March 19: Butler players, from left, Khyle Marshall, Matt Howard and Shawn Vanzant walk off the court after the Southeast Regional third-round NCAA tournament college basketball game against Pittsburgh at the Verizon Center in Washington.AP
March 19: Richmond players celebrate at the end of the game after beating Morehead State 65-48 in a Southwest regional third round NCAA tournament college basketball game in Denver.AP
WASHINGTON -- With plenty of help from Pittsburgh, Butler found another way to pull off a stunning upset in the NCAA tournament.
Matt Howard made one free throw with 0.8 seconds left to cap a wild final sequence, and Butler shocked the top-seeded Panthers 71-70 Saturday night to advance to the round of 16.
Each team had a chance to win it from the foul line in the last 2 seconds. After Butler's Shelvin Mack inexplicably fouled Gilbert Brown near midcourt with 1.4 seconds left, Brown made the first try to tie it.
He missed the second, and Howard was fouled by Nasir Robinson while grabbing the rebound -- a foul even more unnecessary than the one that preceded it.
Howard made the first shot, then intentionally banged the second attempt off the rim.
Brown finished with 24 points, but he will forever remember the missed free throw.
Mack scored 30 for Butler (25-9), which used a string of upsets to reach the championship game last year. Butler has won 11 straight overall and is 7-1 in its last eight NCAA tournament games.
The 30 points were two short of Mack's career high and a Butler tournament record. He went 10 for 16, including 7 for 12 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs will next face either Kansas State or Wisconsin in the Southeast regional semifinals.
Pittsburgh (28-6), the Big East regular-season champion, trailed by 12 in the first half and blew a five-point lead in the second. The Panthers also had a shot-clock violation with 10 seconds left, which led to a go-ahead layup by Butler's Andrew Smith.
Mack followed with his foul on Brown, but the Bulldogs survived the error.
Pittsburgh trailed 41-32 before Brown drilled a 3-pointer, Brad Wanamaker made a layup and Robinson sank two straight layups to tie it with 15:24 left.
After a timeout, Wanamaker hit a jumper to cap the 11-0 run and give the Panthers their first lead since 4-2.
Soon after that, Pittsburgh reeled off seven straight points to go up 53-48.
To no one's surprise, Butler wouldn't go away.
If Mack was nervous about playing the Big East regular-season champions, it wasn't evident by his demeanor during the Star Spangled Banner: He yawned.
Once the game started, however, the junior guard played with intensity and poise. Mack scored 16 points in the first half, sinking four 3-pointers, and the Bulldogs committed only two turnovers in taking a 38-30 lead at the break.
Because 6-foot-11 Pittsburgh center Gary McGhee clogged the lane when Butler had the ball, the Bulldogs opted to take their chances from the outside. Howard hit a pair of 3-pointers, Mack and Shawn Vanzant also scored from beyond the arc, and the Butler went 8 for 11 from the field in opening up a 20-14 lead.
Minutes later, Bulldogs reserve guard Zach Hahn connected from long range, Khyle Marshall jammed home a follow shot and Mack hit a 3 to start a 10-2 spurt that made it 30-18.
Brown then scored five points in an 11-0 Pittsburgh run that ended when Mack popped a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
DENVER -- Richmond plays the role of favorite pretty well, too.
The program that made its name by bouncing everyone from Barkley to Boeheim out of the tournament over the decades in a string of upsets, defeated No. 13 seed Morehead State 65-48 on Saturday to advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 1988.
As the better seed and a four-point favorite, this was one the 12th-seeded Spiders were to "supposed" to win and they did. They got 19 points from Justin Harper and turned Eagles big man Kenneth Faried into pretty much a nonfactor.
The Spiders (29-7) will play the winner of Kansas-Illinois in the Southwest regional semifinals next Friday in San Antonio.
Richmond bottled up the NBA prospect Faried by shadowing him with two, sometimes three, players.
Faried, the leading Division I rebounder in the modern era, finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds but it was about as quiet as a double-double gets.
The Eagles (25-10), the darlings of the tournament after knocking off Louisville, were sent home but not before tying a school record for wins and gaining plenty of interest in their tiny school located in Morehead, Ky.
For a rare change, Richmond entered the game as a favorite, a departure from the usual underdog role the team has assumed in the tournament -- and played to virtual perfection.
The Spiders have carved out a reputation as upset artists, becoming the only school to win games as a No. 12, 13, 14 and 15 seed. They eliminated fifth-seeded Vanderbilt, 69-66, in their opener.
But that win over the Commodores hardly counted as a shocker, especially given their history this time of year.
The Spiders ended the season of an Auburn team led by Charles Barkley during the 1984 NCAA tournament.
Barkley's now in the TV booth and Richmond is still springing memorable wins.
Richmond also beat Jim Boeheim's second-seeded Syracuse squad in 1991 and years later knocked out South Carolina in 1998 as a No. 14 seed.
This is the first time the Spiders moved on to the round of 16 more than two decades ago, when the team was a 13th seed. The Spiders beat Indiana and then Georgia Tech that season, before losing to Temple.
The Eagles turned into quite a story since Demonte Harper's winning 3-pointer in the waning seconds lifted his team to a 62-61 win over the Cardinals.
Faried & Co. made the rounds of national sports shows, while campus visits to the small school -- enrollment 9,000 -- went through the roof, along with requests for applications.
Just imagine what another upset could've done for the university's popularity?
Terrance Hill and Ty Proffitt each scored 10 points, but Demonte Harper, the team's second-leading scorer, was ice cold, finishing 2 of 15 and had just four points.
Trailing by as many as 10 points in the opening half, the Eagles worked their way back into the game, cutting the deficit to six midway through the second half.
But Justin Harper helped the Spiders assert control, scoring eight points during a pivotal 11-4 run. The 6-foot-9 Geriot all but sealed the win when he hit a 3-pointer with 4:31 remaining, giving Richmond a 56-43 lead.
Kevin Anderson, who had a team-high 25 points against Vandy, came on late, finishing with 14 points. Geriot added 13 points, many on simple turnaround shots near the free throw line.
The Spiders have now won nine straight since coach Chris Mooney called for a friendly touch football game following a loss to Temple on Feb. 17. They have not won this many in a row since the 1990-91 season.
Faried reached the 2,000-point plateau in his storied career with a thunderous dunk during the opening minute against Richmond.
He also posted his 86th double-double, leaving him one shy of Tim Duncan's all-time record.
No wonder Faried had his jersey retired by the school, even before his playing days were even complete. Faried's uniform was raised to the rafters during a ceremony on senior day.
This was more of a ceremonial honor, since his No. 35 will still be worn by the next generation of Eagles. The only number officially retired by Morehead was the football jersey belonging to former alum and New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms.
This was only the ninth meeting between No. 12 and 13 seeds in tournament history.
And history wasn't exactly on Morehead's side. Valparaiso was the lone No. 13 seed to advance, beating No. 12 Florida State 83-77 in overtime in 1998.