No. Iowa shocks top seed Jayhawks
By JOHN MARSHALL
OKLAHOMA CITY — Leading by one against the colossus of the bracket, Ali Farokhmanesh stood at the 3-point line, no one around. The prudent play? Pull it out, burn some clock.
Not a chance.
Taking his shot at history, Farokhmanesh let fly from the wing.
The biggest upset in a tournament full of them was done. Northern Iowa had taken down mighty Kansas.
Playing with poise down the stretch and getting a huge 3-pointer from Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa pulled off one of the biggest NCAA upsets in years by knocking off No. 1 overall seed Kansas with a program-defining 69-67 win yesterday.
"If anybody's going to shoot that shot, I want it to be Ali," Northern Iowa's Jake Koch said.
Winning the tempo tug-of-war, ninth-seeded Northern Iowa (30-4) grounded the high-flying Jayhawks with in-their-jersey defense, then withstood a furious rally to become the first team to beat a No. 1 seed in the second round since UAB and Alabama did it to Kentucky and Stanford in 2004.
With Kansas charging and its fans roaring, Farokhmanesh, the fearless son of an Iranian Olympic volleyball player, caught the ball on the wing after the Panthers had broken Kansas' press. The shot clock still in the 30s, he hesitated, then cast his shot with 34 seconds left on the game clock.
Trailing 66-62, Kansas had one last chance, but Tyrel Reed was called for an offensive foul and Farokhmanesh sealed it with two free throws with 5 seconds left, sending the Panthers to the round of 16 for the first time.
Next up is the Michigan State-Maryland winner in St. Louis.
"This team has done such a great job of turning the page to what's next, and this would be the biggest challenge of the year," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "A lot of positive things have happened because of the way these guys played."
Kansas (33-3) trailed by as many as 12 and used defense to pull within one with 44 seconds left. But they let Farokhmanesh, who finished with four 3-pointers and 16 points, sneak behind it for the deciding 3.
"There were some things that happened during the game that I felt like wasn't poor play by us, more so Northern Iowa making plays," Kansas coach Bill Self said.