pulled it out over Purdue in an aggressive, physical game, 66-65 in overtime.
In a slow paced first half, Cincinnati started strong, scoring on 7 straight possessions. This consistency wasn’t enough to pull away however, as the score stayed within five points for the entire half. Purdue had a great time at the boards, pulling down 26 rebounds, to keep the game in reach. A big three by Vince Edwards clanged off the rim to the send the game to halftime, with Purdue up 29-26.
Following the ejection of Octavius Ellis, the game became even more physical in the second half. With arms flying during every rebound and defenses playing hard, tensions ran high.
The game remained close, with Purdue up 6 going into the final minute. Kevin Johnson hit a crucial three with 43 seconds left, and a horrible turnover by Vince Edwards allowed Cincinnati to pull within one. Jon Octeus made one of two free throws to give Purdue a two point lead, setting up a clutch layup by Troy Caupain to send into OT.
If there was a snoozer on Thursday, this one was it. (Sorry, Lafayette.) Villanova, the top seed in the East region, rolled to a 93-52 win over the undermatched Leopards. The 41-point loss for Lafayette was the worst loss in NCAA Tournament history for a team from the Patriot League. Villanova never trailed in the game.