Greatest NCAA Baseball Moments Countdown – #7: Darling and Viola fire 22 scoreless innings

To start our countdown of some of the top postseason moments in NCAA Baseball history, we have one of the greatest pitching duels to ever occur on a baseball diamond in an NCAA Tournament game between Yale and St. Johns. 

When: May 21, 1981

Who: Yale vs. St. Johns

What: NCAA Opening Round

Where: Yale Field 

The setting of the game hardly seemed like that of a postseason contest, as the two squads set to clash at Yale, with a modest crowd of 2,500 settled into the wooden bleachers set around the small field. But the pitchers that took the mound both had a reputation for being among the most feared hurlers in the game that year. Ron Darling took the ball for the Yale Bulldogs. An All-American, Darling was a two-way stud that year, having hit .386 and also pitched to a 4-3 record that didn’t do justice to his blazing fastball and sweeping slider, widely regarded as the best pitch in college baseball. Meanwhile, Frank Viola flashed a devastating curveball that led him to a 26-2 career record and a sparkling 1.67 ERA. In the Northeast regional, the loser of the opener game would have to make a four-game crawl out of the loser’s bracket, making this upcoming dual a pivotal one. 

Viola was excellent that day for the Red Storm, scattering seven hits and four walks. Although there was a Yale base runner or two in most innings, Viola rarely flirted with danger, with no Bulldog even touching third base until the ninth inning. On nearly any day, such a performance would be plenty enough to win with ease, but Viola had a worthy counterpart on the rubber. 

Darling had undoubtedly the tougher task, matched up against St. Johns, whose 31-2 record was largely fueled by one of the best, if not the best, offenses in the country. But Darling was up to the task – his only slip ups in the first nine frames were five walks, which he nullified with ten strikeouts. Not a single Red Storm batter recorded so much as a single against Darling, who was nearly untouchable. But, much like Viola, his extraordinary performance was not enough to win in nine innings, as the two teams battled on into the tenth inning. 

Both pitchers went out and put up another two scoreless frames, with Darling continuing to fire no-hit baseball. He tacked on four more strikeouts to his total, and the game entered the 12th inning with the 0-0 score still flashing on the scoreboard. 

In the 12th, the Red Storm finally broke through with a base hit, blooping a single over the shortstop’s head and into left field for a soft single. One out later, Darling was victimized by an error that put two men on and one out. While Darling was busy striking out the next batter, the Red Storm signaled for a steal of third base, putting runners on the corners. There, with two outs, St. Johns decided to go for it, figuring another hit against Darling may not come easily. They called for a delayed double steal. 

Darling said later that the play shouldn’t have happened because Yale normally doesn’t throw down to second base on such a steal. But with Darling falling off to the side after delivering a brutal slider, and the crowd making tons of noise as the tension rose, the Yale hurler failed to recognize that the runner was stealing and wasn’t in position to cut the throw to second. St. Johns scored on the delayed steal and took a 1-0 lead. Darling polished off the hitter with his 16th strikeout, and he exited to a standing ovation from the crowd at Yale field. Remarkably, Viola also emerged from the dugout to applaud Darling. Viola later called Darling’s performance the most dominant outing he ever saw. Viola’s day ended with 11 scoreless innings, as he gave way to the Red Storm’s bullpen, which easily retired Yale to secure the breathtaking 1-0 victory. 

The Aftermath
Yale’s tournament ended in their very next game. A lack of offense proved to be the fatal flaw for the Bulldogs as they scraped just two more runs against Central Michigan and fell 7-2, leading to an unceremonious exit from the NCAA Tournament.
St. Johns went 2-2 in the rest of the tournament, losing to the University of Maine and beating Central Michigan, setting up a championship with the Black Bears. After beating Maine 10-5 to set up a winner-takes-all finale, St. Johns faded badly, losing 15-0. 

However the real story of this game, evidently, was the pitchers, and their paths crossed again in the years to come. Both were high draft picks in that year’s MLB Draft, and by 1987, they had both won World Series; Darling started for the Mets in Game 7 of the infamous 1986 World Series, and Viola won the ‘87 World Series MVP a year later with the Twins. In 1989, Viola joined Darling on the Mets’ rotation.

