The Texas A&M Aggies defeated Northern Iowa 92-88 in double overtime to make the Sweet 16. That sentence indicates some of the drama from Oklahoma City—double OT!—but really, it comes nowhere close.
Texas A&M did the near-impossible:
ICYMI, Texas A&M's rally from 12 down w/less than 1:00 to play is the largest last-minute deficit overcome to win in college hoops history.— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) March 21, 2016
That's from the NCAA's Director of Media Coordination/Statistics. He confirmed that the previous record was 11, and that comeback also needed overtime to come through like A&M's did. And the Aggies even spotted the clock 15 seconds as the comeback from 12 down didn't begin until there were just 44.3 seconds to go.
To begin, Alex Caruso took an inbounds pass the length of the court, started to set up a play, and then just took a turnaround three pointer. It didn't go through, but Admon Gilder got the offensive board and put it back in. The lead came down to ten.
The Aggies would knock it out of bounds a couple seconds later, leading to a UNI inbound from the corner on their side. A long inbound pass to the sideline near midcourt went awry, allowing Gilder to steal it. He passed it to Danuel House for an easy layup. Now the lead was just eight.
On the ensuing inbound, A&M trapped Paul Jesperson near the baseline. He attempted to throw it off an Aggie to carom it out of bounds, but he missed. The ball bounced right to Jalen Jones, who slammed it home. The lead shrank to six.
UNI turned it over again, giving Texas A&M a chance to inbound it under the Panthers' hoop. Caruso found House open behind the three point line, and House drilled the shot to cut the UNI lead to just three.
At this point, Northern Iowa finally did the sensible thing and threw it over the top of the A&M secondary. Jespersen found a streaking Klint Carlson on a seam route, and Carlson dunked it to push the lead back out to five.
Coming off of the basket, Gilder inbounded it to Caruso. Caruso took it the length of the court and laid it in, drawing a foul in the process. He would make the free throw to cut the lead to just two.
On the inbound pass, Texas A&M trapped a Panther by the baseline again. Wes Washpun made the same mistake that Jesperson did earlier in trying to throw it off an Aggie and missing. Gilder gladly took it and made a layup to finally tie the game with 1.9 seconds to go.
A UNI desperation heave missed for once, and the game went to overtime.
Late in the first overtime, Caruso made a driving floater to tie the game at 83 with just under six seconds to go. Jesperson attempted a half court heave from about the same distance where he buried Texas, but he missed off the backboard with time left. That allowed Caruso to try a three-quarters court shot from A&M's own free throw line that grazed the net.
It was tight throughout the second overtime despite UNI being visibly tired and down a couple of players who had fouled out. TAMU wasn't able to put it away decisively because it kept missing free throws, but a House free throw with 12 ticks left sealed it by extending the lead to the final four point margin.
Caruso led the way for the Aggies with 25 points, while House had 22 and Jones put in 16. UNI's Jeremy Morgan led all scorers with 36, and he had 12 rebounds to go with them.
Texas A&M is the lone SEC team in the Sweet 16, and it will get to play its old Big 12 foe 2-seed Oklahoma in the next round. The Sooners barely squeaked by VCU in their own close Second Round game, but it was nothing like this from A&M and UNI. Enjoy this one while you can, because you're probably not going to see something like it again.