by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
After a lackluster first day, the NCAA tournament had a first on Friday when not one, but two No. 2 seeds fell to No. 15 seeds. First it was Missouri losing to Norfolk State, 86-84, and then a few hours later Duke lost to Lehigh, 75-70.
Norfolk State’s win was a thriller in every sense. The Spartans, who were playing in their first NCAA tournament game, went blow-for-blow with Missouri. The game was tied at the half, and the lead changed hands seven times in the final 20 minutes. Keeping Norfolk State afloat was senior center Kyle O’Quinn, who finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
But O’Quinn’s two missed free throws in the waning seconds gave Missouri a chance to tie or win. The upset survived, though, as Phil Pressey’s deep three-pointer did not fall.
Afterwards, O’Quinn delivered the line of the day.
From Nancy Armour’s Twitter:
“We messed up some brackets! We messed up some brackets! … We even messed up my bracket.”
Lehigh’s upset over Duke didn’t come down to the last shot but was almost as exciting. After trailing by two at halftime, Lehigh came out strong and seized the lead after a 7-0 run. The rest of the game, the Mountain Hawks relinquished the lead just once and picked up their first ever tournament win.
Aside from the upset, it was the coming out party for one of the more underrated players in the country — C.J. McCollum. The junior guard torched the Duke backcourt for 30 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Freshman guard Austin Rivers was not pleased with the loss.
“I was prepared to win,” said freshman Austin Rivers. “That’s what Duke’s about. This doesn’t happen. We (expletive) lost to a 15 seed.”
Lehigh will now play Xavier on Sunday, while Norfolk State will look to keep the upsets going against No. 7 seed Florida.