This Day in March Madness History: Syracuse comes back from the dead

This Day in March Madness History

March 27, 2016
Virginia vs. Syracuse

  • The Setup
    The 2016 NCAA basketball tournament had been somewhat standard outside of the Midwest Region that saw Syracuse and Virginia clash in an Elite Eight match-up. Most people could have predicted Virginia being at that stage, and the Cavaliers had gotten there with few issues, an eight-point win in the Round of 32 their closest call. Virginia was the top-seed in the region, but prior to the first round, they weren’t necessarily the fan favorite to get to the Final Four, as Michigan State, the second seed, was a popular national champion pick among brackets.
    That all changed when the Spartans were stunned by 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee in the Round of 64, leading to absolute chaos on the bottom half of the bracket. Syracuse was the biggest beneficiary as, after beating seventh-seeded Dayton, they got to face Middle Tennessee in the second round. They won by 25 points, heading to the Sweet 16, where they received excellent luck again. Rather than third-seeded Utah awaiting the Orange, they met #11 Gonzaga, who had stunned the Utes by 23 points. Syracuse escaped the Bulldogs, 63-60, and moved on to create a very unlikely Elite Eight contest against the Cavaliers. 
  • How it went down
    Virginia was the higher ranked team, but they hadn’t been in the Elite Eight since 1995. In that time span, Syracuse had reached that stage four times, including going to the Final Four in 2014 and winning a national championship in 2003. Whether it would be Virginia’s talent or Syracuse’s magic and pedigree that mattered was yet to be seen. However, the opening minutes were slow, as nerves showed for both teams. At the first media timeout, four minutes into the game, Syracuse led just 4-2. Both teams awoke, but it was UVA who truly roared to life, as the Cavaliers accelerated past the Orange with a 19-2 run that covered 8 minutes and 8 seconds of clock time. That set the tone, and Virginia’s suffocating defense allowed them to take a comfortable 35-21 lead into the break.
    UVA allowed Syracuse to creep within single digits to start the half, but the Cavaliers quickly re-asserted themselves. With 9:33 showing on the clock, ACC player of the year Malcolm Brogdon drove and kicked it out to London Perrantes. Perrantes buried a three and Virginia took a commanding 54-39 lead. But that’s where things got interesting, as Syracuse started to figure out Virginia’s defense.
    The Orange scored on their next five trips down the floor, but Virginia did manage a pair of layups to keep Syracuse at bay, 58-49. However, Syracuse then really made their move. Malachi Richardson got free at the top of key and he drained a three to make it a six-point game. As UVA pushed down the court, Richardson swiped at the ball and it began to sail out of bounds, but the freshman leapt out of bounds and turned to ricochet the ball off Brogdon to make it Syracuse ball. Tyler Lydon buried another triple on the ensuing possession and it was 58-55. Two layups later, and the Orange had an unlikely lead. Richardson extended it with another three. When all was said and done, it was a stunning 25-4 run for Syracuse that turned a 15-point deficit into a 64-58 lead with 3:27 to play. Virginia’s slow-moving offense got back within 64-62 with 26 seconds to play, but that was as close as they would get. After a Syracuse free throw, the Cavaliers missed a game-tying three. The Orange went 3-4 from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds to ice the 68-62 upset win. 
  • The Aftermath
    Syracuse’s Cinderella story struck midnight in the Final Four, as they were manhandled by North Carolina. Two years later, the Orange made another surprising run, roaring into the Sweet 16 as an 11-seed before losing to Duke. Meanwhile, Virginia’s fall was the start of a bottoming out that would then lead to their first national title. They lost in the Round of 32 in 2017, and then they became the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed, getting routed by twenty points by UMBC. The Cavaliers rebounded and, due to this year’s cancellation, are still the defending champions after winning it all in 2019. 

NBA Notables
Syracuse – NONE
Virginia – Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks, Pacers)

This Day in March Madness History: Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s first encounter

