Yesterday was an exciting day at the St. Pete Forum, full of close second round battles between (mostly) evenly matched teams. Let's take a brief look back at all the action, with write-ups provided by Charlie Blackwell and Ken DeCelles:
Dalton Pepper Saves The Day As West Virginia Beats Clemson 84-76
After Clemson trimmed an 11-point lead down to three with 1:49 left, Dalton Pepper stole the ball from Clemson on three consecutive possessions, and West Virginia defeated Clemson 84-76 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tampa.
Brandon Knight's Last Second Lay-In Gives Kentucky 59-57 Victory over Princeton
It was a back and forth game all game long, and after Mavraides' tough turnaround jumper to tie the game at 57 all with 40 seconds to go, some thought we would have our first OT game of the 2nd round. Knight had other ideas, and was easily able to drive the lane for his only basket of the game. Princeton had a difficult time inbounding the ball after a timeout, and were not able to get a shot off in time.
Florida led by as many as 34 points in the second half, and were clearly deeper and more talented than the Gauchos. Chandler Parsons had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. He also had seven rebounds and might have collected a rare collegiate triple-double if coach Billy Donovan hadn't pulled his starters long before the final buzzer. Erving Walkerled the Gators with 18 points, and Kenny Boynton added 13.
UCLA Holds Off Desperate Michigan State Comeback, 78-76
And in possibly the craziest game of the day...
The Bruins were cruising for most of the night, fought off one Spartans surge early in the second half, and led by 19 points with 6:30 to play in the game. But then Michigan State got hot from three-point range and made another run to pull within 76-66 with a minute and a half to play.
Then things got really weird. UCLA missed an amazing 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, keeping Michigan State alive. And when Keith Appling made a three with 4.4 seconds left, the Spartans had cut the lead down to 77-76. After an instant foul, the Bruins' Malcolm Leemade only one of two free throws, giving Michigan State one last chance. But Adrelan Payne had trouble corralling the rebound, and Kalin Lucas traveled before firing a desperation heave from near midcourt (which missed badly).
Kentucky and West Virginia will face off on Saturday at noon, while Florida and UCLA will play later that day at 2:30 PM. For more on these games, check out our coverage here.