PORTLAND, Ore. — Four years after hitting rock bottom, Indiana is making noise again in the NCAA Tournament.
Will Sheehey made a 15-footer from the baseline with 12.7 seconds left after a shot was blocked right to him, and the fourth-seeded Hoosiers rallied to beat 12th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University 63-61 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
“All college basketball teams work really hard,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “But these guys have had to come from a long way, a long way, and I’m proud of them.”
Rob Brandenberg got a great look at a potential winning 3-pointer but it rimmed off at the buzzer, ending Shaka Smart’s bid to coach the Rams to another surprising March run.
Indiana advanced to the round of 16 for the first time in a decade and just four years after Crean inherited a decimated program.
The Hoosiers trailed by as many as nine in the second half and were down 59-53 with six minutes remaining before closing with a 10-2 run, limiting VCU to one basket by Darius Theus with 2:23 to go.
Christian Watford and Cody Zeller had 16 points apiece for Indiana (27-8). Zeller also stepped up down the stretch, including his first field goal since midway through the first half with 2:55 remaining. He added two free throws that set up Victor Oladipo’s driving three-point play with 46.5 seconds left that tied it at 61.
Then it was time for Sheehey’s big shot. After Bradford Burgess missed a pair of free throws for VCU, Oladipo grabbed the rebound and raced the length of the court. He was blocked by Theus, but the loose ball bounced right to Sheehey, who knocked down the open shot for his only points of the second half.
Burgess led VCU (29-7) with 15 points, but he had just three in the second half.
BAYLOR 80, COLORADO 63
In Albuquerque, N.M., Brady Heslip made nine 3-pointers and finished with 27 points to lift Baylor over Colorado in the South Regional.
Heslip, a transfer from Boston College who grew up in Canada, helped break open a tight game with a pair of 3-pointers that were part of a 14-0 run and gave the third-seeded Bears (29-7) a 75-60 lead.
Baylor made the regional finals for the second time in three years under coach Scott Drew. The Bears will play the winner of today’s game between Xavier and Lehigh.
Pierre Jackson had 13 points and 10 assists for Baylor.
Freshman Askia Booker had 15 points for 11th-seeded Colorado (24-12), which saw its winning streak in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament end at five.