The evening session of Thursday's NCAA Tournament games started with a bang when 12th-seeded Little Rock rocked fifth-seeded Purdue in a double overtime thriller. While the Trojans joined Yale as a day one giant killer, the rest of the night's underdogs weren't as lucky. Buffalo, Florida Gulf Coast, and Chattanooga all fell short in their upset bids.
Arkansas-Little Rock 85, Purdue 84 (2 OT)
Behold, the most painful loss of the tournament thus far. Purdue appeared to have this game sewn up when it took a 65-52 lead with 3:33 left in the game. According to analytics site NumberFire, the Boilermakers had a 99.7 percent chance of victory. And then:
Little Rock kept its season alive with a furious comeback, forcing three Purdue turnovers and holding the Boilermakers to just one field goal in the final three minutes. The Trojans chipped away at a seemingly insurmountable deficit before getting the ball back with their first chance to tie the game in more than 18 minutes of court time. Then, Josh Hagins did this:
The two teams battled through a pair of extra periods, but Purdue's inability to deliver on any of its three last second shots ultimately sealed the Boilermakers fate. Little Rock scored on its first possession of the second overtime and never gave up that lead. The Trojans will face fourth-seeded Iowa State on Saturday.
Miami (FL) 79, Buffalo 72
The Bulls fought the good fight in Providence, but their upset bid ultimately fell short against the third-seeded Hurricanes. Buffalo led throughout the first half but didn't have the shooting or size to hang with its ACC opponent. The team shot just 39 percent from the field and were out-rebounded 44-31 by Miami.
Five Hurricanes -- Sheldon McClellan, Angel Rodriguez, Devon Reed, Kamari Murphy, and Ja'Quan Newton -- scored in double figures to kick off their NCAA Tournament.
Indiana 99, Chattanooga 72
Chattanooga never really had a chance against the Big Ten regular season champs. Chattanooga held an early 7-6 lead, then trailed for the final 36 minutes as Indiana played like a team with something to prove after bowing out of the Big Ten tournament early. Yogi Ferrell recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists, but that still wasn't enough to impress his sisters sitting in the stands.
North Carolina 83, Florida Gulf Coast 67
For 20 glorious minutes, the dream Dunk City was back. Florida Gulf Coast trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, but a 22-12 run pulled the Eagles to a 41-40 halftime deficit and sparked memories of the program's Cinderella run in 2013.
Alas, it was not to be. The Tar Heels leaned on their size and talent advantages to wear down an overmatched FGCU team. North Carolina outscored its opponent 42-27 in the second half and Brice Johnson treated the Eagles' layup attempts like a toddler treats peas, smashing them out of his airspace en route to eight blocks on the evening.