Morehead State needed Demonte Harper and Kenneth Faired to come up big to pull off the upset of 4 seed Louisville.
Done and done.
Harper hit the big shot, Faried made the game-saving block and the 13 seed Eagles came away with a 62-61 win in what’s sure to be one of the first-round biggest surprises.
“The coach said, ‘Hey, I dreamed about this last night, this exact situation,”‘ Harper said. “He said, ‘I know exactly who I’m going to. I’m going to put it right in your hands, Demonte.’ He said, ‘At 6 seconds, I want you to attack and pull up and hit the shot.’ I hit the shot. It feels unreal right now.”
(Faried, the leading rebounder is college basketball’s modern era, had a more amusing take: “If he misses, I’m going to kill him — and get the rebound.”)
That’s some confidence in a guy who was just missed eight-of-10 shots – including all five 3-pointers. But it paid off nicely. Harper, the team’s leading scorer, simply waited until late in the clock, took a few dribbles and calmly drained a 21-foot shot.
That wasn’t all. After calling timeout, Louisville had more than three seconds to set up a potential game-winner. But Faried blocked Mike Marra’s shot, the buzzer sounded and Morehead State earned its first NCAA tournament win since 1984. But that was an opening-round game against North Carolina A&T. This was Louisville. This was huge.
“I think to be a first-round game against an in-state power, to be able to knock them off, I don’t think it’s ever been bigger than that in the history of our school,” Tyndall said.
Louisville’s reaction can be summed up like this.
But back to Morehead. There’s a good chance the Eagles (25-9) could reach the Sweet 16, too.
They’ll play the winner of the Vanderbilt-Richmond game on Saturday. Both would be nice matchups for a team that plays sturdy interior defense and can pressure opposing guards. (And I’m sure Vandy doesn’t want to face an Ohio Valley team for the second-straight year after what Murray State did to them last year.)
That’s hardly a Cinderella. More like a Contender.
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