Texas A&M is moving on to the sweet 16.
There really aren’t any words that could justify how mind blowing the Aggies late game heroics were.
If you somehow missed it, even after the Twitter world exploded, here is the comeback that forced the game into overtime:
Unlike the past few games for A&M, the Aggies were able to get off to a fast start. Holding an 8-2 advantage early in a second round game against 11th seeded Northern Iowa, it seemed as if the Aggies would run away with the game.
The Northern Iowa Panthers had other plans. Wes Washpun and co. controlled the rest of the first half, taking a 32-22 lead into the locker room.
Early in the second half, A&M was able to net a few buckets and close Northern Iowa’s lead to just four. However, the Panthers hot hand did not cool off, stretching the lead to 15 points in the latter parts of the second half.
With the end of the season looming and 44 seconds left to overcome a 12 point deficit, the Aggies needed a miracle.
And they did just that. They pulled off a miracle for the ages.
As you can see in the attached video above, the Aggie miracle started with a layup by Admon Gilder to cut the lead to ten points with 31 seconds left in regulation. The Ags then stole the ensuing inbounds pass away from Northern Iowa, and Danuel House promptly layed the ball in to cut the lead down to eight with 25 seconds left.
Texas A&M’s suffocating press caused another turnover on the Panthers, as Jalen Jones slammed home a dunk to cut the lead to just six points. Still six points down and just over 20 seconds left on the clock, Texas A&M had signs of life and a fighters’ chance to at least scare the Panthers.
But the Aggies were not looking to just merely give Northern Iowa a scare; they wanted to win.
The Aggies’ stifling defense forced a Northern Iowa inbounds pass to go sailing out of bounds. Texas A&M gained possession on the baseline, and Alex Caruso found House, who nailed a three pointer to make it just a one possession game with under 20 seconds.
The Panthers were finally able to get the ball across half court, where they slammed a dunk home to stretch their lead to five with around 15 ticks left on the clock.
Alex Caruso then went coast-to-coast for an and-1 that he converted to make it a two point game.
The following inbounds pass from Northern Iowa found Panther star Wes Washpun trapped in the corner. Washpun held onto the ball as time was winding down, but eventually he had to try and throw it off an Aggie defender to get him out of a sticky situation.
But that did not work. Freshman Admon Gilder made a senior play by stepping away from Washpun, knowing that he would try to throw it off of him.
Instead, the ball bounced right into Gilder’s hands. After that he quickly laid the ball in for one of the most iconic baskets in Texas A&M Basketball history, and one of the most miraculous moments in the NCAA Tournament’s history.
Northern Iowa got the ball back with a couple seconds left and heaved up a half court shot, which missed as Aggies around the world let a gasp of relief out.
The game wasn’t quite over yet, though. The Aggies and Panthers headed to overtime knotted up at 71 all.
In the first overtime, Texas A&M found itself clawing and fighting to stay with the Panthers yet again. Senior Caruso made the biggest shot of his career, however, late in the first overtime to send the game to double OT.
In the second overtime it was all Aggies. Texas A&M was not going to let the ‘OMG in OKC’, the ’12th point’, the ‘comeback’, slip away.
Texas A&M simply made all the necessary plays in double overtime, as Northern Iowa players fouled out, to secure the victory 92-88.
The celebration was on for Aggies across the country as soon as the buzzer sounded on the biggest comeback in under a minute in NCAA history. The rest of the nation took notice as well. You can do nothing but credit Billy Kennedy and his players for never giving up.
In the midst of celebrating a triumphant miracle, a very cool moment occurred as Alex Caruso gathered his team and lead them over to shake hands with a heart broken Northern Iowa team.
You have to feel bad for Northern Iowa. They are one of the classiest and most well-respected programs in college basketball. They are usually the team breaking opponents hearts with buzzer beaters and such, but unfortunately this time they were on the wrong end of a comeback of epic proportions. Hats off to the Panthers.
Texas A&M players and staff were welcomed home at Reed Arena by fellow classmates and friends, who came to show support and celebrate a victory for the ages.
While last night and into this morning Coach Kennedy and his team surely celebrated advancing to the sweet 16 for just the third time in school history, you can guarantee they have already turned their focus to Oklahoma.
The Aggies will meet Buddy Hield and the Sooners in Anaheim, California on Thursday for a spot in the elite eight.
Texas A&M will ride this all time high emotion into the tilt with Oklahoma, hoping to advance to the school’s first ever appearance in the elite eight. House, Jones, Caruso and all of the A&M players believe they can win in any circumstance now, no matter how bad it might be. That’s bad news for Oklahoma.
Lon Kruger’s squad better hope they are up by over twenty points in the last minute to feel good about closing the game out on the Aggies. Otherwise, they might find themselves preparing for next season as A&M moves on.
tweet courtesy of NCAA March Madness