The biggest story from the first half of Thursdayâs bracket action is the baffling way Northwestern wound up winning its first NCAA Tournament game in program history.
The Wildcats, the Westâs No. 8 seed, beat No. 9 Vanderbilt 68-66 after Vandy junior Matthew Fisher-Davis didnât account for time and score, and fouled Northwesternâs Bryant McIntosh.
Northwestern was in the double-bonus, so McIntosh went to the line, made both free throws, and Northwestern took the lead. This came after Vandy stormed back from a late deficit to grab the lead. This was the best game of the afternoon session, and the way it ended will be remembered for a long time in Nashville and Evanston -- and points beyond.
A stunning play. You almost never see this. How can you not feel a little sick for Fisher-Davis? He immediately realized he made a mistake.
Matthew Fisher-Davis accidentally committed an intentional foul that cost Vandy the game. pic.twitter.com/nQVp9T444E— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) March 16, 2017
Vanderbilt failed to get a good shot on the ensuing play, a way-too-long 3-pointer by Riley LaChance. Vanderbilt lost its bearings in the final 15 seconds. The foul by Fisher-Davis was inexplicable, and the 3-point prayer by LaChance prevented the Commodores from getting a better shot closer to the rim.
A terrific game was blemished at the end by two bad plays. Ironically, this comes from a team coached by Bryce Drew, who hit one of the most beautifully executed buzzer-beaters in tournament history 19 years ago.
Amid all of this, former NBA coach and analyst Doug Collins was turning a shade of purple in the stands, watching his son Chris make program history as Northwesternâs coach.