AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Jermaine Wallace might've had the
worst view of the swish seen 'round the nation.
Stuck in the corner with time running out, all Wallace could do
was heave, hope and watch.
As he fell below the baseline, his fadeaway 3-pointer was good
with a split second left and little Northwestern State pulled off a
shocker, rallying past Iowa 64-63 Friday in the first round of the
"I actually saw it go in through the back of the glass,"
Wallace said. "I can't believe this."
Neither could the third-seeded Hawkeyes.
Down by 17 with 8½ minutes left, the 14th-seeded Demons from
Natchitoches, La., stormed back to knock off the Big Ten tournament
champions with swarming defense and clutch shooting.
"I'd like to say I had it all drawn up, but we were just trying
to get the guys in the game who could create havoc on defense and
score on offense," said Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy,
who shuffled 11 players on and off the court.
Hawkeyes star Greg Brunner made one of two foul shots with 14.6
seconds left for a 63-61 lead. The Demons came down court, missed a
shot and Wallace corralled the rebound.
Wallace turned and, as he falling out of bounds, scored with
five-tenths of a second left.
"I chased it down and looked at the clock," he said. "I knew
I had chance for one or two dribbles, so I shot it and fell."
After Wallace made the shot that will be replayed for years, he
tore off his jersey -- a la Brandi Chastain -- as his teammates
hollered and hugged all over the court.
Under the net where Wallace's shot cleanly fell, Brunner was on
his back with his jersey pulled over his face.
"A senior shouldn't miss that shot, but I did," Brunner said.
The Demons (26-7) will face West Virginia in the second round of
the Atlanta regional on Sunday.
Iowa (25-9) finished No. 15 in the final regular-season
rankings, and will spend the next weeks and perhaps months
wondering if coach Steve Alford -- a former Indiana star -- will
leave to replace the resigning Mike Davis and lead the Hoosiers.
Shortly after the Hawkeyes' second straight first-round exit,
Alford was asked if he will be Iowa's coach next season.
"We're two minutes after the game," he responded. "My focus
and concern hasn't changed. We've gone 7-3 during this stretch
[since the rumors started]. These kids have been extremely focused,
and my concern is to try to lead them."
Northwestern State went into the game cocky because of previous
results against schools from major conferences.
The Southland Conference champs won at Mississippi State and
Oklahoma State and beat Oregon State on a neutral court during the
regular season. They also were competitive in losses to NCAA
Tournament teams Wichita State, Texas A&M and Utah State.
They were confident despite being in the NCAA Tournament for
just the second time. In 2001, the Demons won a play-in game to get
into the field of 64.
It was an all-too familiar feeling for Alford, who lost a 3-14
matchup in the NCAA Tournament while playing for Indiana against
Cleveland State in 1986.
Alford claimed he didn't remember much about that game as a
player, but he won't be able to forget this one as a coach.
In the NCAA Tournament last year, the 10th-seeded Hawkeyes lost
to Cincinnati in the first round.
Northwestern State trailed 18-4, rallied, then fell behind 54-37
before coming back again.
Fittingly, in the home of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, a player
with a Ben Wallace-like Afro brought the Demons back.
Brunner made the first free throws and after a timeout, the
70-percent free throw shooter missed the second to make it possible
for Wallace to become a star for the day.
Demon Kerwin Forges missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession
with about six seconds left and Wallace prevented the bouncing ball
from going out of bounds, pivoted and sank the game-winning shot.
"The guy made a great play," said Adam Haluska, who contested
the shot and landed on Wallace after he fell out of bounds. "We
should've come up with the loose ball, but we knew this was a team
that wasn't going to go away."
The Demons won six games during the regular season after
trailing by double digits.
"We had good leads in both halves and we couldn't complete
either half," Alford said. "It came down to our inability to keep
them off the off glass and the turnover-assist ratio."
Northwestern State grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, created 19
turnovers and gave up just 10 assists.
Lee finished with 18 points, Luke Rogers had 11 and Wallace
Haluska scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half, Brunner
had all of his 16 after halftime and Jeff Horner scored 11.