Last-second foul leads San Diego State over Creighton, makes first Final Four
Miami tops Texas in Sunday's second Elite Eight contest.
Darrion Trammell made a tiebreaking free throw with 1.2 seconds remaining and San Diego State is heading to the Final Four for the first time in school history after recording a 57-56 victory over Creighton on Sunday in the South Region final in Louisville, Ky.
Lamont Butler scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Trammell added 12 points as the fifth-seeded Aztecs (31-6) followed their Friday takedown of No. 1 seed Alabama with their eighth straight victory.
Trammell was fouled by Creighton's Ryan Nembhard while shooting a floater. He missed the first attempt at the line but made the second to give San Diego State the lead, and the Bluejays' long last-ditch pass downcourt didn't result in a shot.
"The moment wasn't too big for me," Trammell said. .".. Just having that confidence that, yeah, I missed the first one, but I definitely wasn't going to miss the second one."
The finish was controversial as Creighton coach Greg McDermott vociferously questioned whether Trammell was fouled by Ryan Nembhard.
Nembhard didn't think he committed a foul though replays displayed his hand on Trammell's side as the San Diego State player shot a floater.
"It's a tough feeling. You work so hard all year, and it comes down to a play like that," Nembhard said. "I don't know. I think we could have done a little bit more to make it a game that didn't have to go down to that, but it's a tough way to lose."
Ryan Kalkbrenner had 17 points for sixth-seeded Creighton (24-13), which also was vying for its first Final Four appearance. Arthur Kaluma and Baylor Scheierman added 12 points apiece for the Bluejays.
San Diego State will face ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic (35-3) on Saturday in the Final Four in Houston.
Nathan Mensah sank a 14-foot jumper to give the Aztecs a 56-54 lead with 1:36 left.
San Diego State later was inbounding the ball from the side in its backcourt with 34.2 seconds left. Adam Seiko's lob for Micah Parrish was errant and Scheierman intercepted it and laid the ball in to knot the score at 56 with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Trammell later made the biggest free throw in San Diego State history.
Creighton shot 40% from the field, including a porous 2 of 17 from 3-point range.
The Aztecs made 37.9% of their attempts and were 3 of 13 from behind the arc.
San Diego State missed 20 of 25 field-goal attempts over the first 12-plus minutes of the second half before staging its rally.
With the Aztecs trailing by four, Keshad Johnson converted a three-point play with 7:09 left and Trammell made a floater 24 seconds later as San Diego State took a 46-45 edge.
Creighton pushed back to tie the score at 46, 48 and 50.
Aguek Arop scored back-to-back baskets in a 55-second span to give the Aztecs a 54-50 edge with 3:04 remaining. Kalkbrenner then scored two inside hoops as the Bluejays tied it at 54 with two minutes left.
Kalkbrenner scored 10 first-half points as Creighton led 33-28 at the break.
The Aztecs scored the first six points of the second half to lead 34-33 on Butler's driving layup.
Creighton responded with eight straight points with Kalkbrenner's hard slam and ensuing free throw capping the run to give the Bluejays a seven-point advantage with 13:14 remaining.
Miami 88, Texas 81
Jordan Miller had a perfect night, going 7-for-7 from the field and 13-for-13 from the free-throw line, to lift No. 5 seed Miami to an 88-81 victory over No. 2 seed Texas in the Midwest Region final in Kansas City, Missouri.
Miami qualified for its first Final Four in program history, joining Florida Atlantic and San Diego State as teams making their debuts in 2023. The last time three teams made their Final Four debut in the same tournament was in 1970, when Jacksonville (with future NBA star Artis Gilmore), St. Bonaventure (with Bob Lanier) and New Mexico State (with Sam Lacey) debuted.
Texas (29-9) was trying to advance to its first Final Four since 2003. The Longhorns' other two appearances were in 1943 and 1947.
Miami (29-7) also got 16 points from Wooga Poplar, 15 from Nijel Pack and 14 from Isaiah Wong.
Texas was led by Marcus Carr, who had 17 points. Timmy Allen added 16 and Sir'Jabari Rice had 15.
Miami cut the deficit to six points early in the second half, but Texas responded. The Longhorns led by as many as 13 before the second media timeout. Miami cut it to 67-58 inside the 10-minute mark. The Hurricanes wouldn't go away, trimming it to 70-64. Wong's baseline jumper at the 7:04 mark got Miami within 72-68.
Pack's layup with 6:11 left trimmed Texas' lead to two points. Norchad Omier's dunk tied it with 5:26 remaining, and Omier sank a free throw for a three-point play that gave Miami its first lead since early in the first half.
Tyrese Hunter hit a 3-pointer to give the Longhorns the lead before Wong tied it again. The game was tied at 75-all at the final media timeout.
Two Miller free throws gave Miami the lead before Carr tied it with a jumper in the lane with 1:26 to go. Omier hit two free throws with 1:00 left, and then Wong hit two with 34.4 seconds left to put the Hurricanes up 83-79.
Miller rebounded a Texas miss and went to the line with 23 seconds left. He hit both free throws. Hunter's layup with 17.8 seconds to play cut it to 85-81. Miller's final two freebies stretched the lead to six points, and the Hurricanes held on from there.
Miami scored the first seven points of the game, but Texas tied it up 9-9. The teams traded leads throughout the rest of the half before Texas pulled away. The Longhorns went into the locker room with a 45-37 lead.
Texas was led by Allen and Carr, who had 10 points apiece. Brock Cunningham had seven points and six rebounds off the bench. Miami was led by Miller's 13 points.
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