The UMBC Retrievers provided the sports world with the upset of a lifetime, shocking the number one overall seed Virginia Cavaliers 74-54 on Friday night. They become the first sixteen seed to ever defeat a one seed in the NCAA tournament. As a 22.5 point favorite at tipoff, no one could have imagined this result. It’s one thing for a sixteen seed to beat a one seed. A 16 seed winning by 20 over the top ranked team in America, that is incredible.
Virginia’s season comes to a shocking and disappointing end, while UMBC moves on to play Kansas State. Three factors contributed to the biggest upset in college basketball history, Incredible Shooting as a team, a unforgettable performance by Jarius Lyles, and a dominant second half by the Retrievers.
Lights Out Shooting
UMBC shot the ball at an extremely high rate, shooting 54% from the field and an outstanding 50% from deep. This contributed to multiple runs during the game where UMBC was not missing, meanwhile Virginia could not get anything to fall. Virginia failed to comeback, their percentage from beyond the arc is a major reason. 4-22 as a team is not what you need to come back. Four UMBC starters scored in double figures, each shooting at least 50%. Guy and Jerome led UVA in scoring with 15 each, when two players score 55% of your points, it usually means the offense struggles to find chemistry. Overall UMBC was much more relaxed, UVA seemed stressed throughout and could not execute basic plays.
Jarius Lyles Had a Game to Remember
UMBC guard Jarius Lyles left his mark on not just this game, but on NCAA Tournament history. He finished leading all scorers with 28 points and shot incredible from all aspects. He shot 82% from the field (9/11) , 75% from three (¾), and 78% from the line (7/9). The last 17 minutes he took over the game, scoring 23 points and building an insurmountable lead for UVA. This is more impressive considering his struggles in the first half, committing turnovers and missing shot after shot. The game was tied at 19 at halftime, and immediately when the second half begun he took over and controlled the game.
The Retrievers Fetched the Upset in the Second Half
As soon as the second half begun, UMBC began a historic run of dominance to ensure the greatest upset in recent memory. After a tightly contested first half, the Retrievers dominated the entire half with 53 points against the top defense in the country. The lockdown defense created turnovers and missed shot after missed shot. Virginia only made 12 shots the entire second half, multiple of these baskets were quick layups at the end of the game.
Devon Hall, starting guard for Virginia made 1/6 shots in the second half. UMBC was effective in finding the right shot. A total of 16 assists as a team allowed multiple players to contribute to the lead. UVA struggled to move the ball around only recording five assists, and towards the end of the game heaved up desperate three point attempts to come back. UMBC dominated this game, and with how well they played deserve this monumental upset.