This Day in March Madness History

March 26, 1979
Michigan State vs. Indiana State

  • The Setup
    If someone had suggested this national championship match-up even two years prior, they would have been laughed at. Indiana State was hardly removed from their DII days, making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1979. Meanwhile, Michigan State had only returned to relevance a year prior, when the Spartans made it to the Elite Eight. Before that run, Michigan State hadn’t made the tournament since 1959. However, in 1979, both teams were powerhouses, each led by a star that would become an NBA legend. Indiana State got a one-seed in the tournament, led by the exploits of Larry Bird, who averaged 28.6 points per game that season. Heading into the title game, the Sycamores had a 33-0 record, having survived consecutive two-point games to squeak into the final round.
    Meanwhile, Michigan State had been a little less dominant at 25-6, but they had their own stud at the helm in Magic Johnson, averaging 17.1 points per game. He actually was only second on the team in scoring to Greg Kelser. The Spartans had actually had it far easier than the Sycamores, not winning a single game by less than twelve points. That game was an upset of #1 Notre Dame, 80-68. In the Final Four, they faced a huge underdog in Penn, a nine-seed, and dismantled them by 34 points. 
  • How it went down
    Michigan State knew the game would come down to whether they could stop Larry Bird, especially in the paint. The Spartans flocked to Bird when he got the ball, and they crowded his passing lanes, limiting him to just 7 of 21 shooting, and only two assists. The Spartans went up 37-28 at the half. Johnson made one exceptional play late in the half, driving to the baseline, faking out Bird with a pump-fake pass, and laying the ball in for two points. The Sycamores had rallied several times throughout the year, and they had recent experience in close games, but they started off the second half slow. Michigan State rattled off seven straight points and led 44-28 just minutes into the second half.
    Out of all their comebacks, Bird’s squad had never trailed by more than eleven points, and the 16-point deficit proved too much a struggle to overcome. Michigan State continued to fluster the mid-major star with a spectacular zone defense that minimized his efficiency and playmaking ability. Bird scratched out 19 points, and Carl Nicks chipped away for 17, but that was as good as it got for Indiana State, which was doomed by poor free throw shooting. The Sycamores were 10-22 from the charity stripe, including 5-17 from players not named Larry Bird. Michigan State battled through their own foul trouble and avoided any ejections, closing out the Sycamores, 75-64. 
  • The Aftermath
    The season was done after that, but the future of these programs went in very different directions. Having won the title in just their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, the Spartans eventually became a March regular, although it took a while. They missed the next five tournaments, and they struggled to establish a pedigree, but in 1995, Michigan State hired Tom Izzo as head coach. The Spartans won a title in 2000, and they’ve qualified for 23 straight NCAA Tournaments.
    Meanwhile, Indiana State has made just three tournament appearances since Larry Bird left the team, and they’ve won just one contest in that time. Ironically, the next tournament they qualified for, it was in 2000, when the Spartans won their next championship. They last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2011. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games for)
    Michigan State – Magic Johnson (Lakers), Greg Kelser (SuperSonics), Jay Vincent (Mavericks)
    Indiana State – Larry Bird (Celtics), Carl Nicks (Jazz)

This Day in March Madness History: K-State and Xavier duke it out in a double-OT classic

This Day in March Madness History

March 25, 2010
Xavier vs. Kansas State

  • The Setup
    Kansas State and Xavier met in West Regional Sweet 16, and the winner would be in the driver’s seat to get to the Final Four with top-seeded Syracuse having been eliminated by #5 Butler. Xavier was in their first season under head coach Chris Mack, but they were making their ninth straight tournament appearance and third straight appearance in the Sweet 16. They weren’t a favorite to get there in 2010, but the Musketeers pulled an upset in the Round of 32 over #3 Pittsburgh to reach this game.
    Meanwhile, Kansas State could hardly match Xavier’s tournament experience, but the Wildcats had been the better team in 2010. They had only one tournament win since 1988, which was also the last time they had been in the Sweet 16. They had had no issues in getting there this time around, having beaten North Texas by 20 and BYU by 12. 
  • How it went down
    For a while, it looked like the higher-ranked Wildcats may absolutely bury Xavier in the first half. Just over eight minutes into the game, Wally Judge tipped in a rebound, and Kansas State went up 19-4. However, Xavier ripped off an 8-0 run to make it a competitive game. Later in the half, the Musketeers repeated the feet to close within a point, and then they grabbed their first lead in the final minute on a free throw. Xavier led 32-31 at the half.
    Kansas State jumped back in the lead right at the start of the half, and they kept Xavier at bay for a long time, but the Musketeers never went away. Xavier crawled back into the lead at 59-58 with 5:31 to play, but they never extended their lead beyond the one-point advantage, and the Wildcats pushed back in front, 72-69 with 10 seconds left. Terrell Holloway of Xavier was fouled on a three-point attempt, and he calmly drained all three free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.
    In a very competitive overtime, Xavier needed another late comeback to survive. After getting an initial layup to take their biggest lead of the game at two points, the Musketeers surrendered their advantage once more. With under ten seconds to go, Xavier found themselves down three again, but this time it was Jordan Crawford draining a game-tying triple with seven seconds left. For the second time, Kansas State saw a game-tying effort go off target.
    However, Xavier’s tightrope act could not continue for another overtime.  They took a two-point lead twice, but they couldn’t sustain their desperate comeback efforts. Down 99-96, Xavier’s game-tying three was off the mark this time, and Kansas State drilled a pair of shots from the charity stripe to ice the result. It was Jacob Pullen who knocked down the game-winning three for the Wildcats with 35 seconds left. 
  • The Aftermath
    Kansas State’s win made them the favorite in their Elite Eight matchup, but they were just another domino to fall in Butler’s Cinderella run to the national championship. Kansas State lost in five straight opening weekends after that, but in 2018, the Wildcats made a re-appearance in the Elite Eight, losing to another Cinderella story in Loyola-Chicago.
    Xavier continued to struggle to get past the Sweet 16, not doing so until 2017 as an 11-seed. The Musketeers welcomed in a new era with Travis Steele taking over as head coach upon the departure of Mack, and they were firmly on the bubble prior to the cancellation of March Madness. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games for)
    Xavier – Jordan Crawford (Wizards)
    Kansas State – None

