Butler Enjoys Especially Upsetting NCAA Win
LIANE HANSEN, host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.
In the men's NCAA basketball tournament last night, number one seed Pittsburgh fell to Butler. The game ended in a way that can conservatively be described as unbelievable. NPR's Mike Pesca was courtside.
(Soundbite of cheering)
MIKE PESCA: Early in the second half, Pittsburgh erased their eight-point halftime deficit, then Butler bit back, then Pittsburgh, then Butler; Panthers, Bulldogs, Panthers, Bulldogs; until an Andrew Smith lay up put the Butler Bulldogs up by one. Pittsburgh had only a desperate 2.2 seconds left to go the length of the court, and then the unthinkable for Butler - a foul. Shelvin Mack, who accounted for 30 of Butler's eventual 71 points, committed a foul.
Mr. BRAD STEVENS (Head Coach, Butler Men's Basketball): Hey, no way.
PESCA: On the sidelines, Butler coach Brad Stevens was incredulous.
Mr. STEVENS: You won the game, Terry.
PESCA: In basketball parlance it's called working the ref, but to what avail? The chances that Terry Higgins or any other referee would even have the opportunity to make another call were remote. Pittsburgh tied the game at the foul line and then Gilbert Brown missed the go-ahead free throw and Pittsburgh committed a foul of their own. A Matt Howard free throw later, Butler wins.
Forward Andrew Smith was a hero, then an afterthought, and finally one of 18,000 awed spectators.
Mr. ANDREW SMITH (Forward, Butler Men's Basketball Team): I mean, it's definitely the craziest game I've ever played in and probably the craziest game I've ever seen.
PESCA: In the Butler locker room, the team sang the school fight song. In the Pitt locker room, players could barely conjure words. In the end, even Coach Stevens agreed, the refs made two good calls. The whistles needed to be blown, whether he was screaming about it or not.
Mr. STEVENS: I'm just a little bit emotional; probably need to control a little better, but, you know, the game is won by the players.
PESCA: Well, won, lost and re-won, all in the span of 2.2 seconds in fact.
Mike Pesca, NPR News, Washington.
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