Lower seeds had plenty to say on the opening day of the 2021 NCAA men's tournament, starting with the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.
The Big Ten led all conferences with nine teams selected for the NCAA men's tournament in 2021. By the end of day one, plus a round of First Four games, conference representation was down to six, including the slaying of higher-ranked seeds.
Oral Roberts (17-10) got the party started early on Friday. The 15th-seed Golden Eagles shocked the South region's 2nd-seed Ohio State Buckeyes 75-72 in overtime for their first win in the NCAA tourney since 1974.
The Golden Eagles led from the get-go, racing out to a 7-0 lead and carrying a 36-33 lead into halftime.
Ohio State (21-10) battled back and was able to take the lead heading into the game's final minutes. It looked like the Buckeyes were going to stave off the upset-bid but Oral Roberts refused to go away, ultimately tying the game at 64 by knocking down two free throws with 14.9 seconds left.
The Buckeyes had a contested look that didn't go and the teams marched to overtime.
Oral Roberts took control early in overtime and this time was able to stem the tide on an Ohio State comeback. Trailing 72-69, Ohio State had a chance to cut into the lead but star Duane Washington Jr. missed two free throws. This forced the Buckeyes into fouling and the Golden Eagles connected on just enough to pick up the victory.
The nation's leading scorer Max Abmas had 29 points for Oral Roberts, connecting on five of the team's 11 three-pointers. Kevin Obanor led the way for the Golden Eagles with 30 points and 11 rebounds.
E.J. Liddell led Ohio State with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists, but also had some key turnovers down the stretch. Washington finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Buckeyes held a +15 advantage on the boards.
Ohio State was 5-23 from three-point range.
Oral Roberts victory was the ninth time a no. 15 seed has knocked off a no. 2 seed in the men's NCAA tournament.
The game was also one of three overtime games played on the day, including another upset in the South region.
North Texas finds glass slipper
Overtime basketball has clearly not been the friend of the Big Ten here in the first handful of games. The no. 4 seed Purdue Boilermakers (18-10) were the latest to find this out.
The recipient of the upset-victory was 13-seed North Texas (18-9), as the Mean Green picked up their first-ever NCAA tournament win with a 78-69 victory.
North Texas led most of the way, leading by eight points at halftime. Purdue clawed their way back, almost willing themselves to get back into the game.
Tied at 61 with 21.3 seconds left, the Mean Green had a chance to win the game in regulation. After nearly throwing the ball away, North Texas had a decent look that simply didn't fall.
It was no matter, though, as North Texas controlled overtime with swagger that turned into success. Purdue also missed their first nine field goal attempts in the extra period, helping put a dagger in their hopes.
Four players scored in double figures for the Mean Green. Javion Hamlet was a force all over the court, leading the way with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists. Mardrez McBride and Thomas Bell added 16 apiece.
Jaden Ivey scored 26 points for the Boilermakers and Trevion Williams added 14 points and collected 13 rebounds.
12-seed over 5-seed magic
Nahiem Alleyne had 28 points for the Hokies, scoring 14 straight at one point at the end of regulation and overtime.