KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Josh Hall converted an offensive rebound for the tiebreaking basket with 9.1 seconds left as Nevada erased a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes of a stunning 75-73 victory over Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
Nevada’s stirring comeback — the second-largest in tournament history — came just two days after the seventh-seeded Wolf Pack rallied from 14 points down to beat Texas 87-83 for its first NCAA victory since 2007.
The Wolf Pack (28-7) move on to an all-upstart South Region semifinal matchup with 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago (30-5) on Thursday night.
“Nothing feels better than this,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “Nothing. Sweet 16!”
Cincinnati, the No. 2 seed, never trailed until Hall’s tiebreaking basket but watched its lead disintegrate as it failed to make a basket in the final 5:45.
With the game tied in the closing seconds, Hall got a rebound off a missed shot by Cody Martin. Hall made a move in the paint and then hit the winning basket.
Cincinnati (31-5) never got off a shot before the buzzer. Cane Broome briefly lost control of the ball and then passed to the area of Gary Clark as the final seconds ticked away.
As the horn sounded, a stunned Clark lay on his back under the basket while Nevada’s Jordan Caroline slid toward midcourt as part of a wild celebration.
Cody Martin had 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds and no turnovers to lead five Nevada players in double figures. Evans had 19 and Jarron Cumberland had 17 for Cincinnati.
Nevada: Consider the Wolf Pack comeback kings. Nevada has trailed at halftime in five straight games and is still in the Sweet 16.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats had a 44-33 rebounding edge and outscored Nevada 20-9 in second-chance points but allowed Nevada to get the rebound that decided the game.
Nevada is on to Atlanta.
Cincinnati has a long offseason ahead as it wonders how it let this game slip away.