Third-seeded Texas A&M erased a 12-point deficit against 11th-seeded Northern Iowa in the final 34 seconds of regulation and completed its incredible comeback by winning, 92-88, in double overtime.
“Our guys fought hard through some adversity,” Aggies coach Billy Kennedy told Jaime Maggio of CBS after the game. “We beat a very good team and we got some breaks … God has blessed us in this win. They got blessed last game, we got blessed this game.”
Northern Iowa advanced to the second round with an upset of Texas, thanks to a dramatic, buzzer-beating halfcourt shot. But the team couldn’t recreate its magic on last-second heaves at the end of regulation or the first overtime.
Jeremy Morgan of Northern Iowa led all scorers with 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds. The Aggies were led by 25 points from Alex Caruso, who also led the team in rebounds with nine and assists with three. Senior guard Danuel House — the leading scorer for Texas A&M on the season — didn’t score a point until 5:14 left in the game, but proved instrumental in the team’s furious comeback, and finished with 22.
“I’m a little bit gassed, but I’m excited,” House told Maggio. “We’re some fighters. We just wanted a chance and we’re going to compete at a high level. The coaches did a great job getting our motor going and we’re just never going to give up.”
With the Aggies’ victory, the SEC avoids being without a Sweet 16 team for the first time since 1989 after Kentucky lost to Indiana on Saturday and Vanderbilt lost in a play-in game against Wichita State on Tuesday.
Texas A&M advances to face second-seeded Oklahoma in Anaheim, Calif. on Thursday.