Top Highlights from Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament
There are few more exciting days on the sports landscape than the first weekend of March Madness.
The third day of the 2013 NCAA tournament (and first major day) featured plenty of big-time moments in the round of 64. Two No. 12 seeds from the Pac-12 pulled first-round upsets, and No. 1 Gonzaga almost lost right away.
In addition, there were a number of impressive individual plays that highlighted this jam-packed day of college hoops.
Here are the top moments from Thursday's games.
Vander Blue Game-Winner
Game: No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 Davidson
For 39 minutes, it seemed like Marquette was going to fall victim to No. 14 seed Davidson in the round of 64.
The Golden Eagles were down seven with about a minute-and-a-half left, but the team started hitting threes to get back in the game.
After a Davidson turnover, Vander Blue took the ball with six seconds left. He drove it all the way to the basket, finishing with his left hand with only one second remaining.
Blue then sealed the win with a steal to send Marquette to the next round.
D.J. Stephens Throws It Down
Game: No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 11 Saint Mary's
Memphis was not always comfortable in its game against Saint Mary's, but the Tigers ended up surviving with a 54-52 win.
D.J. Stephens helped out early on with a couple of huge dunks, none bigger than this alley-oop at the end of the first half.
The athletic wing got his head near the rim on this finish, and it sent a message to the Gaels heading into halftime.
Pangos Saves the Day with a Huge Three
Game: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Southern
Southern came dangerously close to being the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 in the NCAA tournament.
If not for Kevin Pangos, the Jaguars might have been able to finish off Gonzaga. The sophomore guard had the ball with a one-point lead and under two minutes remaining.
As time clicked down on the shot clock, Pangos hit a step-back three to give the Bulldogs a 62-58 lead. This effectively ended the game, with the only other points coming on two more free throws by the guard as he sealed the win.
Oregon with a Quick Trip Down the Court
Game: No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Oregon
Oklahoma State simply was not ready for Oregon on Thursday. The Pac-12 representative came out quick and held the lead throughout the game, winning 68-55.
It was hard to tell which team was the No. 12 seed and which was the No. 5.
No play better exemplified this performance than this dunk by Carlos Emory in the first half. After a made field goal by OK State, the Ducks exploded up the court and quickly scored on a monster dunk by Emory.
The Ducks were by far the better team on the court, and this play was a big example of that.
Stephan Van Treese with the Put-Back Slam
Game: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T
Unlike Gonzaga, Louisville had very little trouble with its opening game.
The Cardinals showed off their offense with 47 points in the first half, and they impressed defensively by allowing only 17 points in the second.
One of the bigger plays was this put-back slam by Stephan Van Treese. The junior rarely gets his name called, averaging only 1.8 points per game for the Cards, but this play was certainly impressive.
Tekele Cotton Steal and Dunk
Game: No. 8 Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Wichita State
There was not a lot of shooting involved in this game between Pittsburgh and Wichita State. The teams combined to go 3-of-37 from behind the arc.
Fortunately for Tekele Cotton, he had a pretty easy look at the basket after stealing the ball and throwing it down hard on a fast break.
Wichita State surprised many with the 73-55 win over Pitt, and it was these types of defensive plays that allowed the Shockers to get the win.
Dellavedova Misses the Game-Winner
Game: No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 11 Saint Mary's
This was not exactly a highlight, but it was one of the most exciting moments of the second round.
Saint Mary's trailed by five points with 14 seconds left after a Memphis free throw. However, a banked three-pointer by Eividas Petrulis made it a two-point game.
After a Memphis turnover, the Gaels had one shot to win the game with only seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, Matthew Dellavedova missed the potential game-winner, and Memphis now advances to face Michigan State in the next round.
Syracuse Shows Its Athleticism
Game: No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Montana
Montana was actually a popular upset pick heading into the NCAA tournament based on the team's ability to shoot the three.
Boy, did that seem like a bad decision.
Syracuse absolutely destroyed the Grizzlies, winning by a final score of 81-34. The No. 13 seed could not score inside or outside, and defending the Orange was near impossible.
This big alley-oop from Michael Carter-Williams to Rakeem Christmas showed the difference between the two teams and why this was such a big blowout.
Harvard Pulls off the Upset
Game: No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Harvard
The biggest upset of the day was undoubtedly No. 14 Harvard taking out the No. 3-seeded New Mexico Lobos. While some might not have respect for the Mountain West, even less respect is usually given to the Ivy League.
Still, Harvard proved doubters wrong thanks mostly to 8-of-18 shooting from three-point range, including 5-of-9 from Laurent Rivard.
Like most of his shots, this three was pure and in rhythm. The shot with just over six minutes left gave the Crimson the lead at 55-53.
While the rest of the game was close, New Mexico never led again after this shot.
Reddic Sends a Message with a Slam
Game: No. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 Akron
With the way VCU plays defense, any team is likely to struggle. The fact that Akron was without its starting point guard was just a recipe for disaster.
This second-round game was even worse than people could have imagined, with the Rams winning by a score of 88-42.
One huge play was this alley-oop from Briante Weber to Juvonte Reddic. Anyone who says that mid-major teams do not have the athleticism to compete with the big boys was proven wrong on this play.