OKLAHOMA CITY — Leading by one against the colossus of the bracket, Ali Farokhmanesh stood at the 3-point line, no one around. The prudent play? Pull it out, burn some clock.

Not a chance.

Taking his shot at history, Farokhmanesh let fly from the wing.


The biggest upset in a tournament full of them was done. Northern Iowa had taken down mighty Kansas.

Playing with poise down the stretch and getting another big 3-pointer from Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa pulled off one of the biggest NCAA upsets in years by knocking No. 1 overall seed Kansas from the bracket with a program-defining 69-67 win in the second round of the Midwest Regional on Saturday.

“If anybody’s going to shoot that shot, I want it to be Ali,” Northern Iowa’s Jake Koch said.

This year’s NCAA tournament has been defined by its upsets. Eight double-digit seeds moved through the bracket in the first round. No. 10 St. Mary’s beat Villanova on Saturday and No. 11 Washington shoved aside New Mexico.

This was the biggest shocker of all.

Winning the tempo tug of war, ninth-seeded Northern Iowa (30-4) grounded the high-flying Jayhawks with in-their-jersey defense, then withstood a furious rally to become the first team to beat a No. 1 seed in the second round since Alabama-Birmingham and Alabama did it to Kentucky and Stanford in 2004.

Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa’s first-round hero, had the biggest play of all.

With Kansas charging and its fans roaring, Farokhmanesh caught the ball on the wing after the Panthers had broken the Jayhawks’ press. The shot clock still in the 30s, he hesitated for just an instant, then hit his bracket-busting shot with 34 seconds left on the game clock.

Trailing 66-62, Kansas had one last chance, but Tyrel Reed was called for an offensive foul and Farokhmanesh sealed it with two free throws with 5 seconds left, sending the Panthers to the Round of 16 for the first time.

Next up is the Michigan State-Maryland winner in St. Louis – and another chance at history.

“This team has done such a great job of turning the page to what’s next, and this would be the biggest challenge of the year,” Northern Iowa Coach Ben Jacobson said.

“A lot of positive things have happened because of the way these guys played.”

Kansas (33-3) fell behind early and came up just short on one of its anticipated runs, ending a season that started with national-title aspirations on another disappointing NCAA loss to a mid-major team.

The Jayhawks trailed by as many as 12 points and used defense to pull within one with 44 seconds left. But they let Farokhmanesh sneak behind them for the deciding 3 to go down like they did to Bradley in 2006 and Bucknell the year before, also in Oklahoma City.

Cole Aldrich had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Marcus Morris added 16 points and Sherron Collins ended his standout career with 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

“Obviously, everybody is disappointed on our team,” Aldrich said. “To work so hard and to go through so much adversity it’s disappointing that we couldn’t have let Sherron go out in a better way.”

Northern Iowa went right at the Jayhawks, opening with a 10-2 run that had Kansas Coach Bill Self burning an early timeout against a mid-major for the second straight game.

The Panthers kept attacking, leading all but 56 seconds of the first half, by as many as eight. Farokhmanesh hit all four of his shots, including three 3-pointers, for 11 points to help the Panthers go up 36-28 at halftime.

“There were some things that happened during the game that I felt like wasn’t poor play by us, more so Northern Iowa making plays,” Self said.

ST. MARY’S 75, VILLANOVA 68: Omar Samhan was an unstoppable Gael force.

His career isn’t over yet – and neither is St. Mary’s improbable NCAA tournament run as the Gaels are headed to the Round of 16.

Samhan played the game of his career on basketball’s biggest stage, finishing with 32 points and seven rebounds to lead 10th-seeded St. Mary’s past No. 2 seed Villanova 75-68 in the South Regional and on to Houston for the regional semifinals.

WASHINGTON 82, N. MEXICO 64: Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas danced to Washington’s timeout huddle after finishing yet another second-half fast break with a basket and a bellowing vocal flourish.

In their wake, the weary New Mexico players huffed and puffed to the bench, their shoulders sagging.

Pondexter scored 18 points, Thomas added 15, and Washington extended its incredible late-season roll all the way to the regional semifinals with an 82-64 second-round victory.

BUTLER 54, MURRAY STATE 52: Murray State got awfully close to a second straight bracket-busting upset before Butler reminded the Racers which small school almost always plays big in March.

Ronald Nored’s three-point play snapped a tie with 25.4 seconds left, and Butler narrowly evaded a second stunner by the 13th-seeded Racers in three days, advancing to the regional semifinals of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with a 54-52 victory.

KANSAS STATE 84, BYU 72: Jacob Pullen scored 20 of his career-high 34 points in the first half to help dig No. 2 seed Kansas State (28-7) out of an early 10-point hole, and the Wildcats turned away seventh-seeded BYU (30-6) in the second round at Oklahoma City.

Pullen helped seal the victory with a 3-pointer and six free throws down the stretch.

Jimmer Fredette, who had scored 37 points to get the Cougars past Florida in double overtime in the first round, finished with 21 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

BAYLOR 76, OLD DOMINION 68: LaceDarius Dunn scored 26 points and third-seeded Baylor (27-7) beat No. 11 Old Dominion (27-9) in the second round at New Orleans.

The Bears squandered a 14-point first-half lead but went on a late 8-0 run to pull away. Baylor advanced to play No. 10 seed St. Mary’s in Houston in the regional semifinals.

TENNESSEE 83, OHIO 68: J.P. Prince scored 18 points, and Brian Williams and Wayne Chism each had 12 rebounds to lead sixth-seeded Tennessee (27-8) to a victory over No. 14 seed Ohio (22-15) in the second round at Providence, R.I.

Tommy Freeman scored 23 points for Ohio, which was the lowest seed to get out of the first round.

The Bobcats trailed by six midway through the second half before the Vols went on a 10-1 run to put it away.

KENTUCKY 90, WAKE FOREST 60: Darius Miller scored a career-high 20 points and top-seeded Kentucky (34-2) made easy work of No. 9 Wake Forest (20-11) in a second-round game at New Orleans.

It was the second blowout in two games for the Wildcats, who crushed East Tennessee State 100-71 in their opener.

Miller scored 16 points in the first half to help the Wildcats build an early double-digit lead that ballooned beyond 30 in the second half.


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