By The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — JP Pegues made a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining, and No. 13 seed Furman completed a rally from a 12-point second-half deficit to hand fourth-seeded Virginia another first-round NCAA Tournament loss, 68-67 on Thursday.
Making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 43 years, the Paladins (28-7) advanced to the second round in the South Region, where they will play either fifth-seeded San Diego State or 12th-seeded Charleston on Saturday.
Furman earned its first tournament berth since 1980 by beating Chattanooga for the Southern Conference title, capping a season-long quest to redeem itself after losing the league’s automatic berth to the Mocs on a 35-foot buzzer-beater in last year’s Southern final.
In the aftermath of that loss, Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell both decided to return for their fifth seasons with the Paladins. Slawson took over the game when Bothwell fouled out with just over six minutes remaining, scoring nine consecutive points to turn a 54-48 deficit into Furman’s first lead of the game, 57-54, with 5:02 to go.
Slawson, the Southern Conference player of the year, finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Kihei Clark threw a bad pass that Garrett Hien intercepted at midcourt with 7 seconds to go, setting up Pegues’ go-ahead basket, his only 3 of the game.
Virginia (25-8) was eliminated in the first round as the higher-seeded team for the third time in its past four NCAA tournaments. Kadin Shedrick led the Cavaliers with 15 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
MARYLAND 67, WEST VIRGINIA 65
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Maryland overcame a sluggish start and a final heave at the buzzer by Kedrian Johnson to beat West Virginia.
Johnson led all scorers with 27 points, but his potential winner bounced off the side of the rim as the horn sounded, allowing the eighth-seeded Terrapins (22-12) to advance.
Maryland, led by Julian Reese with 17 points and nine rebounds, meets the winner of top-seeded Alabama and No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday.
Neither team could pull away over the final 20 minutes, and a late traveling call on Jahmir Young gave West Virginia (19-15) a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer. But the ninth-seeded Mountaineers could not find anyone open beyond the arc, forcing Tre Mitchell to bank it in under the basket.
Young was fouled but made only one of two free throws. West Virginia got the ball in the hands of the guy it wanted, only to have Johnson come up short.
MISSOURI 76, UTAH STATE 65
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Missouri used a second-half scoring spurt from Kobe Brown to win its first NCAA Tournament game in 13 years, beating Utah State.
Brown hit three 3-pointers in a span of just over three minutes to fuel a 13-2 run that turned a two-point deficit into a 62-53 lead.
The seventh-seeded Tigers (25-9) held on from there, stopping a six-game tournament skid with their first win since beating Clemson in the first round in 2010. Missouri advanced to play the winner of the Arizona-Princeton game in the second round of the South Region.
The 10th-seeded Aggies (26-9) have dropped their last 10 tournament games since beating Ohio State in the first round in 2001. The loss was also the 11th straight for a Mountain West team in the NCAAs.
The game was close for most of the second half until Brown and D’Moi Hodge took it over midway through the second half by scoring 20 straight points for the Tigers.
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