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Furman Stunned Virginia In The Opening Round Of The NCAA Tournament On A Last-Second JP Pegues Three

The 2023 NCAA Tournament provides memorable moments each and every year. The first haymaker arrived quickly during Thursday’s first window of opening round games, and it happened in Orlando with a mid-major upsetting a major-conference program with a recent national championship. With 11 minutes remaining, the No. 13 seed Furman Paladins trailed the No. 4 seed Virginia Cavaliers by 12 points and appeared to be going quietly into the night.

However, the Paladins began slowly chipping away at the deficit, eventually taking the lead with a 19-4 run. That set up an instant classic moment in the final seconds with the help of a crucial turnover by Virginia. After Furman climbed within 67-65 on free throws with 12 seconds left, Virginia inbounded and needed simply to take care of the ball and convert free throws. That did not happen, however, as senior guard Kihei Clark launched an ill-advised pass over the middle of the floor and the fireworks transpired from there.

Garrett Hien snatched the steal near mid-court and quickly flipped a pass to sophomore guard JP Pegues, who calmly buried what became the game-winning three-pointer. Virginia did have a chance, after a timeout, to potentially steal the win back, but a heave went begging and Furman emerged with an absolutely wild win.

Virginia is known as the only program to lose in the first round as a No. 1 seed, though this is not that kind of upset. If anything, Furman was a trendy upset pick in bracket pools and the Paladins closed as only 5.5-point underdogs in the betting market. Still, this is the kind of late-game magic that fans of the NCAA Tournament live for, and it was a combination of a brutal turnover by the favorite and a heroic shot by a player in Pegues that will now be remembered forever in and around Furman’s campus in Greenville, South Carolina.