TROY CAUPAIN banged a layup off the rim with 61 seconds left, and his Cincinnati teammates told him to shake it off. The sophomore guard listened, then more than made up for his miss.
Caupain got Cincinnati to overtime with his buzzer-beating layup, then Coreontae DeBerry helped the eighth-seeded Bearcats beat Purdue, 66-65, last night in their opening game in the NCAA Tournament in Louisville, Ky.
The Bearcats trailed by seven with 48.5 seconds left in regulation and forced overtime with a 10-3 run. Caupain's driving layup banked off the glass, rolled around and hit the glass again, staying on the back rim for a moment before falling through. That sent the Bearcats celebrating while officials reviewed the play to make sure Caupain beat the buzzer.
Caupain crouched underneath the basket briefly to watch the ball fall, then waited for officials to rule he beat the buzzer.
"Once it was rolling around the rim, I stopped, I bent down a little bit, I looked up, and once it fell in the rim and the buzzer went off, I just smiled," Caupain said.
DeBerry scored four of his 13 points in overtime, helping Cincinnati take a lead it wouldn't lose again. The Bearcats outscored Purdue 7-6 in the extra time. Associate head coach Larry Davis credited the Bearcats for refusing to lose and building up Caupain after his missed layup.
"When you've got a team full of guys like that who pull for each other, you've got a chance," Davis said. "You've got a chance. I couldn't be prouder of the group."
In another game at Louisville,
* kentucky vs. hampton
* Notre Dame was rocked on its heels one more time in March, a team with designs on playing another weekend or two staring straight into the grim prospect of one more early exit.
The Irish held on, though, because they could hold on to the ball.
Zach Auguste scored 25 points, Jerian Grant added 17 and Notre Dame dodged a scare trying to erase its futile NCAA Tournament history with a 69-65 win over Northeastern.
The Fighting Irish (30-5) play Butler tomorrow.
"I told them in the locker room, we weren't going to beat them by 15," coach Mike Brey said. "So don't anybody walk out of here feeling we should have won by 15."
* Kellen Dunham scored 20 points, including a pivotal three-pointer with 1:18 to play, to lift sixth-seeded Butler to a 56-48 victory over 11th-seeded Texas.
The Bulldogs (23-10) advanced to play third-seeded Notre Dame tomorrow. The Longhorns (20-14) added to a miserable day for the vaunted Big 12. Texas joined Baylor and Iowa State, both No. 3 seeds, as early tournament exits after struggling all afternoon to find any rhythm, a microcosm of another disappointing season.
"We just fight and grind them out," Butler forward Kameron Woods said. "We knew it was going to be a grind and that's what we tried to make this game."