Jeremy Swayman Interview

Check out our latest podcast! We interview Boston Bruins draft pick and UMaine goalie Jeremy Swayman. Jeremy is the 2020 Hockey East Player of the Year, a Hobey Baker Award Finalist, and the nation’s leader in saves. After the interview, we also discuss the selection of Sabrina Ionescu and Obi Toppin as the AP Players of the year, and the NCAA’s decision to shut down Trevor Lawrence’s GoFundMe page for coronavirus victims. Listen to it all here!

2020 March Madness Simulation: Round of 64 set to start tomorrow

ESPN ran their somewhat predictable BPI simulation. They then followed it up with a wacky version where they took the 2,020th simulation and posted those results. Joe Lunardi is running his own “Twitter Tourney”, which is currently in the Sweet 16. With everyone doing their own simulations, we are introducing the most thorough one yet!

We’ve spent the last week simulating the remaining conference tournaments and creating a bracket based off those results. We’ve opened up our own bracket challenge, and it’s your last chance to get in on it! The winner will appear on our podcast and receive a T-shirt with our logo on it (not yet designed). 2nd place gets a T-Shirt. Message us on Instagram @College_Talking to get a copy of our bracket, fill it out, and send it in! Check out our Instagram page for the selection show if you have questions about how this bracket was created!

This Day in March Madness History: Double Buzzer Beaters Create a Wisco-Florida Classic

This Day in March Madness History

March 24, 2017
Wisconsin vs. Florida

  • The Setup
    A year after upsetting Xavier in the Round of 32 as a 2-seed, Wisconsin entered this Sweet 16 match-up as an 8-seed, fresh off of stunning the #1 overall seed and defending champs, Villanova. The Badgers once again had put forth an underwhelming regular season effort, but their postseason pedigree was flexing its muscles again in March, as the Badgers looked to get back to the Elite Eight against Florida.
    Meanwhile, the Gators were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014, but Florida was looking for yet another deep run. The Gators had marched to the Elite Eight in their prior four March Madness showings, and in six of their past seven, going back to 2006. They had no issues in their first two outings in the NCAA Tournament, dropping Eastern Tennessee State by 15 and Virginia by 26 to move on to the Sweet 16. 
  • How it went down
    The latter portions of this game were so breathtakingly exciting that we won’t hover too much over the early portions of the contest. Wisconsin got the early jump and led comfortably for much of the first half, taking their largest lead of 11 points at 24-13 with 8:12 to play in the half. Florida closed the gap to 29-22 and then ended the half on a 12-3 run to claim a 34-32 halftime advantage.
    Florida jumped out in front to start the second half, but as was the theme of the game ,Wisconsin fought back, edging back in front at 53-52. However, the Gators ripped off a 16-3 run to seemingly seize control of the game, leading 68-56 with 5:24 to play. Although Florida couldn’t hit a shot for the rest of regulation, making only four free throws, the Badgers took a long time cutting into the Gators’ lead.
    With 1:44 to play, Florida still led 72-64. Bronson Koenig – hero of the Xavier game a year ago –  knocked down a triple, and Ethan Happ made a layup to bring Wisconsin within three points with 44 seconds left. Wisconsin forced a turnover and got the ball back with 18 seconds to play, but they were forced to call a timeout with six ticks remaining on the clock. It worked out for the Badgers, who inbounded to Zak Showalter who banged home a game-tying three with 2.1 seconds left, forcing overtime.
    Florida’s offensive drought continued into overtime, where they made just one free throw in the first 3:26 seconds, making it 8 minutes and 50 seconds of game time between field goals. Eventually, down 80-75 with a minute to play, the Gators kicked it into high gear. Kevaughn Allen drove down the lane for an easy layup, and then after Wisconsin free throw, Canyon Barry drained a pair of shots from the charity stripe to bring Florida within two points. Barry raced back down the court and blocked a layup attempt, leading to Florida’s game-tying layup with 24 seconds to play. Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes drove and got fouled with four seconds left, sinking both free throws. Florida needed to go the full length of the court, but that’s what they did, inbounding to Chris Chiozza, who raced up the court and somehow got somewhat free for an off-balance three from the top of the key. The shot was money, as it swished cleanly through, handing Florida an absolutely thrilling 84-83 overtime victory, sending the Gators on to the Elite Eight. 
  • The Aftermath
    Florida’s exhilarating buzzer-beater was the peak of their tournament, as the Gators could not trump two straight Cinderella squads. In the Elite Eight, they fell to SEC foe and seventh-seeded South Carolina by a final score of 77-70. Florida has been back in the tournament both years since this game, but they exited in the Round of 32 both times.
    This loss officially ended the glory years of Wisconsin. They made at least the Sweet 16 in four straight years and six of seven, including two runs to the Final Four. They had made two consecutive inspired underdog runs, but the Badgers’ magic ended in 2018, when they failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. They made in back in 2019, but they were served an unceremonious exit in the Round of 64. 
  • NBA Notables/Current Players
  • Wisconsin – None
  • Florida – Chris Chiozza (Nets)

