Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Roundup: UMBC's magic runs out

UMBC's Arkel Lamar Jourdan Grant and K.J. Maura from right embrace as they leave the court in the closing moments of the team's 50-43 loss to Kansas State in a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Charlott NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Roundup: UMBC's magic runs out
Shannon Reynolds | 19 March, 2018, 18:47

Alas, no. But Sunday's 50-43 loss was still a one-possession game until Kansas State's Xavier Sneed beat the shot clock by a fraction and pushed his team ahead by five points with 1:11 left.

UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in March Madness, a victory over Virginia that made the Retrievers the ultimate Cinderella. "It's always exciting to make history". "We've given hope to guys that aren't even that tall, like me". "I never hold him back". "What we did, everyone in here, it's the greatest time of our lives". A second-half surge led UMBC ahead against Virginia, but the Retrievers failed to string together a big enough run in the second half to pull away. These plays changed the momentum of the game towards UMBC, and this momentum coupled with their raw confidence would be the recipe for a historic win.

These players are so connected, they claim, that they twice blew off Odom's game-closing call against Vermont in the America East conference championship. Not only are Brunson and Carter both All-Americans this season, but they're also former AAU teammates who are very familiar with each other's games. "It's just really special".

The dream had ended, but some players managed smiles as they left the court.

The Wildcats will play down in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday.

VanDerveer says Virginia coach Tony Bennett and his team should be "exceedingly proud of their season" and that one game doesn't define them. "What they did to Virginia was unbelievable". The Wildcats shot 18-of-44 from the field, 1-of-12 from three-point range.

But UMBC - an afterthought for fans who filled out brackets - didn't just beat Virginia, it dominated throughout the second half, dismantling the 20 1/2-point favorites by 20 points. And 9 of 18 from the free throw line.

"This entire week has been wonderful up until the last two hours, " UMBC guard Joe Sherburne said.

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Is he going to toughen up a little bit? "I hope so", he said. "It's really great to have him back". He does so, however, with much to prove after his miserable Ashes with bat and ball this winter.

Maybe CBS' Bill Raftery said it best when discussing the height and weight of K.J. Maura, UMBC's point guard from Puerto Rico.

In the wake of UMBC's demolition of top-ranked Virginia, the campus bookstore, usually closed on weekends, logged special hours Saturday and Sunday to allow fans, old and new, to buy UMBC gear.

One prominent example? Up until now, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the school had never felt the need to trademark "Retrievers", their nickname. "(Kansas State guard) Kamau (Stokes) is good people, he's from Baltimore.

Obviously UMBC won that game and three more before finally bowing out on Sunday night.

Kansas State has survived - and advanced - without Dean Wade in this NCAA Tournament, beating Creighton and Maryland-Baltimore County this week at the Spectrum Center to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in eight years. Lyles finished 4-for-15 in the game.

BC-BKC-NCAA-UMBC-Fairytale Ends, 774UMBC's NCAA fairytale ends but memories will last foreverAP Photo NCCB187, NCCB190, NCCB186, NCCB184, NCCB182, NCCB181, NCCB183, NCCB176, NCCB175, NCCB165Eds: With AP Photos.

Information from ESPN's David Hale and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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