(14) Northwestern St 64

(26-7, 15-1 Southland)

(3) Iowa 63

(25-9, 11-5 Big Ten)

    12:25 PM ET, March 17, 2006

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

    1 2 T
    #14NWST 24 4064
    #3IOWA 28 3563

    Top Performers

    Northwestern St: L. Rogers 11 Pts, 3 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Iowa: A. Haluska 20 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast

    Wallace, NW St. stun Iowa on last-second 3

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Jermaine Wallace might've had the worst view of the swish seen 'round the nation.

    Stuck in the corner with time running out, all Wallace could do was heave, hope and watch.

    As he fell below the baseline, his fadeaway 3-pointer was good with a split second left and little Northwestern State pulled off a shocker, rallying past Iowa 64-63 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    "I actually saw it go in through the back of the glass," Wallace said. "I can't believe this."

    Neither could the third-seeded Hawkeyes.

    Down by 17 with 8½ minutes left, the 14th-seeded Demons from Natchitoches, La., stormed back to knock off the Big Ten tournament champions with swarming defense and clutch shooting.

    "I'd like to say I had it all drawn up, but we were just trying to get the guys in the game who could create havoc on defense and score on offense," said Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy, who shuffled 11 players on and off the court.

    Hawkeyes star Greg Brunner made one of two foul shots with 14.6 seconds left for a 63-61 lead. The Demons came down court, missed a shot and Wallace corralled the rebound.

    Wallace turned and, as he falling out of bounds, scored with five-tenths of a second left.

    "I chased it down and looked at the clock," he said. "I knew I had chance for one or two dribbles, so I shot it and fell."

    After Wallace made the shot that will be replayed for years, he tore off his jersey -- a la Brandi Chastain -- as his teammates hollered and hugged all over the court.

    Under the net where Wallace's shot cleanly fell, Brunner was on his back with his jersey pulled over his face.

    "A senior shouldn't miss that shot, but I did," Brunner said.

    The Demons (26-7) will face West Virginia in the second round of the Atlanta regional on Sunday.

    Iowa (25-9) finished No. 15 in the final regular-season rankings, and will spend the next weeks and perhaps months wondering if coach Steve Alford -- a former Indiana star -- will leave to replace the resigning Mike Davis and lead the Hoosiers.

    Shortly after the Hawkeyes' second straight first-round exit, Alford was asked if he will be Iowa's coach next season.

    "We're two minutes after the game," he responded. "My focus and concern hasn't changed. We've gone 7-3 during this stretch [since the rumors started]. These kids have been extremely focused, and my concern is to try to lead them."

    Northwestern State went into the game cocky because of previous results against schools from major conferences.

    The Southland Conference champs won at Mississippi State and Oklahoma State and beat Oregon State on a neutral court during the regular season. They also were competitive in losses to NCAA Tournament teams Wichita State, Texas A&M and Utah State.

    They were confident despite being in the NCAA Tournament for just the second time. In 2001, the Demons won a play-in game to get into the field of 64.

    It was an all-too familiar feeling for Alford, who lost a 3-14 matchup in the NCAA Tournament while playing for Indiana against Cleveland State in 1986.

    Alford claimed he didn't remember much about that game as a player, but he won't be able to forget this one as a coach.

    In the NCAA Tournament last year, the 10th-seeded Hawkeyes lost to Cincinnati in the first round.

    Northwestern State trailed 18-4, rallied, then fell behind 54-37 before coming back again.

    Fittingly, in the home of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, a player with a Ben Wallace-like Afro brought the Demons back.

    Clifton Lee made four 3-pointers and a long jumper to pull Northwestern State within three twice, then Jermaine Spencer scored in the lane to make it 60-59 with 1:03 left.

    Brunner made the first free throws and after a timeout, the 70-percent free throw shooter missed the second to make it possible for Wallace to become a star for the day.

    Demon Kerwin Forges missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession with about six seconds left and Wallace prevented the bouncing ball from going out of bounds, pivoted and sank the game-winning shot.

    "The guy made a great play," said Adam Haluska, who contested the shot and landed on Wallace after he fell out of bounds. "We should've come up with the loose ball, but we knew this was a team that wasn't going to go away."

    The Demons won six games during the regular season after trailing by double digits.

    "We had good leads in both halves and we couldn't complete either half," Alford said. "It came down to our inability to keep them off the off glass and the turnover-assist ratio."

    Northwestern State grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, created 19 turnovers and gave up just 10 assists.

    Lee finished with 18 points, Luke Rogers had 11 and Wallace added 10.

    Haluska scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half, Brunner had all of his 16 after halftime and Jeff Horner scored 11.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 64 63
    FG Made-Attempted 23-60 (.383) 18-41 (.439)
    3P Made-Attempted 9-23 (.391) 6-18 (.333)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-14 (.643) 21-26 (.808)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 17


    » Mar 17, 2006 NWST 64, @IOWA 63Recap