College Sports

Upset-hungry UMBC put up a fight against Kansas State. Here’s how the magic faded.

Kansas State forward Makol Mawien, left, fights to get a shot off in the lane as UMBC Retrievers forward Daniel Akin, right, applies defensive pressure during Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament game at the Spectrum Center. Kansas State defeated UMBC 50-43.
Kansas State forward Makol Mawien, left, fights to get a shot off in the lane as UMBC Retrievers forward Daniel Akin, right, applies defensive pressure during Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament game at the Spectrum Center. Kansas State defeated UMBC 50-43. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Eventually the magic had to run out.

No. 16 seed UMBC, whose upset of No. 1 Virginia Friday will endure as one of college basketball’s greatest-ever upsets, could not produce a second NCAA tournament shocker Sunday, losing 50-43 to No. 9 seed Kansas State.

But boy if the Retrievers didn’t go down fighting.

Even down five in the last minute and a half, everyone on the No. 16 Retrievers was hustling and diving across the floor to avoid a backcourt violation. A couple of late UMBC misses and key baskets by Kansas State ultimately swung the game, though.

And now Kansas State, not one of sports history’s great Cinderella stories, will advance to the Sweet 16.

Three who mattered

Jairus Lyles: No one will ever forget his 28 points against Virginia, but Lyles drew Kansas State’s defensive focus all night and finished with 12 in his final college game.

Barry Brown Jr.: Not only did he shut down Lyles, but he scored a game-high 18 and made everything go on offense for the Wildcats.

K.J. Maura: The 5-foot-8, 140-pound point guard (yes, he’s really that small) ended up as UMBC’s second-leading scorer with 10.

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UMBC fans cheer their team during a break against Kansas State during Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament game at the Spectrum Center. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Observations

▪  Even after UNC’s shocking loss to Texas A&M, a large contingent of Tar Heels fans stuck around to watch the UMBC and Kansas State game. Based on their cheers, they seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Retrievers.

▪  UMBC won its first NCAA tournament game against Virginia with incredible shooting. Sunday, it shot just 29.8 percent from the field and 27.3 from 3.

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UMBC Retrievers guard Jairus Lyles (10) passes to teammate Joe Sherburne (13) as Kansas State Wildcats forward Makol Mawien (14) defends during Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament game at the Spectrum Center. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

▪  Kansas State committed 18 turnovers (UMBC had 17 of its own), but the Retrievers could only turn those into three points.

▪  A fantastic game of execution it was not – at one point midway through the second half, neither team scored for more than three minutes of game time, or more like 15 minutes of real time.

▪  If you need something else to blame for UMBC’s loss, check out those free-throw woes. The Retrievers only made nine of their 18 attempts, which obviously could have helped swing the game in their favor.

Worth mentioning

▪  No official count on how many UMBC fans were in attendance, but there were certainly more than there were for Friday’s game against Virginia. According to the players’ families, the school brought busloads of fans and students to Charlotte.

▪  Biggest cheer of the night? When Maura’s father, who like his son is from Puerto Rico, flashed on the Jumbotron and slapped a Puerto Rican sleeve on his arm.

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Kansas State coach Bruce Weber yells instructions to his team as they battle the UMBC Retrievers during Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament game at the Spectrum Center. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

▪  Golden State Warriors star and Davidson alum Stephen Curry sent UMBC some gear before Sunday’s game, including special unreleased shoes from Under Armour, Curry’s sponsor.

They said it

“We had a little pool party in the locker room.” – Brown, when asked why Kansas State coach Bruce Weber had wet hair.

“People that feel like they underdogs in their life, I think we given the hope to everything they want to do in life. ” – Maura.

“Overall we understand that what we did the other night, we understand we had a great season. We did the unexpected, so we’re proud of each other for that.” – Lyles.

Brendan Marks: 704-358-5889, @brendanrmarks

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UMBC Retrievers forward Joe Sherburne (13) recovers a loose ball as Kansas State Wildcats forward Xavier Sneed (20) closes in during Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament game at the Spectrum Center. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

KANSAS ST. 50, UMBC 43

UMBC (25-11): Akin 1-1 1-4 3, Lyles 4-15 3-6 12, Sherburne 0-9 0-1 0, Maura 3-6 2-3 10, Lamar 2-8 0-0 5, Portmann 0-0 0-0 0, Horvath 0-0 0-0 0, Curran 2-3 0-0 5, Gerrity 0-0 0-0 0, Rogers 1-1 0-0 2, Rosario 0-1 0-0 0, Jabbie 0-0 0-0 0, Grant 1-3 3-4 6. Totals 14-47 9-18 43.

KANSAS ST. (24-11): Sneed 4-9 0-0 8, Mawien 4-7 3-4 11, Diarra 2-5 0-4 5, Stokes 2-6 0-0 4, Brown 5-13 8-8 18, Stockard 0-0 0-0 0, Love 0-0 0-0 0, McGuirl 0-2 2-2 2, Wainright 1-2 0-0 2, Schoen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 13-18 50.

Halftime—Kansas St. 25-20. 3-Point Goals—UMBC 6-22 (Maura 2-3, Curran 1-2, Grant 1-3, Lamar 1-5, Lyles 1-5, Sherburne 0-4), Kansas St. 1-12 (Diarra 1-2, Wainright 0-1, Brown 0-1, McGuirl 0-2, Stokes 0-3, Sneed 0-3). Fouled Out—Grant. Rebounds—UMBC 28 (Lamar, Lyles 6), Kansas St. 32 (Diarra, Sneed 7). Assists—UMBC 6 (Lyles 4), Kansas St. 4 (Stokes, Sneed 2). Total Fouls—UMBC 17, Kansas St. 17. A—18,485 (19,077).

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