Move over, Chaminade

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UMBC stuns Virginia to become first 16 seed to knock off a No. 1

By STEVE REED, The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jairus Lyles couldn’t suppress a smile, knowing that a school known more for chess than hoops had finally made it happen — a 16 ousting a 1 in March Madness.

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County stunned the sports world by pulling off the most shocking upset in college basketball history, hammering Virginia 74-54 on Friday to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed in the men’s NCAA Tournament.

Then-NAIA school Chaminade’s 77-72 stunner over Ralph Sampson and the top-ranked Cavaliers in 1982 in Honolulu was generally considered the most remarkable upset in college basketball. But that was the regular season.

This came when it mattered the most — in the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 in the regular season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.

But UMBC didn’t just beat the Cavaliers on Friday, it dominated throughout the second half, dismantling the 20 1/2-point favorites by 20 points in the other direction.

In a chaotic UMBC locker room after the game, players shouted: “All brackets gone! No perfect brackets! Put that in the news!”

Lyles scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half and the Retrievers cruised to an easy victory before racing off the floor together in their yellow-and-black uniforms, fingers pointed toward the ceiling.

“These are the moments that you dream of,” Lyles said. “It’s always exciting to make history.”

No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament were 135-0.

“Unbelievable — it’s really all you can say,” said UMBC coach Ryan Odom, son of Maui Jim Maui Invitational chairman Dave Odom.

The Cavaliers couldn’t get anything generated on offense and the nation’s top-ranked defense couldn’t contain the American East Conference champions who won their conference tournament at the buzzer.

The 74 points were the most Virginia had allowed this year — the Cavaliers had allowed just 54.3 points per game this season, the fewest in the nation.

UMBC shot 67.9 percent from the field in the second half and held Virginia to 42 percent after intermission.

“We got thoroughly outplayed and that’s the reality of it,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.

Lyles was the catalyst.

He diced up Virginia’s defense in the second half, getting to the hole easily and making easy layups. He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as UMBC built a 16-point lead.

Arkel Lamer made a 3-pointer from the corner with 3 1/2 minutes left to put UMBC up by 17, then backpedaled down the court with his tongue hanging out. You knew history was coming.

Chants of “UMBC” echoed through the arena.

“We all wanted to be in the ‘One Shining Moment’ video,” said the Retrievers’ Joe Sherburne, who finished with 14 points.

Bennett said the Cavaliers had a historic season and then “a historic loss. That’s life.”