(CNN) March Madness has built a reputation for delivering incredible shocks, and college hoops fans haven’t had to wait long for disruptions in this year’s men’s tournament.
On Thursday, the fourth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers faced the 13th-seeded Furman Paladins — their first March Madness appearance in 43 years — in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Many expected a walkover for the Cavs and the Paladins trailed for most of the meeting and Virginia extended their lead by 12 points at the halfway mark.
The Paladins struggled their way back into the game, thanks to some good work on the defensive end to make the clutch awkward for Virginia.
With Virginia two and less than 10 seconds on the clock, the Paladins forced a steal in midfield, Garrett Hien grabbed a lazy pass and drove ahead.
Hein found JP Pegues, who appeared to be the coolest guy on the field as he straightened his shoulders and then buried the winning three to give the Paladins a one-point lead.
With 2.4 seconds left on the clock, Virginia was supposed to fire, but missed a desperation signal at the buzzer.
Guard some massive revelers as the Paladins stormed the field, before the team danced and sprayed water on themselves in the locker room.
After the win, Pegues gave insight into how he felt before his decisive clutch shot.
“When I saw it go into the hands of Garrett Hien, I thought: I want the ball. I feel like these are the moments I’ve been creating all my life, and I feel like I was made for it” Pegues said.
“So as soon as I got the ball and I saw the shot attempt I had, I knew all I could do at that point was just get up and shoot. I did.”
Furman head coach Bob Richey added, “What a day to be a paladin.”
Cavs coach Tony Bennett described his team’s defeat as “tough”.
“You know, this game is — interesting might be the word I’d use. You feel like we got it, we got it, and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, it changes at the end.”
Furman will play No. 5 San Diego State on Saturday.