EditorsNote: corrects to Wolf Pack throughout
Down by 22 points in the second half Sunday, seventh-seeded Nevada pulled off a comeback for the ages, getting a put-back from Josh Hall with 9.1 seconds left to stun second-seeded Cincinnati 75-73 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Hall, who finished with 14 points, grabbed the miss of Cody Martin’s step-back jumper and converted on an open 8-footer in the lane. The shot capped a game-ending 32-8 run for the Wolf Pack (29-7), who trailed 65-43 with 11:27 left after a Jarron Cumberland bucket.
Nevada’s second-half comeback was the largest in NCAA Tournament history per CBS, citing STATS, LLC.
“Just a lot of heart and a lot of determination, no quit” Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman said in a postgame interview on TNT. “Some halftime adjustments of some trapping and trying to speed them up. Nothing feels better that this, nothing! Sweet 16!”
Musselman added of using just six players in the game, “We worked so hard in the summer on conditioning. We don’t get tired. We get stronger as the game goes on.”
Cody Martin scored a game-high 25 points, leading five Nevada players in double figures. Kendall Stephens and Jordan Caroline each added 13. Caleb Martin, who hit for 10 points, drained a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left to tie the game at 73.
Jacob Evans tallied 19 points to pace the Bearcats (31-5), while Cumberland potted 17 before fouling out with just over four minutes left. Gary Clark finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Kyle Washington contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wolf Pack will meet 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago on Thursday night in a classic bracket-collapse matchup in the South Region semifinals at Atlanta.
Cincinnati opened the game as though Nevada were a fresh slab of meat tossed into a bearcat’s cage. It scored the first 10 points in a span of 1:56 and forced Musselman to burn a timeout, then widened the lead to 18-4 and forced a second timeout just 4:17 into the game.
A 3-pointer by Cumberland at the 12:11 mark upped the Bearcats’ advantage to 27-10, but Nevada finally found some traction. Cody Martin drained a jumper with 5:54 left in the half to pull the Wolf Pack within 33-26.
However, Cincinnati regained momentum just before the halftime. Consecutive driving layups by Evans upped the lead to 14 points before another jumper by Cody Martin made it a 44-32 advantage for the Bearcats at halftime.
—Field Level Media