This Day in March Madness History: UCLA’s Huge Comeback Stuns Gonzaga

This Day in March Madness History

March 23, 2006
UCLA vs. Gonzaga

  • The Setup
    When UCLA and Gonzaga met in a Sweet 16 matchup, it was an anticipated matchup between the 2 and 3-seeds in the Oakland region. UCLA was coming off their first 30-win season since their 1995 national championship run, and as the 2-seed in their region, they had high hopes for their postseason aspirations in 2006. To get past Gonzaga, the Bruins would need to get rid of their Sweet 16 demons, as they had lost their prior four appearances in the regional semifinal.
    Meanwhile, Gonzaga was back in the NCAA Tournament for an eigth consecutive year, but for the first time since 2000, the Bulldogs had escaped the opening weekend and moved on to the Sweet 16. Against UCLA, they hoped to march on to their first Elite Eight since their Cinderella run in 1999. 
  • How it went down
    Throughout the first half, it looked like it would be another Sweet 16 dud from UCLA, as the Bruins failed to hit a field goal for the first 8 minutes and 43 seconds of game time. Although they scraped together seven free throws in that time, their five turnovers and 0-7 start from the field allowed the Bulldogs to carve out an 18-7 lead. It didn’t get much better from there, as UCLA didn’t get closer than nine points during the half, twice trailing by 17 points, including with 58 seconds left in the half, as Gonzaga’s Derek Raivio drilled a three. UCLA scratched out the last four points to close the gap to 13 points, but it was an uninspiring half at best.
    UCLA did well to close the gap at the beginning of the half, polishing off a 15-4 run that spanned both halves to draw within six points at 46-40. However, Adam Morrison came in clutch, knocking down a triple and free throw to push the lead back to ten. With 3:26 remaining in the game, Morrison got a pair of shots from the charity stripe to fall, and Gonzaga led 71-62, with a berth in the Elite Eight almost inevitable.
    UCLA didn’t exactly fire on all cylinders down the stretch, but they made a few shots, and that was more than Gonzaga could say. Luc Richard Mbah hit a pair of threes and then a layup, bringing the Bruins within 71-66 and causing Gonzaga to take a timeout with 1:48 to go. On their ensuing possession, the Bulldogs got two shots off and missed them both, including a layup. Two offensive possessions later, UCLA got a jumper to fall to bring the deficit to three points, the first time they were within a possession since trailing 5-2.
    With 20 seconds to play, UCLA drained two more free throws, narrowing the deficit to a single point. They put on the full-court press and got a steal, which led to an easy layup for Mbah and a 72-71 lead. A UCLA steal and free throw extended the lead to two points. Gonzaga’s full court pass connected, but their attempt at a game-tying jumper did not. When it was all over, Gonzaga missed their last eight field goal attempts, not making a shot from the field in the final 5:13, allowing UCLA to end the game on a 14-2 run, including the last eleven points, and bring home the victory.
  • The Aftermath
    UCLA’s stunning victory brought them to the Elite Eight, where they upset top-seeded Memphis, 50-45, to advance to the Final Four. They took down LSU in the semifinals, but the Bruins could not finish the job, finally succumbing to Florida in the national championship. It was the first of three consecutive Final Four appearances, but UCLA never was able to grasp the championship trophy. They haven’t been past the Sweet 16 since 2008.
    Gonzaga’s struggles to get past the Sweet 16 continued far past 2006. The Bulldogs were bounced in the opening weekend of 7 of their next 8 tournament appearances, before they finally cracked the code in 2015, reaching the Elite Eight. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games with)
    Gonzaga –  Adam Morrison (Hornets)
    UCLA – Luc Mbah-A-Moute (Bucks, Clippers), Ryan Hollins (Clippers, Hornets), Jordan Farmar (Lakers, Nets), Darren Collison (Pacer, Spurs)

