Rushed Reactions: #3 Texas A&M 92, #11 Northern Iowa 88 (2OT)

Posted by Czech Smith on March 20th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

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  1. Epic meltdown. Northern Iowa held a 12 point lead with 44 seconds left in regulation and ended up losing in double-overtime. In one of the most incredible meltdowns ever seen in modern college basketball, the Panthers simply could not inbound the ball in their own backcourt — time and time again turning it over and giving Texas A&M a chance. The Aggies took that opportunity, going on a 14-2 run over the final FORTY-FOUR SECONDS to tie the game and send it to overtime. After a back-and-forth first overtime session, Texas A&M took control in the second and eventually worked itself to the Sweet Sixteen. 
  2. Northern Iowa has a flair for the dramatic. The Panthers took the emotional high from their win over Texas on Friday and rode it for most of the game against A&M. They came out of the locker room ready to play and established an early lead that they nurtured until the final minute of regulation.  Despite several attempts by the Aggies to close the gap in the second half, Northern Iowa seemed to always had an answer. Jeremy Morgan’s fantastic overall performance was all for naught — he finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds.
  3. Texas A&M leading scorer Danuel House was held scoreless until late in the second half… and then he turned it on. House scored 19 points in the last 5:14 of regulation and first overtime, finishing with 22 points. Northern Iowa guard Wes Washpun did a great job defending House until he fouled out in overtime. However, Texas A&M missed a big opportunity in regulation: House at 6’7” failed to post up on the 6’1” Washpun all night, especially after Washpun drew his fourth foul of the contest. House had a rough night but came alive when it mattered, allowing his Aggies to see another day.

Star of the Game. Alex Caruso, Texas A&M House had a great last 10 minutes but he would not have had the chance if Caruso not held the team together all game long. He had a game high 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists. At one point late in the first half he accounted for half of Texas A&Ms total field goals.

Quotable.

  • “Yeah, like these guys said, two completely different ends of the spectrum. Two nights ago it was great to know that we were playing today. I’m sure it’s going to hurt a little bit more in the morning even, knowing that we’re not playing next week.” – Paul Jesperson, on the emotions of being on both sides of two incredible finishes.
  • “Yeah, just tell you first how proud I am of these three guys. They asked for Klint and for Jeremy, and I told them no, we’re going to go and do this. It’s not going to be easy for these three young guys, but I’m telling you, they can handle it. Man, we played our tails off, and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of just a crazy 30 seconds. You know, 30 seconds that we aren’t going to be able to ever have an answer for, nor do we need one, it just happened to go that way.” – Ben Jacobson, on how his team will handle the loss.
  • On the team’s thoughts when down 11 with 33 seconds left: “We were just trying to make a play, just trying to make one play and after that one is done try to make another one.” – senior guard Alex Caruso.
  • Senior guard Jalen Jones on the final 30 seconds: “I think once I got that dunk. They threw it in and I dunked it real quick. I was like we got a little bit of momentum on our side. We picked up a little bit more energy and the next thing I know the dude throws it in and Admon steals it and ties it up. And I was like is it tied? I was actually shocked.
  • Billy Kennedy on if he had ever been involved in a comeback like that. “No, no. I mean, I’ve never been a part of a game like that. Never saw one. Still really don’t know what happened when I heard we were down 12 with 34 or 43 seconds to play and won. I mean, come on, man. I don’t know what Vegas’ odds are on a situation like that.”

Sights & Sounds. The sights of a crushed group of players from Northern Iowa and the ecstatic group of players from Texas A&M after the game were indelible. Something that this writer may never see again. 

What’s Next? Texas A&M advances to play #2 Oklahoma in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday in Anaheim.

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