SAN DIEGO _ College basketball's bigwigs probably never expected an upset when they seeded Kent State 13th and sent it across the country to take on mighty Indiana in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
The Golden Flashes recorded their first-ever NCAA tourney triumph in the most shocking of styles, by coming from 12 points down in the second half to upset the Big Ten powerhouse Hoosiers 77-73 at San Diego State University's Cox Arena on Thursday.
Kent State (24-9), which also registered its school-record 24th victory of the season, will now battle Cincinnati (24-9) in the second round Saturday at 5:38 p.m. in San Diego for a berth in the infamous 'Sweet 16.'
"This is a big win for our program and the Mid-American Conference," said Flashes junior guard Trevor Huffman, who poured in a team-high 24 points. "It's also big for the people who have supported us. Hopefully, we earned some respect. Now we just want to keep taking care of business and see how far we can go."
The Flashes, making just their second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, have taken a business-like approach to this entire trip. The celebration following their stunning victory over the Hoosiers was surprisingly subdued.
"We told ourselves that we weren't going to get all crazy and jump around like other teams do," said senior forward Kyrem Massey. "We just shook hands and walked off the floor. I actually thought I'd feel better than I do after the game. It just feels like another win, something we've grown accustomed to. We don't even consider it an upset."
Kent State coach Gary Waters was more surprised to see his team pull out the victory than his players.
"Players say things, and they don't even understand what they're really saying," said Waters. "That's a Big Ten team we just beat, with a guy inside in Kirk Haston who's going to be a pro. This was an upset."
The loss left mighty Indiana in shambles.
Players did everything but call each other quitters in the locker room afterward, while interim head coach Mike Davis must be wondering whether he'll have a job with the Hoosiers next year despite guiding the club to a solid fourth-place finish in the Big Ten.
All because of a bunch of no-names from Kent State.
"This is not coach's fault. Coach can't get out there and play," said Indiana freshman Jared Jeffries. "It was up to us to execute and finish the game out, and we didn't do that."
The Flashes don't believe they're finished quite yet.
"We came here to win two games," said Massey. "We still have work to do."
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