Top Highlights from Day 4 of the NCAA Tournament
The NCAA tournament needs its own "SportsCenter Top 10." Well, at least a "SportsCenter Top 5."
Unfortunately, while the first Thursday and Friday of the Big Dance are unequivocally the center of the sports world, there are still plenty of other sports going on. ESPN can't completely ignore everything else in its daily highlight package.
If that makes you sad, don't worry. We've got you covered with the five best plays from Friday night's March Madness action.
Honorable Mention: Jamaal Franklin Missed-Dunk, Made-Layup Thing
If he was trying to do this, San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin deserves a lot more love.
Shaquille Thomas Posterizes Grant Gibbs
Apparently, embarrassing Grant Gibbs with an ankle-breaking crossover early on wasn't enough for Cincinnati forward Shaquille Thomas, who was clearly intent on making the Creighton guard's life miserable.
With about 11 minutes to play, Bearcats guard Cashmere Wright, as he tends to do, missed a three-pointer. Nothing out of the ordinary so far.
Then, all of a sudden, in came an unmarked Thomas, flying over Gibbs for a ferocious, two-handed put-back slam.
Poor Grant Gibbs.
Fortunately for Gibbs and the Bluejays, they got the last laugh, knocking off No. 10 Cincinnati, 67-63.
Aaron Craft Does Aaron Craft Things
In the words of ESPN's Myron Medcalf, "Aaron Craft don't care."
The Buckeyes could be playing Louisville, Indiana, Duke, Southern, Northeast Western State Tech U, anyone—it doesn't matter. Craft gives 110 percent on the court, no matter what.
Case in point: Five minutes into Ohio State's battle with No. 15 Iona, the senior guard used his pesky, active hands to poke the ball free towards the sidelined.
Most would let the ball harmlessly roll out of bounds, but Craft went full Superman to not only save the ball, but somehow deliver it right to guard Shannon Scott, who started the fast break and found forward Evan Ravenel for the dunk.
As Craft proved, pure hustle alone can lead to highlight plays.
...And Sam Thompson Does Sam Thompson Things
Then again, having unbelievable leaping ability also leads to highlight plays.
Aptly nicknamed Slammin' Sam Thompson has an unbelievable dunking ability, and Ohio State's up-tempo matchup with Iona played perfectly into the forward's gaudy skill set.
Thompson went off for a career-high 20 points and added 10 rebounds, two assists a steal and a block.
Oh, and about five highlight-reel dunks.
We went with this head-at-the-rim, one-handed, alley-oop throw down, but it was like picking the cutest kitten out of a litter.
Brett Comer Goes off Nate Lubick's Back
America, say hello to Brett Comer.
The Florida Gulf Coast point guard was crucial in the Eagles' monumental 78-68 upset of No. 2 Georgetown on Friday night, filling out the box score to the tune of 12 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
But as we figured out with this one-man inbounds play (sorry, Nate Lubick), he was going to compile those stats with quite a bit of flash.
Florida Gulf Coast's Epic Exclamation Point
Play of the night. Play of the tournament. Play of the world.
No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast led No. 2 Georgetown by seven points with two minutes remaining. The Hoyas were beginning to mount a late comeback, and the Eagles would have been best-served to slow the game down, take the air out of the ball and run some clock.
But that wouldn't have been their style.
In true Ali Farokhmanesh style (as in "No, no, no—OH MY GOD YES!) Brett Comer and Chase Fieler brought the house down.
Comer threw up a lob that seemed destined to be a turnover, but Fieler just kept climbing his invisible ladder, grabbed the ball with one hand and slammed it down to complete a play that had everyone in America screaming uncontrollably at their televisions.