March Madness 2019: UC Irvine Anteaters write -30- on K-State’s championship season

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first_imgKansas State has been in the training room, too much. Star forward Dean Wade, for the second consecutive NCAA Tournament, had to sit out of action with a foot injury. This time, it did not last as long. The Wildcats made it to the Elite Eight last year without him, but Irvine held K-State star Barry Brown to 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting.They aimed their 2-3 zone at him and defended him aggressively in man-to-man. And, as happened so many times in so many ways in this game, it worked.“It’s gratifying to see how much our success means to so many people,” Turner said. “But I know that’s the product of a lot of people working together and believing. And it’s kind of nice when your belief is validated.” SN’s MARCH MADNESS HQLive NCAA bracket | Live scoreboard | Full TV schedule​It was not monumental, as these things go. The Anteaters — owner of the best nickname in March Madness, by far — were only a 6½-point underdog according to BetOnline. It was the narrowest spread of any matchup between No. 4 seeds and No. 13s.It was historic for Irvine, though, which prior to its entry into the 2019 tournament had only appeared in one other. This became the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory in four decades of Division I competition.Cartwright told reporters afterward he experienced both “relief” and “elation.” Because it’s thrilling to win a game such as this, but harrowing to know you could have that chance and let it escape.“You know, we believed that we had a chance to win this game, and we prepared like we were going to have a chance to win this game,” Cartwright said. “And we made the plays necessary.”Guard Max Hazzard, the grandson of UCLA superstar Walt Hazzard, led UC with 19 points, tied with freshman guard Evan Leonard.It couldn’t have been thrilling for Kansas State and coach Bruce Weber to see the Wildcats paired with Irvine. Because the Anteaters went 30-5 this season, and teams that win 30 times know how to win. We have seen this phenomenon so many times in the past, regardless of seed.”We knew they’d be tough,” Weber told reporters. “They had depth. They played their butts off.”MORE: Results from Day 2 of NCAA TournamentIn the past five seasons, teams that entered the NCAA Tournament with 30 victories have won 18 first-round games and lost three. That’s an .857 winning percentage.“We’ve been consistently good in our league, so we’re proud of the sustained success that we’ve established, the type of guys we have, the type of program we have,” UCI coach Russell Turner told reporters afterward. “But we want to keep getting better. We have visions of potentially growing into something greater. You know, every program dreams of that. This was a big step toward that tonight. UC Irvine lives in the shadow, lives like little brothers to UCLA and (Southern Cal) and maybe some others. Cal, Stanford, San Diego State.“Well, little brother has been in the weight room, getting better, getting ready for a chance like this.” Big Jonathan Galloway pulled down the rebound and, as he’d been instructed to do many times, attempted to get the ball to point guard Robert Cartwright. The pass bounced off his chest and fell weakly to the court. It was one of the few plays made by UC Irvine that did not turn out exactly as planned.The pass failed because Cartwright already was celebrating the first upset of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Irvine knocked off Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas State, 70-64, in a West Region game at San Jose.last_img

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