NCAA Tournament’s First Four

Last night’s First Four In matchups gave us an appetizer of what the NCAA Tournament brings us every year. Eight teams on the brink of punching their ticket to the big dance. Last year due to Coronavirus, we missed out on some of the most exciting basketball we see from talents all over the country. Here is a quick recap of last night’s action.

Texas Southern and Mount St. Mary’s matched up in the first game of the night. Mount St. Mary’s had the momentum in the first half, holding Texas Southern to only 20 points. But Texas So. turned the tide in the second half, outscoring Mount St. Mary’s 40-22 and winning by a final score of 60-52. John Walker III was the main catalyst for Texas So. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Texas So. will play Michigan in the first round.

Drake and Wichita State faced off in what was the most evenly matched game of the night. Wichita State looked to get back into the tournament like they have several times in the past, while Drake looked to go dancing for the first time in 50 years. Morris Udeze led Wichita St. with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough, as Drake won 53-52. Drake will play USC in the first round.

The hometown Norfolk State Spartans took on the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Norfolk State dominated the first half, closing the half with a 16 point lead. But Appalachian State battled and came within inches of winning the game in the waning seconds. The Spartans squeezed by behind a 24 point performance off the bench from Jalen Hawkins. The final score was 54-53. The Spartans will play Gonzaga in the first round.

Two legendary programs in UCLA and Michigan State faced off in the First Four to close the night. The game was electrifying, and it had to go to overtime to be decided. Michigan State took a 44-33 lead at the half, but UCLA flipped it, outscoring the Spartans 44-33 in the second half to force OT. Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang combined for 50 points for the Bruins and led UCLA to a 86-80 victory to punch their ticket to the tournament. UCLA will play BYU in the first round.

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