DUNK OF THE TOURNAMENT?! 😳@ArizonaMBB | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/t1FwJFQIdX
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 21, 2022
Pac-12 Player of the Year Bennedict Mathurin scored 30 points, and 7-foot-1 center Christian Koloko sank a put-back with five seconds left in overtime, leading the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats to an 85-80 NCAA tournament victory Sunday night in San Diego.
With the win, the Wildcats will move on to play the Houston Cougars in the Sweet 16. The South region battle betweeen the Wildcats (33-3) and the fifth-seeded Cougars (31-5) will take place on Thursday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Chuck O’Bannon led the ninth-seeded Horned Frogs (21-13) with a career-high 23 points. Eddie Lampkin and Mike Miles scored 20 apiece. Lampkin pulled down 14 rebounds.
After finishing tied for fifth in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs took a No. 9 seed in the South and won their first-round game, downing the Seton Hall Pirates, 69-42.
In the round of 32, they played Arizona to the wire, holding a three-point lead in regulation until Mathurin tied the game with a three out of the corner.
Mathurin was masterful, hitting 8 of 19 from the field and 11 of 13 at the free throw line. He also had eight rebounds. Koloko also was a force. He produced 28 points and 12 rebounds. The center connected on 12 of 13 shots from the field.
“Incredible battle,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “I knew this was going to be a hard game. I try to tell our guys, TCU obviously plays in the Big 12 and they’re battle tested and they’re great defensively, and just so hard to keep off the glass.
“We weren’t having a crazy problem getting them to miss the first shot; it was just trying to get defensive rebounds. And so they get a ton of credit. They’re really hard to play against.”
O’Bannon expressed pride in what the Horned Frogs accomplished this season.
“This season was everything for us because we weren’t even expected to be here,” he said. “And for us to win our first game and be that close with the No. 1 seed just shows that we have a bunch of guys with a lot of grit. That’s all you can ask for.”
Michigan and Villanova will play Thursday at 6:29 p.m., while Arizona and Houston will tip off at 8:59 p.m., with both South region Sweet 16 matchups at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, according to the NCAA. The games will be aired on TBS. The Elite Eight game is scheduled for Saturday at the AT&T. The game time has not been announced.
Forcing a TCU turnover on the last play of regulation, Arizona’s Dalen Terry picked up a loose ball and raced half the court to dunk it — a potential game-winning basket that was waved off because it came just after time had expired.
As a result, the contest went to overtime tied, 75-75.
Moments earlier, Eddie Lampkin’s rebound and put back gave the Horned Frogs a 75-72 lead. From there, the Wildcats came down and called on Bennedict Mathurin, who drained a three out of the corner to tie the game.
TCU brought the ball up and turned it over at half court. But it was too late for the Wildcats to do anything with it.
Earlier, the Horned Frogs had erased a nine-point deficit in the last eight minutes and appeared to be on the brink of a major upset. Big plays by TCU’s Chuck O’Bannon, Lamkin and Mike Miles sparked the rally.