Speaking while maintaining an ear-to-ear grin, the 80-year-old Felkner joined hundreds of current and former students outside of Reed Arena to welcome home the A&M men's basketball team following its historic comeback victory over Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Down 69-57 to the 11-seed Panthers, a 14-2 scoring run capped off by freshman Admon Gilder's game-tying layup seconds before the buzzer sent the game into overtime. Still knotted up after the first OT, it took an additional five minutes to determine that it would be the Aggies who will take on No. 2 Oklahoma in the Sweet 16.
Recap: Tyler Ulis scored a career-high 30 points and Derek Willis and Jamal Murray each hit huge three-pointers in overtime as Kentucky held off the Aggies to win their 29th SEC Tournament.
The Cats led 71-66 with 1:43 in regulation when A&M stormed back to send the game to the third consecutive overtime affair between these two teams. Danuel House, who finished with 32 points, hit a three, then score on a drive with 18 seconds left. Ulis missed on Kentucky’s final possession in regulation.
But Ulis opened the overtime with a three-pointer. And with the score tied at 75-75, Willis hit a three with 1:02 remaining. Murray followed with a rainbow three with just 15 seconds left on the game clock and three seconds left on the shot clock, to make it 81-75.
The Gamecocks (24-8) were one of the teams snubbed by the NCAA tournament committee, but they were rewarded for a good season with a No. 1 seed in the NIT. The Gamecocks will host the regular season champions of the Big South conference, High Point, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Florida (19-14) also saw its bubble pop due to a late-season slump, but it received a decent consolation prize. The Gators received a No. 2 seed in the NIT, but there’s a twist: The Gators will have to travel to No. 7 seeded North Florida of the Atlantic Sun conference because of construction taking place in the O’Connell Center. Florida tips off Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
UGA (19-13) earned a No. 3 seed in the NIT. The Bulldogs will host No. 6 seed Belmont in the first round in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.
Alabama (18-14) might be the biggest surprise in the SEC this season. The Crimson Tide were picked to finish near the bottom of the SEC during the preseason, but defied all expectations with a very good year. Alabama was listed as a No. 5 seed and will travel to No. 4 seed Creighton for a Tuesday night tilt on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.
Emily Carosone's solo home run gave Auburn an early first-inning lead before Florida tied the game in the second and pulled ahead in the third with a two-run homer from Amanda Lorenz. The Tigers retook the lead in the bottom of the third with back-to-back home runs from Kasey Cooper and Carlee Wallace, but Nicole DeWitt's three-run bomb in the fourth put the Gators back on top for good.
Back: The Bulldogs defeated Vanderbilt 75-74 on a 3-point buzzer-beater
by Quinndary Weatherspoon on Tuesday. MSU won 67-61 at Alabama on
Looking Ahead: The Bulldogs travel to Texas A&M Wednesday at 6 p.m. (ESPN2). State returns home to face South Carolina on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (SEC Network).
Who’s Hot: Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs in both games last week, scoring a career-high 24 including the game-winner against Vanderbilt and 15 against Alabama. The freshman also had the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked highlight plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter last week.
“Being able to compete like we did, in about every race, is a pretty neat thing for people who are unshaved and unrested,” Rhodenbaugh said. “Although I thought we’d be pretty good, I didn’t know we’d be this good.”