The shoe still fits! Nine-seeded Florida Atlantic’s Cinderella story continues after defeating fourth-seeded Tennessee 62-55 to reach the school’s first Elite Eight appearance.
There is still some magic left for underdogs Florida Atlantic University, who stunned fourth-seeded Tennessee in the Sweet 16.
Guard Johnell Davis led the way for the Owls of Florida Atlantic, grabbing 15 points, six rebounds and one assist to lead all scorers.
FAU and Tennessee shot under 50 percent for the game and under 30 percent from 3-point range.
The Owls will play Kansas State on Saturday with a chance to reach the Final Four.
Michael Forrest fueled an 18-2 run midway through the second half and ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic defeated fourth-seeded Tennessee 62-55 in the East Region semifinals.
Florida Atlantic has reached its first Elite Eight berth in school history with a 62-55 victory
The Volunteers were unable to beat the Owls as they fail to make it to the Elite Eight.
The underdog Owls (34-3), in just their second NCAA Tournament tournament in program history, will face third-seeded Kansas State on Saturday at Madison Square Garden for the right to go to the Final Four.
Johnell Davis led all scorers with 15 points for Florida Atlantic, going 9-for-10 at the free throw line and adding six rebounds. Nick Boyd had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Forrest had eight of his 11 during the streak that turned the tide in the Owls’ favor.
Jonas Aidoo had 10 points and seven rebounds for Tennessee (25-11). Josiah-Jordan James had 10 points and six rebounds, and Uros Plavsic scored his eight points in the first half.
Tennessee led by five at halftime and Santiago Vescovi hit two 3-pointers early in the second half, but the Volunteers couldn’t extend their lead beyond seven points.
Davis started the deciding run with a layup. Forrest made a quick-flick 3-pointer, cutting the deficit to one. After Tennessee fouled, Forrest hit another 3-pointer to make it 43-41, the Owls’ first lead since 3-2.
Forrest took a high shot off the glass as he hit the deck. Aidoo committed three fouls (one offensive) during the stretch, and Florida Atlantic’s Alijah Martin hit an open 3-pointer that caused Tennessee coach Rick Barnes to call timeout. The Owls extended their lead to 51-41 at the end of the streak.
FAU, a school that has never won a tournament game before this year, will join the Elite Eight
Back-to-back buckets brought Tennessee within six, and James drilled a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 55-50 with 3:37 remaining.
With the margin of seven points, Boyd missed a 3-point attempt, Davis had a crucial offensive rebound and was sent to the free throw line with 49 seconds remaining. Davis effectively frozen the game by making both free throws to put the Owls up 61-52.
The Volunteers established an early 17-8 lead. The Owls stayed in the game with an even scoring effort, and Boyd cut it to 27-22 with a 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the half.
The teams combined to miss their final nine shots of the half from there, with Plavsic’s kick failing to beat the buzzer.
After he scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the second round against Duke, Tennessee’s Olivier Nkamhoua was held to six points on 2-of-9 shooting Thursday. The Volunteers shot just 33.3 percent as a team, compared to 42 percent for the Owls.