March Madness is officially upon us with the opening of many conference tournaments yesterday with two of the wildest games coming from the Atlantic 10. First, in the afternoon was the wild Richmond – Charlotte game. Richmond led by eight at halftime but the 49ers would close the gap in the second half. With just over five seconds left, Charlotte inbounded the ball trailing Richmond 63-60. Richmond fouled sending Pierria Henry to the line for a one-and-one. He made the first shot but Richmond forward Derrick Williams pushed Charlotte forward Willie Clayton to the floor which drew a technical call. The 49ers would get three more foul shots and possession. Henry made all three putting Charlotte up 64-63. Richmond had to foul on the inbounds and they did but the referees awarded Charlotte three free throws saying the player was in the middle of shooting a half court shot. Spiders coach Chris Mooney went crazy. He was issued a double-technical and was ejected. Henry would go on to hit eight free throws (of the 11) in two seconds of game time and Charlotte would go on to win 68-63. More here.
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks were involved in another wild Atlantic 10 matchup later on at the Barclay’s Center. The Hawks got off to a good start by taking a three point lead to the locker room at halftime. The second half would be a back and forth battle all the way to the end. The Hawks trailed by eight with 12 minutes left but roared back on a 12-0 run lead by seven points from forward Halil Kanacevic. They found themselves trailing with 13 seconds when Langston Galloway put the team on his back. With less than five seconds remaining, he drove the lane and was fouled on the arm by Xavier’s Isaiah Philmore. Galloway went to the line to shoot two. His first free throw rattled around but eventually fell to tie the game. His next free throw was all cotton to give St. Joe’s a 58-57 lead. Xavier’s inbounds pass went the length of the floor to an open Philmore who had a clean layup that caught back iron and rimmed out. The Hawks advance to play nationally ranked VCU tonight at 6:30 pm. More here.
The World Baseball Classic continued last night in Miami. The United States took on the Dominican Republic team which was a who’s who of Major League Baseball All-Stars. The United States got on the board in the first when Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer walked with the bases loaded which scored Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. The Dominican Republic would get it right back in the top of the second when Dodgers’ third baseman went deep in the park he used to call home with a 451 foot solo shot to left field. The game would remain scoreless until the ninth. Rangers’ outfielder Nelson Cruz doubled off of Braves closer Craig Kimbrel to open the ninth. Cruz would advance to third on a groundout. With one out, Angels shortstop Erik Aybar stepped to the plate. After a bad strike call on a pitch clearly off the plate, Aybar responded with a single to right over the infield that was playing already playing in. The Domincan Republic would win 2-1 and advance to the final round. More here.