Welcome to March, everyone.
The 13th-seeded Furman Paladins upset the 4th-seeded Virginia Cavaliers 68-67 on the back of a miraculous three pointer by Furman G JP Pegues.
With nine seconds left and the Cavaliers up 67-65, Cavaliers G Kihei Clark caught the inbounds pass in the corner of the basketball court, and was immediately trapped. Rather than dribble it out or call timeout, Clark threw the ball to the middle of the court, hoping to run some clock. However, his desperation heave went directly to Furman’s Garrett Hien. Hien advanced the ball to Pegues, who hit the biggest shot of the tournament so far:
ARE YOU SERIOUS?!— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 16, 2023
FURMAN WITH THE STEAL AND 3 TO TAKE THE LEAD WITH 2.2 SECONDS REMAINING #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/fSCNKUzboq
While the ending was a shocker, from my vantage point along media row, this moment seemed to be coming for the Paladins. Furman shot 10/28 from three, compared to Virginia’s 2/12. Furman erased deficits of 10 and 12 points en route to the win, with big moments coming from everyone.
F Jalen Slawson led the charge, with 19 points and ten rebounds. He took over during a stretch of the game, hitting an and-one, a three pointer, and then another tough bucket from the post plus the foul to give Furman their first lead of the game. Furman switched to a zone defense late in the second half that gave the Cavaliers fits, and then the shot by Pegues sent them on to the next round.
Furman now advances and will play the winner of the San Diego State-College of Charleston game, but whatever happens in that game will pale in comparison to the miraculous shot that gave Furman the victory over Virginia.