This Day in March Madness History: DUNK CITY

This Day in March Madness History

March 22, 2013
Georgetown vs. Florida Gulf Coast 

  • The Setup
    Georgetown entered the 2013 NCAA Tournament on the heels of their most successful regular season since 2008, as the Hoyas posted a 25-6 record. The Hoyas hoped to turn that success into some postseason wins, as Georgetown had struggled in March Madness recently, not making it out of the opening weekend since 2007 – and having done so only three times under current coach John Thompson III, who had been at the helm since 2004. They had also dipped out of the tournament at the hands of a double-digit seed in their prior three appearances.
    Florida Gulf Coast was making their debut in the NCAA Tournament, just in their third season of D1 postseason eligibility, having transitioned from D2 in 2007. The Eagles had played their way to a solid 26-11 record and 2nd-place finish in the ASUN, and then they finished the job by winning the conference title to earn their bid. 
  • How it went down
    Georgetown did not start badly, and they knocked out an early 8-0 run to take an 18-11 lead, but from there, the Hoyas looked completely lost offensively. The Eagles would close a very defensive half on a 13-4 run to take a 24-22 lead. They took the lead with 26 seconds left, and much of the crowd watched in confusion as the Hoyas passed the ball around until the buzzer, not even attempting a shot before the horn. This gave the Eagles a halftime lead and a lot of extra swagger and momentum coming out of the break.
    The two teams battled early in the second half, with FGCU maintaining a slim 32-31 advantage. In games with huge favorites, even when the underdog stays close, the favored squad can often run off a huge burst that puts them in control, but on this particular day, it was the Eagles who did that. With a series of triples, great shooting, and crowd-energizing alley-oops, FGCU went on a blistering 21-2 run to seize a 52-33 lead with 12:28 to play. From there, the Hoyas seemingly awoke, but they could not come all the way back.
    Although Georgetown’s offense, virtually non-existent for the past twenty minutes of game time roared back to life, the Eagles didn’t exactly go cold, as they still scored 20 points in the next 11+ minutes, staving off the Hoyas, who ripped of 35 points to close within 72-68 with 52 seconds left. From there, Georgetown did get five more possessions, but they failed to notch a single point. FGCU gave them an opening by missing four of ten free throws, but the Hoyas simply did not deserve to win the game, and they couldn’t polish off a miraculous escape, falling 78-68. 
  • The Aftermath
    FGCU captured the nation’s hearts with that upset, and their confidence and swagger, along with their spectacular display of dunking on the court earned them the nickname “Dunk City”. The Eagles kept their run alive a little longer, taking out #7 San Diego State in the Round of 32, 81-71. FGCU was the seventh 15th seed to advance to the Round of 32, but the Eagles were the first to forge their way to the Sweet 16. They eventually met their match, losing to the Florida Gators there, but “Dunk City” and their magical run is an all-time classic March Madness moment that will be remembered for decades to come.
    Meanwhile, Georgetown never really did recover from that stunning upset. The Hoyas have made just one NCAA Tournament appearance since then, which resulted in a Round of 32 loss. Although the 2020 field was not selected, the Hoyas’ first round exit in the Big East tournament would have ensured a fifth straight year without a NCAA Tournament bid, their worst streak since breaking a 30-year drought in 1974. 
  • NBA Notables
    FGCU – None
    Georgetown – Otto Porter (Bulls)