Comets Fight Their Way into the NCAA ‘Elite Eight’
UT Dallas Advances in Playoffs After Winning 'Sweet 16' Game in Ohio
March 14, 2009
UT Dallas outgunned 13th-ranked Capital University 71-63 on Friday to advance to the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament.
The win sent the Comets on to meet Guilford College at 6 p.m. (CT) Saturday in University Heights, Ohio. The winner of that game advances to the Final Four Tournament next weekend.
UT Dallas couldn’t stop the Capital offense in the first half but held the Crusaders to just 40 percent shooting after halftime. The Comets forced 22 turnovers, the Crusaders’ most this season.
“Our kids are scrappy,” Coach Terry Butterfield said after the final buzzer. “They have the biggest heart of any group I’ve ever been around.”
Despite a tough crowd — Capital University is just 140 miles from the John Carroll University campus, where the game was played — the UT Dallas cheerleaders helped Comets’ players and 200 or so fans even things up.
“About 50 very rowdy guys who showed up for the second game early sat right behind our cheerleaders and adopted UT Dallas with total devotion to our cheers,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel, who made the trip to watch the game. “They started chanting ‘It’s all over’ with about one minute left.”
The game featured 13 lead changes, but the Comets came up with the most important swing in the game’s final 5:55. After seeing a five-point advantage (64-59) dwindle down to a one-point edge (64-63) with 3:31 left, the Comets scored the game’s final 8 points to ice the win.
The Comets got double-figure scoring from four players, led by Brandon Greene and Jimmy Witten with 15 each.