The Madness has officially arrived!
Can you feel it in the air? I know Marquette can. They lost one of the wilder games you’ll ever see, dropping a double-overtime game to Providence that featured clutch shots, dumb fouls and a 75-foot buzzer-beater that didn’t actually beat any buzzers.
That wasn’t the wackiest finish of the night, however.
Lipscomb and East Tennessee State went to double-overtime as well. Khion Sankey, who forced the second extra frame with a three with 17 seconds left, put the Bisons up 88-86, but ETSU tied it up on two free throws by Lester Wilson. That’s when things got wild:
That’s Josh Williams, a freshman guard from Lipscomb, fouling A.J. Merriweather with 1.5 seconds left in a tie game. Brutal. Did I mention that game was in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun tournament?
That’s not the only foul call that changed a game, either.
In the Horizon League tournament, the No. 6 seed Oakland Grizzlies survived and advanced past Youngstown State, but it took a little bit of magic. Travis Bader scored five of his 39 points in the final three seconds of regulation to force the extra frame. After a Kendrick Perry free throw put the Penguins up 80-76, Bader hit a three to cut the lead to one. Oakland fouled Ryan Weber with 0.6 seconds left, and Weber missed the first and hit the second, setting up this final play (jump ahead to the 1:57 mark):
I’ve seen that play run hundreds, if not thousands of times. I’ve never once seen the player setting the screen get the call. Kampe’s gotten it before, working his magic against Oral Roberts in one of their Summit League clashes, because he warned the refs about what he was having his player do.
“I go, ‘You got to call it now if he runs him over,'” Kampe told reporters after the game. “He goes, ‘If he runs him over, Bader goes down and he goes down on top of him, I’ll call it.'”
March is here, baby.
Hope you’ve got your seatbelt on.