March Madness is here, and Day 1 of the 2013 NCAA tournament did not disappoint with two fantastic First Four games.
The early action saw North Carolina A&T cling tight to a one-point lead in the final seconds of its game against Liberty. The 73-72 victory was the first tournament win in school history for the Aggies, and it has earned them a date with top-seeded Louisville on Thursday.
Saint Mary's took care of Middle Tennessee State behind a 22-point performance from star point guard Matthew Dellavedova, and it will move on to play No. 6 seed Memphis.
Now here are the best moments from both games.
North Carolina A&T 73, Liberty 72
While the Aggies and Flames generated their fair share of excitement during the game, the North Carolina A&T mascot got the crowd going right away. Count CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello and USA Today's Nicole Auerbach among its fans:
Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello
NC A&T mascot easily ranks among my favorites in all of college basketball. Gets after it.2013-3-20 00:23:18
Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach
I wish all mascots could dance like this. #MarchMadness https://t.co/z5ndu7Zqim2013-3-19 23:12:49
Now on to the basketball game. There was an fantastic display of three-point shooting in the contest, with a total of 18 made long-range shots from the two teams.
But Liberty's Davon Marshall was the premier sharpshooter in this game. Watch him break the school's single-season record for three-pointers, which was previously held by Seth Curry:
The Aggies found an unexpected star in Jeremy Underwood, who exploded for 19 points off the bench. He was averaging just 6.1 points heading into the game, but you wouldn't know that by the moves displayed here:
The game featured several twists and turns, and just when the Flames appeared to be extinguished, John Caleb Sanders brought them back. Here is one of his four three-pointers in the game, and this one came at an ideal time:
But ultimately, Sanders fell one basket short of leading his team to victory. CBSSports.com provided a video of the nerve-wracking final seconds of this contest.
CBS Sports @CBSSports
#MarchMadness VIDEO: Liberty comes up just short in final seconds of 73-72 loss to NC A&T - http://t.co/k1dbZSGDRU (via @MarchMadness)2013-3-20 01:01:58
St. Mary's 67, Middle Tennessee State 54
All eyes were on Saint Mary's point guard Matthew Dellavedova, as the senior was easily the biggest star in action Tuesday night. He wasted little time making an impact with this steal to give the Gaels an early lead:
NCAA March Madness @marchmadness
St. Mary's picks off a pass for the go ahead score in the first half. - http://t.co/WcPdkSXHO32013-3-20 01:49:15
Dellavedova continued to put his stamp on the game by pushing the pace following another Middle Tennessee turnover and setting up teammate Brad Waldow for this highlight, again courtesy of NCAA March Madness. The point guard's play had Steve Kerr singing his praises, according to Turner Sports PR:
Kerr on #Gaels' Dellavedova: “He just finds a way. It doesn’t always look pretty but...he’s skilled enough to get the job done.” #FirstFour2013-3-20 02:41:04
NCAA March Madness @marchmadness
St. Mary's with a huge alley-oop nearing the end of the first half. - http://t.co/bUek28p1DZ2013-3-20 02:10:06
This game was in danger of becoming the Matthew Dellavedova show, but the Blue Raiders hung around and kept the game close thanks to two second-half three-pointers from Kerry Hammonds. Here is the second one from the sharpshooter:
But Dellavedova did not spend much time away from center stage. This three-pointer put him over 20 points for the game and gave the Gaels a 10-point cushion that they rode into the second round to face the Memphis Tigers.
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