With one clumsy exception, there’s been a dearth of nail-biters so far in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Saturday’s second-round game between No. 3 seed LSU and No. 6 Maryland, though, was exciting enough to shred some cuticles. The Tigers are heading to the Sweet Sixteen thanks to sophomore guard Tremont Waters, whose scooped layup with 1.6 seconds remaining gave LSU the 69-67 win.
The Tigers allowed a 15-point lead to slip away in the second half, which set up a frenetic finale. Skylar Mays’ clutch 3-pointer gave LSU a 67-64 lead in the dying moments, but Maryland struck back when Jalen Smith hit a 3 from the corner.
Smith’s triple set the stage for Waters, and the longtime Slate favorite did not disappoint. While Saturday’s game-winner was unusually dramatic for this year’s March Madness, Waters does this sort of thing multiple times each month.
And by comparison to some of his earlier exploits, Waters’ shot against Maryland also didn’t rate all that high in degree of difficulty. After all, he wasn’t totally parallel to the ground.
Still, this was a layup worth celebrating, and Waters’ teammates gave him an appropriately soggy welcome in the locker room.
LSU will play the winner of Michigan State-Minnesota in the Sweet Sixteen. Waters has until Friday to dry off.