Good afternoon and welcome to yet another exciting March Madness tournament. We’ll be providing various updates on the critical games from the first day of the March Madness tournament, enjoy and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports) for quick thoughts too.
#4 Kentucky 59 – #13 Princeton 57: For moments, especially in the second half, it seemed as if the Tigers were going to go on a run similar to Cornell University in 2010, but less than 30-seconds remaining and the ball in the hand of Kentucky’s freshman guard Brandon Knight scored a beautiful right hand lay up, leaving the Tigers with just two seconds to respond.
Excluding various fouls that were recorded, Princeton took control, as well as recorded various leads throughout the second half, as both squads seesawed back and fourth. Yet, the Wildcats relied on some clutch three-pointers by freshman forward Terrence Jones and junior guard DeAndre Liggins.
The Tigers went [3-6] during the final three minutes from the field, but also, appeared unable to fend off the Wildcats.
Princeton was led by senior guard Dan Mavraides who scored 14 points, while junior guard Darius Miller led Kentucky with 17 points.
#13 Morehead State 62 – #4 Louisville 61: Morehead State’s senior guard, Demonte Harper may have hit the biggest shot in his career, as his three-pointer with seven seconds remaining in the second half secured an Eagles upset against Rick Pitino‘s Louisville Cardinals.
Harper, who finished the game with eight points, assisted his team by securing three rebounds and assists, but the biggest player in this game had to be Morehead State senior forward Kenneth Faried who recorded a team high 17 rebounds.
While both teams were tied at halftime, Louisville eventually jumped out to a slim second half lead, but continued to struggle at times against the Eagles defense, which constantly forced only one shot on offense during their multiple series. However, Cardinals junior forward Terrence Jennings successful was able to record a slam dunk with a little over a minute remaining the second half, which gave Louisville a four point lead.
After Jennings basket, the Cardinals were held scoreless for the final 80-seconds, as the Eagles senior forward Kenneth Faried knocked down two important free-throws and then blocked the game winning shot to secure the victory.
Morehead State was indeed the first true “March Madness upset,” but certainly, keep an eye on the Eagles, as they will soar into their next game against the winner of Vanderbilt-Richmond.
#8 Butler 60 – #9 Old Dominion 58: Despite tallying four fouls, senior forward Matt Howard quickly collected a loose ball and scored an easy lay-up to push the Bulldogs past Old Dominion for their first tournament victory.
Both teams constantly seesawed and traded leads throughout the first half, but after the Bulldogs committed a “silly” foul during the closing minutes, Howard would save his team from going to overtime with his heroic rebound and quick basket during the closing seconds.
Butler may have not dominated the stat chart, but their ugly and inconsistent play ended up working, as the Bulldogs move onto the next round where they will face the winner of Pittsburgh-UNC Asheville.
Old Dominion was led by senior forward Frank Hassell led his team with 20 points and collected six rebounds.
#5 West Virginia vs. #12 Clemson 76: The Mountaineers overcame a 16-6 first half deficit and rallied during the second half to get past the Tigers in round one. Junior guard Darryl Bryant led West Virginia with 19 points, as well as finished three rebounds and two assists. He finished [8-9] from the free throw.
West Virginia was clutch from the line, as the entire squad finished [25-31], while Clemson finished [21-26].
Despite trailing for a majority of the first half, West Virginia grabbed the lead during the opening minutes of the second half. The Mountaineers displayed great defense, especially toward the end of the game when sophomore guard Dalton Pepper stole the ball away twice.
Clemson’s junior guard Andre Young led the team with a team high 22 points, while sophomore forward Devin Booker led the Tigers with eight rebounds.
West Virginia has advanced to the next round and will face the winner of Kentucky-Princeton.