No. 14 Stephen F. Austin was mere seconds away from a trip to the Sweet Sixteen, holding a 75-74 lead over No. 6 Notre Dame in the final seconds. But the Irish pulled off a breathtaking win when Rex Pflueger made a desperate tip-in with just one second, giving his team the 76-75 victory.
The Irish will move on to face either Wisconsin or Xavier in the East regional semifinals.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the first half, trading big shots and playing great defense. Neither team led by more than nine points and there were five lead changes. V.J. Beachem sank a three-point buzzer-beater to give the Irish a 42-41 lead at halftime.
Notre Dame started off the second half on a 10-6 run, capped off by this thunderous dunk from Demetrius Jackson.
The Lumberjacks trouble when Thomas Walkup was forced to the bench with foul trouble, and the Irish eventually opened up a seven-point lead, the biggest of the game. But Walkup returned and Stephen F. Austin rallied back to tie things up at the seven-minute mark, taking the 66-64 lead one minute later.
The two teams continued going back-and-forth over the final minutes. Walkup made one of the most impressive plays of the game, somehow avoiding the out-of-bounds marker while nailing this layup.
On the next possession, Walkup dished out a perfect pass to Demetrious Floyd, who hit the wide-open three to give the Lumberjacks a 73-70 lead.
Now having the lead, Stephen F. Austin turned up its stifling defense, rarely allowing open looks to Notre Dame and forcing turnovers. They had the 75-74 lead with 46 seconds left, but Walkup made a rare poor shot on their final possession, setting up the heartbreaking finish.
Our new printable bracket can be found here.
Sunday's final scores
No. 2 Villanova 87, No. 7 Iowa 68
No. 6 Notre Dame 76, No. 14 Stephen F. Austin 75
Still to come (all times Eastern)
No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 VCU, 5:15 p.m. (CBS)
No. 10 Syracuse vs. No. 15 Middle Tennessee, 6:10 p.m. (TNT)
No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 13 Hawaii, 7:10 p.m. (TBS)
No. 3 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Northern Iowa, 7:45 p.m. (truTV)
No. 2 Xavier vs. No. 7 Wisconsin, 8:40 p.m. (TNT)
No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 8 St. Joseph's, 9:40 p.m. (TBS)