Comets Advance to NCAA Playoffs’ Sweet 16 Round for 2nd Year in a Row After Dramatic Win at Home
Mar. 6, 2010
UT Dallas squeezed out a 63-62 win over Wheaton College on Saturday to earn a trip to the sectional “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA championship basketball playoffs for the second-straight year.
The Comets put the winning point on the board when Jordan Eppink sank a jump shot with 6 seconds remaining. It was the fourth nail-biter this season that the Comets have won in the waning moments.
“We have great kids with a whole lot of heart,” said UT Dallas coach Terry Butterfield. “They find ways to get things done. You only want kids like these. They’re the best.”
The team will face off with UW-Stevens Point next weekend at a venue yet to be determined.
Last year, UT Dallas made it all the way to the Elite Eight round in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Guilford College in overtime.
On Saturday, UT Dallas came back from a nine-point deficit midway through the first half to win.
Eppink’s winning bucket was not only a monumental one for the team—it signified his 1,000th career point.
“I’m not going to lie—what was going through my head was ‘998 points,’ ” said Eppink. “I’m not going out on 998. That was going through my head at that point.”
Chris Barnes led all UT Dallas scorers with 14 points, Scott Rodgers pitched in 12, and Jared Fleming, who drilled two crucial three-point shots in the second half, added 11. Curtis Davis and Eppink each finished with 10 points.
The Comets had all the momentum on their side in the second half In front of a home crowd of 996.
“We’ve never, in my 10 years, have seen a crowd like that. It’s always been a dream of mine to see a crowd like that,” said Butterfield. “To see the enthusiasm that they brought — we might have not been able to (win) without them.”