Memphis nearly escaped with a win on Friday night, which would have given Penny Hardaway and the Tigers a very direct path to the Sweet 16.
But after a missed attempt by Memphis as time expired, Florida Atlantic was given one last chance – and it capitalized.
Nicholas Boyd, after catching an inbound pass in the corner with 5.5 seconds to play, drove to the basket and made the game-winning layup in the final seconds to give No. 9 FAU a 66–65 nationwide victory over No. 8 Memphis. Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
It marked FAU’s first NCAA tournament win and sent the Owls to the second round, where they would face Fairleigh Dickinson with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off the second upset of its kind in tournament history by defeating No. 1 Purdue on Friday.
Boyd’s final lay-up was set up only after a chaotic sequence that almost certainly should have resulted in a Memphis timeout. The Tigers again poked the ball on a free after turning the ball over at midcourt in the final seconds. Tigers guard Jaden Hardaway then dove on him in the scramble and several Tigers players called for a timeout.
However, the officers did not see the call. He called the jump ball instead.
As the review was not eligible, and the Owls had the possession arrow, they turned the ball over with the final 5.5 seconds left on the clock. This resulted in Boyd’s final sortie, and ultimately gave him the victory.
Big Hardaway was not happy.
“It was a crazy game from start to finish,” Hardaway said. Via The Sporting News’ Bill Bender, “Giving up a lap for the win hurts more. … We needed one stop, and we couldn’t get that one stop.”
Giancarlo Rosado led FAU with 15 points off the bench, and Jonelle Davis added 12 points and five rebounds. Boyd added eight points, and his final layup was his third made field goal of the night.
Kendrick Davis led Memphis with 16 points in the loss. DeAndre Williams added 13 points and 13 rebounds. They were the only two Tigers players to score in double figures.
The Tigers haven’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2014, and only last year ended a seven-year tournament dry spell. If they had swept past FAU, the road to the second weekend of the tournament would probably have been the smoothest – given FDU’s incredible upset over the Boilermakers.
Instead, FAU would have this opportunity in only the second tournament in school history.