Aaron Craft Hits The Biggest Shot Of The Tournament; James Harden Beats The Spurs

By: 03.25.13
Aaron Craft

Aaron Craft (design. Kevin Dearth)

Sometimes an early test is all a top seed needs to get themselves going in March Madness (think Tyus Edney for UCLA in ’95). Ohio State had theirs yesterday against Iowa State, and are still alive because they have one of the best leaders in college basketball … Opinions vary on Aaron Craft‘s NBA potential — ask scouts to map it out and the results will probably look like a polygraph test. But he used his jump shot to beat No. 10 Iowa State yesterday, swishing a three-pointer with half a second left to win it for the No. 2 Buckeyes, 78-75. It capped a wild final 10 minutes for Ohio State’s point guard. He missed a bunch of free throws (including multiple front ends of one-and-ones), a few layups and shots in the lane, and even dribbled out of bounds off his leg once. Craft also drew a charge call that took away a huge three-point play from Iowa State. You could argue that ultimately decided the game, especially after replays showed the refs forgot their contact lenses for this one. Not only was his foot hovering along the restricted area’s line, but Craft (18 points, six assists) came over after the offensive player had already jumped into the air. Once again — for maybe the 52nd time — the charge call sucks, especially if we are rewarding defenders for undercutting offensive players. Just get rid of it …The game had more than 15 lead changes, but the Cyclones had erased a 13-point deficit and were poised to steal this one if it had been allowed to go into overtime … With around two minutes left in No. 1 Indiana’s 58-52 survival against No. 9 Temple, and with the Owls up two, Christian Watford made what was probably a game-saving play by snatching Anthony Lee‘s cookies from behind right at the rim. The block resulted in two freebies on the other end from Cody Zeller (15 points, six rebounds) to tie it at 52. Despite ending the game on a 10-0 run, Indiana didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and Temple was even worse in crunch time. First there was that block from Watford. Then Khalif Wyatt (31 points, scoring 20 of his team’s first 24 points) missed a wide open three-ball. Then, Temple came up with all air on their last shot attempt. That’s all Victor Oladipo (16 points, eight boards) needed to drive the knife in, canning a triple from the top of the arc to basically end it … What’s up with Tom Crean stealing Steve Nash‘s haircut? Actually wait. It’s the other way around. And doesn’t Indiana’s Will Sheehey look exactly like Joey from Friends? … After rolling through the first 20 minutes half dead, Kansas started the second half of their 12-point win over UNC on a 33-10 run. Jeff Withey (16 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks) started attacking the rim with the wrath of God, and Travis Releford (22 points, eight boards) was pulling all types of stuff out of his ass: three-point plays off the bounce, spin moves, finishing fast breaks through contact with the ball on his hip. Even though Ben McLemore shot worse (0-for-9) than a blind guy, the Jayhawks bludgeoned North Carolina repeatedly in the second half … Florida is now 20-0 this year when they score 70-plus points, beating No. 11 Minnesota, 78-64 last night. Mike Rosario dropped 25 points, and Florida damn near shot the nets off (just under 57 percent for the game) … They’ll be taking on the boys from Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles pounded San Diego State during the second half of their 10-point W, becoming the first-ever No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16. Bernard Thompson, aka the next Harold Arceneaux, led all scorers with 23 … Tyrone Garland (17 points) dropped a bucket in the lane to lift No. 13 La Salle to the Sweet 16, 76-74 over Ole Miss and Marshall Henderson (15 three-pointers attempted) … Rion Brown (21 points) and Miami just got past Illinois, 63-59 … And Duke moved past Creighton with a 66-50 win … Hit page 2 to hear about who was repeatedly getting called fat in the NBA last night …

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