Miami, trailing and listless for much of the first 30 minutes of its round-of-8 game against Texas on Sunday, mounted a stunning, compact comeback in the men’s N.C.A.A. Tournament to take the final spot in the Final Four next weekend in Houston.
Miami won 88 to 81. On Saturday, it will face Connecticut in the first National Semifinal. San Diego StateCreighton lost to, but he beat, on Sunday. Florida Atlantic was third.
Although the Hurricanes were calm and determined, they lost quickly to the Longhorns. They played in front of an overwhelming pro-Texas crowd, the same venue where they won the Big 12 Conference Tournament championship.
Miami trailed 13 points at 13:00. But the Hurricanes started to creep back. They set up a steadying stretch that would eventually tie the game. The Hurricanes then put together a string of defensive stops, and free throws. When the game was tied at one minute, forward Norchad Omier hit two.
Miami was slow, but not too fast, and eventually it became more focused. This is in contrast to the mercilessness that Miami displayed during Friday’s convincing victory over Houston.
It came back just as the Longhorns, their orange-clad supporters and the Longhorns seemed ready to rejoice the home-state win. Throughout the game, with their team comfortably ahead and in control of the pace, Longhorn partisans bounced to the team’s fight song and wagged their hands with the school’s signature Hook ‘em Horns gesture.
Miami ignored the crowd and instead drew on the relaxed, confident personalities of its key players and its famously optimistic coach, Jim Larrañaga.
“We called a timeout and I said to them, ‘We just need to calm down and play better. There’s no big secret in this,’” Larrañaga said.
After securing their victory with the net, the Hurricanes dumped some orange and green victoryconfetti from a water cooler onto themselves.
Each team featured basketball players that exemplify modern college basketball’s commercialization and mobility. Texas began four transfers including Marcus Carr, a hardworking graduate point guard.
Jordan Miller (6’7″ senior) was the Miami team leader. He scored 27 points, and made a critical steal with just two minutes remaining. The guards Isaiah Wong, Nijel P, and Nijel Parker were also able to pace the team. Pack was a Coral Gables native and had a name, picture, and likeness arrangement worth hundreds and thousands of dollars. Pack was the most dominant player when Miami had possession of the ball. Pack scored 15 points drifting between scoring lanes.
A Texas victory on Sunday would have declared the re-emergence of the state’s flagship university near the top of the sport, 20 years after its last appearance in the Final Four. The team’s interim head coach, Rodney Terry, led the Longhorns on a deep run after Chris Beard, their first coach this season, was suspended, then fired following a domestic dispute with his fiancée in which charges were dropped.
“I’ll love them for the rest of their lives,” Terry spoke to reporters in tears after the match. “I’ll be at their weddings. I’ll be talking to those guys when they have their first born.”
Miami beat Indiana and Drake to win this tournament. Texas was defeated inside by Miami and they shot almost 60 percent of the field. The Hurricanes initially struggled to rotate on defense and to recover from screens to stop Texas’ 3-point shooting.
“I tell the players all the time, when you’re in games, whether you’re ahead or behind, don’t play the score, play the game,” Larrañaga said.
Outside its games, Miami this season has faced regular questions about the influences of money in its program, with Wong and Pack being two of the sport’s most prominent examples of the sway of new rules and state laws allowing athletes to profit from sponsorships. University boosters have been eager to subsidize winning teams, beyond the athletic department’s budget. Clustered in their small locker room at T-Mobile Center on Saturday afternoon, Miami players and coaches denied — some of them uncomfortably — that the new wealth of some of their teammates had factored into the culture of this year’s team.
Are the better-paid players more likely to buy dinner for their colleagues? Kotie, an assistant coach searched for the answer that he thought he knew. “Hey, Christian, do you get dinner bought from any of your teammates?” He looked at Christian Watson who was sitting near him, and asked. Watson responded. “no,” sheepishly. “No dinners. No dinners,” Kimble stated.
Instead, they describe their culture like this: calm, together. “We all love each other,” Wong said after Sunday’s game. “And we’re all just here sticking to each other.”
Even though they were down 8 points, Pack & Miller walked onto the court smiling and chatting for the second-half. In timeouts down the stretch, even when losing, the Hurricanes looked steely as they listened to Larrañaga, who mostly paced the sideline with his hands in his pockets, rarely yelling or gesticulating like Terry did.
Larrañaga marveled after the game about the ways his players deputize themselves as leaders, pointing out that Omier had taken his coaching seat during a timeout on Sunday to instruct his teammates himself.
Some of the secrets to Sunday’s comeback might also lie with Larrañaga’s ideas about mental health. Larranaga has made himself into a sort of behavioral expert, and he relies on Bob Rotella (a friend and sports psychologist) for guidance on how to keep himself and his team calm.
Larrañaga, in character, was ruminative in Kansas City. “I tell them this all the time every day, over and over again. You have to go through life with a positive attitude,” He said this on Saturday. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.”
His team’s late-arriving success on Sunday amounted to one of the most important reactions in the program’s history.
San Diego State Overcame a familiar opponent
The Bluejays were in the Maui Invitational in November when Creighton left. San Diego And the next day they flew together in a charter flight to Hawaii. San Diego State team. Memories of Creighton’s overtime win over San Diego State in the first round of the men’s N.C.A.A. embarrassing moments from the March previous year.
However, the coaches Greg McDermott from Creighton as well as Brian Dutcher (of Creighton) are still in charge. San Diego StateThey sat side-by-side, looking at film, exchanging scouting reports, and contemplating the possibility of playing in an early season tournament together again.
