Georgia State upsets Wisconsin to set up a Lefty Driesell rematch against Maryland.
At 69, Lefty Driesell no longer is able to use some of his signature motivational moves, the foot stomp and the leap and fist thrust high in the air. But he was plenty spry enough to lift obscure Georgia State to the NCAA Tournament this season and concoct a defensive scheme Thursday that helped produce a thrilling upset of Wisconsin in the first round of the West Region.
"This might be the greatest win I've ever had," Driesell said after the Panthers overcame a five-point deficit with 59 seconds left and won 50-49 on a leaner by Georgetown transfer Shernard Long.
Georgia State's 30th victory, 13 more than the school record Driesell set in his second year, sets up a game Saturday against Maryland. It will be the first time he has coached against Maryland since being forced out after the cocaine-induced death of Len Bias in 1986, the last season Driesell won a NCAA game.
That Driesell would rank this victory so high, at least the equal of any achieved while leading Davidson and the Terrapins to the Top 5 in the country during 39 years in college coaching, was not surprising. It came, after all, against a Wisconsin team featuring four starters who played in the Final Four last year.
The victory by the 11th-seeded Panthers over sixth seed Wisconsin was not expected before tipoff and seemed less likely with just under a minute left, when Mark Vershaw and Andy Kowske each made two free throws to give the Badgers a 49-44 lead.
But Georgia State guard Darryl Cooper lofted a three-point shot with 48 seconds left. Not only did the ball drop cleanly through the net, but Wisconsin's Roy Boone was called for a foul. And when Cooper completed the rare four-point play, Georgia State trailed by a point.
The Badgers had been surprisingly tentative for most of the second half, and much of the reason was the defense Driesell ordered to counter the only players averaging more than eight points, Boone and Kirk Penney.
"It was a great adjustment," Wisconsin coach Brad Soderberg said of the triangle-and-two defense, "tough for us to play against."
After Long gave Georgia State a 50-49 lead, Vershaw had a chance to give Wisconsin the lead or force overtime in a two-shot situation on the free-throw line with 3.2 seconds left. But he missed both, short on the first and long on the second.
"Not only did I lose the game," Vershaw said, "I ended the careers of a lot of guys."
Long missed the first of a bonus free-throw situation with 1.2 seconds left, but he soon was holding the ball after a desperate Wisconsin shot failed. And Driesell, still limping slightly after neck surgery in mid-December to correct a problem that caused numbness in his leg, winked and joined the celebration.
"We're Cinderella now," he said. "There ain't but 32 teams left _ and we want to be the one standing."
KENT ST. 77, INDIANA 73: On the same day Bob Knight went job hunting in Texas, his old team lost another first-round game in San Diego.
Kent State sent the Hoosiers to their second straight first-round loss and fifth in seven years.
A year ago, Indiana was blown out by 20 against Pepperdine.
Knight was at Texas Tech on Thursday to interview for the coaching job.
The Hoosiers blew a 12-point second-half lead. Making its second tournament appearance in three years, Kent State got 24 points from Trevor Huffman, including 11 of its final 15.
"Extremely disappointing to the point of being sickening," said Kirk Haston, who led the Hoosiers with 29 points.
"I told my coach I thought I'd feel better about this after the game, but it just feels like a regular win," Kent State forward Kyrem Massey said.
The Golden Flashes shot 47 percent against an Indiana defense that held opponents to 39.2 percent during the regular season.
The Hoosiers' No. 4 seed was their highest since 1993.
Indiana coach Mike Davis said guard Tom Coverdale hurt his hip diving for a ball in the first half.
"No excuse, but Coverdale is the only point guard we have. Once he went down, I was just trying to buy time," Davis said. "We were panicking a bit (without him). He's a big part of our offense."
STANFORD 89, UNC GREENSBORO 60: With 7-footer Jason Collins dominating inside _ and then hitting a long three-pointer for effect _ the top-seeded Cardinal overwhelmed No. 16 North Carolina Greensboro in San Diego.
Collins scored 25 points, 20 in the first half as the Cardinal built a 23-point lead and cruised. Sophomore All-American Casey Jacobsen added 14 points, giving him 1,003 for his career.
Just as important, Jacobsen said, the Cardinal didn't need any starters to go all 40 minutes. Coach Mike Montgomery went to his bench early in the second half.
"If you look at this thing in the long run, the big picture, where we're trying to go with this thing, those are the kind of things that will help you," Jacobsen said.
"A win is a win, first and foremost. Would I rather have a 30-point win than a 10-point win? Probably."
Stanford is trying to get back to the Final Four, which it reached in 1998 for the first time since winning the national title in 1942.
But Stanford's been eliminated in the second round each of the last two years, by Gonzaga in 1999, and last year as the No. 1 seed in the South, when it lost to North Carolina.
To get past the second round, Jacobsen said, "We just need to play Stanford basketball.
"If we have that mind-set that we're not going to overestimate anybody, then we can do some great things in the tournament, because we are as talented as anybody."
Stanford, the three-time Pac-10 champion, won its opening round game for the seventh straight year. The 29-point margin was the biggest for the Cardinal in an NCAA Tournament game, eclipsing last year's 19-point win over South Carolina State in the first round.
Montgomery said Thursday's win should get rid of any nervousness. He added that the Spartans played hard, "but we have a lot of weapons."
ST. JOSEPH'S 66, GA. TECH 62: Marvin O'Connor scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half for St. Joseph's, the second-smallest school in the tournament with 3,450 students.
St. Joe's had an 18-point lead dwindle to three twice in the final 1:43. But the Yellow Jackets came up short on two easy scoring chances. Tony Akins led Tech with 16 points.
Tech center Alvin Jones, from Lakeland, finished with eight points and 10 rebounds after being held scoreless in the first half.
"I wasn't tired or frustrated, but I was a touch slow," Jones said. "Even before I started the game, I wasn't mentally focused, not like I was in the ACC tournament."
During warmups, players from each team infringed on the other's side of the court at Cox Arena and minor pushing broke out as words were exchanged.
"We heard a lot of ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference). We took that personally," O'Connor said. "I guess they think the Atlantic 10 doesn't exist. I think they overlooked us. They probably don't know where St. Joe's is located."
GEORGETOWN 63, ARKANSAS 61: Nathaniel Burton hit a driving layup at the buzzer that survived an official's instant-replay review in Boise.
With the score tied at 61, Georgetown took possession with 35.8 seconds left. The Hoyas ran down the 35-second clock, with Burton holding the ball at halfcourt until there were only a few seconds to play.
He began his drive down the left side of the lane and flipped up a shot almost simultaneous with the shot-clock horn.
Officials went to the television replay to review the play. After about a minute, an announcement was made that the basket counted. Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson asked for an explanation, but the officials jogged past him.
"I hope and pray it was the right call," Richardson said.
Burton said: "I was nervous because I thought I got the ball off after the buzzer. If I miss that shot, I'm in big trouble."
MARYLAND 83, GEORGE MASON 80: Maryland used Steve Blake's late three-pointer and Juan Dixon's two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to win in Boise. Dixon and Byron Mouton scored 22 points each.
"We dug down deep in the second half," Maryland coach Gary Williams said.
George Mason closed to 81-80 when Erik Herring completed a three-point play with 30.9 seconds remaining. Maryland provided another chance when Terrence Morris missed two free throws with 28.4 seconds remaining.
Up to that point, the Terps had hit 22-of-23 from the line.
The Patriots worked the ball around, but Tremaine Price's pass bounced untouched through George Evans' legs and out of bounds with six seconds left. Byron Mouton made two free throws.