March 21, 2023
Pitt, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi win first four games as men's NCAA Tournament begins

Pitt, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi win first four games as men’s NCAA Tournament begins

DAYTON, Ohio — Mississippi State basketball’s return to March Madness was short-lived. MSU, in an exciting run-filled game, fell 60-59 to Pittsburgh on Tuesday in the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena.

Mississippi State guard Shakeel Moore had an open look from beyond the arc with a chance to win the game in the dying seconds. Forward DJ Jeffries was unable to get the spike to drop at the horn.

“It was a great look,” Mississippi State coach Chris Jans said of Moore’s missed 3-pointer. “Luckily we got it done fast enough and had at least a touch on it. I don’t think the second one came in time, but at that point it’s all you could ask for, a chance (the ball is in the air) to win an NCAA Tournament game and still have enough time to get a throwback. ”

Jans’ first season in charge ends in disappointment as Mississippi State returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019, but fails to advance to the first round.

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Mississippi State hot start cooled off fast

Few would expect the worst 3-point shooting team in the nation to make an NCAA Tournament appearance, but it’s part of what has made MSU’s success this season even more amazing. However, the first five minutes of the game sent a different message.

The Bulldogs made four of their first five attempts from deep to take a 14-8 lead before the first media timeout. Jeffries, who made two of his last 20 shots from beyond the arc before Tuesday, had a couple in that stretch.

However, the law of averages quickly took hold. Mississippi State had a points drought that lasted nearly six minutes after the hot start. The Bulldogs trailed 35-34 at halftime after missing nine of their last 10 attempts from deep.

Pittsburgh, ranked No. 79 in the nation in 3-point shooting, was 8-for-13 (62%) in the first half.

“We showed toughness, resilience,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “We were what we’ve been all year, and it wasn’t pretty, but it was beautiful.”

Pittsburgh’s Jamarius Burton reacts after hitting the game-winning shot.

Pitt without Frederick Frederick

The Panthers were shorthanded with 6-foot-11 second-year center Federiko Federiko sidelined with a knee injury. Freshman Guillermo Diaz Graham, a 7-foot center from Spain, started in his place despite averaging 10 minutes per game.

Diaz Graham blocked Tolu Smith’s out-of-bounds driving layup attempt with 2.7 seconds remaining, setting up the final sequence.

“I made a block, I don’t even know how, with my left hand,” said the exhausted 6-foot-11 freshman. “I don’t normally use my left hand. And I blocked it, and I knew it was a great play, so I just let the energy go.”

Contributing: Associated Press

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earns its first NCAA tournament win

DAYTON, Ohio – Isaac Mushila had 15 points and 12 rebounds as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi defeated southeastern Missouri State 75-71 Tuesday night for the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi went 3-for-4 at the free throw line in the final 15 seconds to freeze the game and advance to play top-seeded Alabama in the South Region.

“To find a way to win, I couldn’t be more excited and proud for those guys, obviously for the city, for the university and all the Islanders fans that are across the country watching this game,” Texas A&M-Corpus. said Christi’s trainer, Steve Lutz. “They have to be very excited.”

The 16th-seeded Islanders (24-10), winners of the Southland Conference, returned to the Top Four for the second straight season and led by nearly 23 seconds.

-Associated Press

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: March Madness Begins: Pitt, Texas A&M Corpus Christi Take First 4 Wins

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