They didn’t, at least not then. The teams returned to the airport. San Diego, dropping the Aztecs off, the coaches — and their teams — bid each other adieu.
We’ll see you on the other side.
That meandering road carried both teams to a place they had never been before, a regional championship in which the coaches and players — including two brothers, Creighton’s Arthur Kaluma and San Diego State’s Adam Seiko — marveled at the serendipity of it all.
“I never thought we’d be playing them here or I would have tried to steal a few play calls off his computer,” Dutcher muses.
Next time these two coaches come together, fraternity boundaries will be tested. San Diego State rallied for a 57-56 victory on Darrion Trammell’s free throw with 1.2 seconds left. It was so full of tension and turns that the game did not stop until just after the last buzzer.
San Diego StateIt had previously been twice only to the second week of the N.C.A.A. tournament. On Saturday, it will take on Florida Atlantic, the winner of the East Region.
It was as San Diego State For the final shot, the clock ran down.
Trammell pulled Ryan Nembhard along on his right hip to drive into the lane and let go of a floating floater, which just touched the rim when the buzzer went off. The whistle of Lee Cassell, the referee, rose above all the chaos as Trammell was placed on the court.
Soon, Trammell went to the foul line with the crowd on its feet, four teammates behind him — and the entire Aztecs bench — locking arms. Trammell’s first free throw rolled off the rim, and the crowd’s roar grew even louder.
Two dribbles were taken, followed by a deep inhale and the second one was swung.
Baylor Scheierman was a high school quarterback who inbounded the ball, and then threw an extremely long pass towards Kaluma. San Diego State’s Aguek Arop near the other endline. The officials tipped out the ball as soon as they heard the buzzer. However, the officials waved the teams to their respective benches, and then reviewed the play to determine who touched the ball first and if there was still time.
They ruled after a while that the time was over. San Diego State To celebrate, players ran onto the court.
Final six seconds “felt like an eternity,” Arop, San Diego State Omaha native forward, said after his team had reduced the nets on the court.
McDermott, shouting at the officers as they left court, claimed that he had not received an explanation for the ruling that it was past time. McDermott, who shouted at the officials as they left court, claimed he didn’t get an explanation of the ruling that time had expired. The N.C.A.A. released a statement saying that the review had indicated that the clock was running late. McDermott did not criticize McDermott’s foul call.
“Two teams played their tails off,” He stated. “Officiating is part of the game. We’re not going to go there. We lost a game because we didn’t do enough and San Diego State did.”
Dutcher said that McDermott held his tongue when Michigan defeated Seton Hall in the 1989 National Championship. “It’s hard. That’s what we all do is have some grace in losing even though we may not agree with the call,” Dutcher stated.
San Diego State Lamont Butler was guard and scored 18 points, on 8 of 11, shooting. He was all set to take his final shot when Creighton fouled Creighton with 6 seconds remaining. This forced the Aztecs not only to turn the shot clock off but to also take out the ball.
Trammell is a Seattle University Transfer who has scored 21 points and helped carry San Diego State Alabama was upset by the top-seeded team on Friday. 5 He attempted fourteen shots and was not able to get the free-throw line up until the very last second.
When he stepped to the line after missing the first attempt, Trammell said he reminded himself that he’d shot 1,000 free throws in the last week and that the moment was not too big for him. “I just had to believe in that,” He stated. “Just having that confidence that, yeah, I missed the first one, but I definitely wasn’t going to miss the second one.”
San Diego StateThe N.C.A.A. has made a regular appearance at, which is known for its raucous home court advantage. Tournament regular from the Mountain West Conference but has fallen under the shadows of Gonzaga or the Pac-12 Conference teams at the moment. This is the moment that the program had hoped for.
(*5*) said Nathan Mensah, San Diego State’s 6-foot-10 senior center, who contributed 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. “Finally that dream came true for us.”
The game unfolded as a contrast of styles, Creighton’s artful, free-flowing offense finding its way against San Diego State’s muscular, methodical brand of basketball.
You played it a lot San Diego State’s preferred pace, but Creighton played almost exclusively with the lead, fending off repeated Aztec charges until the final minutes.
Creighton jumped to a lead of 28-20, spurred on by a large blue-clad crowd. San Diego State finally figured out how to keep the Bluejays’ 7-foot-1 center, Ryan Kalkbrenner, from having his way diving to the rim for alley-oops or putting his nifty post moves to use. Mensah did yeoman’s work against Kalkbrenner, who led Creighton with 17 points.
Trammell was able to sink a jumper right near the free-throwline. San Diego State The half ended with three minutes to go and Creighton was now even. But Creighton didn’t allow another basket and carried a 33-28 lead into the break.
San Diego State Mensah was unable to block consecutive shots, prompting Butler’s fast-break layin, which saw the Aztecs take their first lead of 35-34.
It didn’t last very long. Kaluma replied with a driving layup San Diego State went cold, missing its next 10 shots — many of them on drives to the rim. After halftime, the Bluejays fell behind as the Aztecs relied on their defense and depth to take down Bluejays. Creighton only shot 28 percent during the second period, which saw it score a season low 23 points. Bluejays failed to make all 10 3-pointers in halftime.
The parents of Kaluma and Seiko, along with their two young sisters, sat a few rows up at center court wearing customized white T-shirts with a basketball, both schools’ logos and the names and numbers of the brothers.
Their two sons hugged each other in the handshake line after the game ended. Seiko then told Kaluma that he loved him. In In that moment they were also role models to their respective teams. The nets could be cut by one while the other feels like it has its hearts broken.