The No. 7 Nevada Wolf Pack snuck past the No. 10 Texas Longhorns 87-83 in overtime Friday to meet the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Round of 32.
It wasn’t supposed to end like this for Texas.
The Texas Longhorns were leading the Nevada Wolf Pack 68-67 with 3.8 seconds left in regulation when big man Mohamed Bamba fouled out.
Bamba was called for a foul on Nevada’s Jordan Caroline, who went to the line and made one, sending the game into overtime tied at 68.
Many felt that the foul calls on Bamba had been ticky-tacky all day, and the Internet exploded in outrage when drew his fifth after going straight up to block Caroline’s shot:
Overtime wasn’t a promising proposition initially for Nevada, which had gone 0-2 in overtime this season up to this point. Things began to look dire when Texas opened the period with two three-pointers and a four-point play on a foul to go up 77-73 with 3:13 remaining.
But then Nevada’s Caleb Martin stepped up with a three-pointer to give Nevada a 78-77 edge, and the Wolf Pack rode the wave from there to the 87-83 win.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the Longhorns’ frontcourt, which features six-foot-11 Bamba as well as leading scorer, six-foot-nine Dylan Osetkowski. And even though Texas was the lower seed, many thought the Longhorns would prevail over their Mountain West Conference opponents.
But being without the Big 12’s leading rebounder and shot blocker in Bamba in the final minutes proved to be an obstacle that the Longhorns could not overcome.
The Wolf Pack went 15-3 in league this season, earning an at-large bid in the tournament. They were also road warriors this season, winning a league-high 12 games away from home.
The win was Nevada’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 2007. Nevada will take on No. 2 Cincinnati and hope for a miracle on Sunday.