Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Stephen F. Austin pulls off stunner

SAN DIEGO — Pulling off a comeback for the ages, Stephen F. Austin became the latest No. 12 seed to pull off an upset in this NCAA Tournament on Friday, tying the score on Desmond Haymon's did-that-just-happen four-point play with 3.6 seconds left then holding on in overtime for a 77-75 win over Virginia Commonwealth.

"Well, miracles truly do happen," SFA coach Brad Underwood said.

SFA didn't have the biggest upset of the opening two rounds — Mercer probably gets the nod by beating Duke — but the Lumberjacks certainly had the most jaw-dropping finish. And the overtime was the fifth in the round of 64, a tournament record.

The South Region's No. 5 seed, VCU (23-10) flustered SFA during a big second-half run. But the 12th-seeded Lumberjacks (32-2) clawed back.

With VCU up 67-63, Haymon launched a 3-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."

VCU coach Shaka Smart called timeout, but Haymon, a senior, hit the free throw to tie it.

"I was struggling shooting the ball, and I knew to get it going, I was going to have to continue to try to find (my touch)," Haymon said.

In OT, Haymon put the 'Jacks ahead on a 3-pointer with 2 minutes left. With SFA up two with 14 seconds left, the Rams got a good look on the final possession.

But Lewis' shot went long, and the Southland Conference champion Lumberjacks grabbed the rebound, earned their first tournament win in just their second appearance and extended the nation's second-longest winning streak to 29 games.

Kansas 80, E. Kentucky 69: Bill Self gathered his team around the bench late in a game too close for comfort.

"I thought we responded as a group," Self said.

The No. 2 seed Jayhawks resumed pounding away inside after the timeout, slowly took control down the stretch and pulled away to win in St. Louis.

Andrew Wiggins had 19 points for the Jayhawks (25-9). Jamari Traylor added 17 points and 14 rebounds. "Our main focus on the game was to get in there and pound them," Traylor said, even without 7-footer Joel Embiid, out with a back injury.

Glenn Cosey scored 17 for the 15th-seeded Colonels (24-10), who have lost all eight of their tournament games.

Stanford 58, New Mexico 53: Stanford made the most of its first NCAA trip since 2008. New Mexico made another hasty exit.

"We came out energetic and ready to go," guard Chasson Randle said after the No. 10 seed Cardinal led almost from start to finish in St. Louis.

Randle scored 23 for Stanford (22-12), which led by 16 early then won after New Mexico rallied to tie it midway through the second half.

Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk, who together average 30 points, combined for six for the No. 7 seed Lobos (27-7), who as a No. 3 seed last year were shocked by Harvard.

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