Virginia’s Kihi Clark has played 160 games in his illustrious college basketball career, but all that experience hasn’t kept the fifth-year senior point guard from panicking under pressure.
After being trapped at the baseline by two defenders in the final seconds of his team’s opening-round NCAA tournament game against 13th-seeded Furman on Thursday afternoon, Clark didn’t think to call a timeout. Instead he heaved an ill-fated baseball pass downcourt in the direction of teammate Kaidyn Shedrick.
That decision set off a chain reaction that led to ACC co-champion Virginia becoming the first upset victim of this year’s NCAA tournament. Garrett Hien easily intercepted Clarke’s pass near mid-court. Hein then took a dribble and fed to teammate JP Peggs on the right wing. And then Pegues nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left in the game to give Furman a dominating 68–67 win.
Pegues’ shot clinched Furman’s second NCAA tournament victory in program history. The SoCon champion Paladins hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 43 years and hadn’t won a game since 1974
For Virginia, a first-round exit at the hands of a double-digit seed was all too familiar. The Cavaliers suffered a historic loss to UMBC in 2018, becoming the first No. 1 seed to fall behind No. 16. First round in 2021.
Fuhrman’s comeback attempt was jeopardized when Mike Bothwell picked up his fifth foul while trying to defend Kadin Shedrick. Suddenly the Paladins were down six without their leading scorer with 6:25 to play.
Instead of folding, Furman turned to one of his other stars. Jalen Slauson, a 6-foot-7 Swiss Army Knife forward, had a personal 9-0 run, sandwiching a pair of 3-point plays around a traditional 3-pointer.