They got here out of nowhere, the Florida Atlantic Owls. No NCAA Event wins in class historical past. Their final 20-win season got here in 2010-11, underneath former St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis.
No one noticed them coming, all season or Saturday evening.
Kansas State and Markquis Nowell, the diminutive guard from Harlem, had been the headliners.
The Wildcats led by seven, and appeared prepared to tug away.
Nondescript Florida Atlantic and coach Dusty Could had different plans on this magical season.
They took over the Backyard down the stretch, simply as they’d the opposite evening in opposition to Tennessee, making all the large performs to e book a surprising journey to the Ultimate 4 in Houston subsequent weekend.
The ninth-seeded Owls will play for a spot within the nationwide championship subsequent Saturday after taking down No. 3 Kansas State, 79-76.
Florida Atlantic ripped off a 15-1 run, turning a six-point deficit into an eight-point lead, then held on when Ismael Massoud couldn’t get off a possible game-tying 3-pointer on the horn.
The balanced Owls had been led by Alijah Martin’s 17 factors and Bryan Greenlee’s 16. Seven-foot Russian Vladislav Goldin was a two-way drive, notching 14 factors and 13 rebounds, and keying Florida Atlantic’s 22-rebound edge on the glass.
Nowell was heroic in defeat, notching 30 factors and 12 assists.