Texas A&M makes improbable comeback to beat Northern Iowa in 2OT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Alex Caruso scored 25 points as Texas A&M overcame a 10-point deficit with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation to come back for a 92-88 double overtime victory over Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.
The win puts the third-seeded Aggies (28-8) in the Sweet 16 for the third time in school history, the first since 2007.
Danuel House scored all 22 of his points in the second half and overtime, while Jalen Jones finished with 16 for Texas A&M -- which has now won 10 of its last 11 games.
Jeremy Morgan had career highs of 36 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Panthers (23-13), who led 69-59 in the final minute of regulation before committing four turnovers in the final 29 seconds to spark the Aggies comeback.
Texas A&M's spot in next week's Sweet 16 against Oklahoma looked all but impossible when it trailed 69-59 with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
However, Admon Gilder's steal and layup with 1.9 seconds remaining tied the game at 71-71 for the Aggies -- capping a remarkable last-minute comeback.
House then scored the first eight points of the first overtime for Texas A&M, while Caruso sent the game to a second extra period with his drive and layup with 5.9 seconds remaining to tie the game at 83-83.
In the second overtime, the Aggies led by as many as four points before House finally made the comeback stick with a free throw with 12.6 seconds remaining to give Texas A&M a 92-88 lead.
Klint Carlson scored 17 points to match his career high for Northern Iowa, which was seeking only the second Sweet 16 appearance in school history, while Paul Jesperson had 11 points and Wes Washpun 10 assists.
The Aggies trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half, and their postseason appeared ready to come to an end when Northern Iowa went up 69-57 after two free throws by Morgan with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.
However, with Northern Iowa's Matt Bohannon, the team's main inbounds passer, on the bench with a left knee injury, the Aggies forced the Panthers into several late turnovers. They included one with just seconds remaining by Washpun, who tried to throw the ball off Gilder but instead threw it to the Aggies guard -- who scored with 1.9 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Texas A&M struggled for much of the game against the Panthers, who advanced to the second round with a buzzer-beating halfcourt winner over Texas by Paul Jesperson.
The Aggies shot 22.2 percent (6 of 27) in the first half, including an 0-of-9 effort by House, but they found the right touch when the needed it in the closing minute.
Northern Iowa: Morgan's previous career high for points was 21 against Missouri State on Feb. 10, while his previous best rebounding effort was 10 against Dubuque last November.
Texas A&M: Caruso was 10 of 20 from the field for the Aggies, who recovered from their slow start to shoot 62.1 percent (18 of 29) in the second half and 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) in the overtimes.
Texas A&M faces second-seeded Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 next week.