Northern Iowa was so close to heading to the Sweet Sixteen that Kurt Warner was celebrating in the stands. The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champions led by 12 points with 44 seconds left in regulation, but couldn't hold on to the lead against the pressing Texas A&M Aggies and lost 92-88 in double overtime.
UNI's trigger man Matt Bohannon was on the bench with a left leg injury, and the Panthers struggled getting the ball in bounds, yielding four turnovers in the final 34 seconds of the game. The contest was tied at 71 and the teams went into overtime.
Alex Caruso scored a career high 25 points to lead the Aggies, but it was Danuel House -- shut out for nearly 35 minutes of the game -- who was the offensive hero down the stretch. House scored 22 points in the final five minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of overtime.
Jeremy Morgan had a career game of his own. The junior forward led Northern Iowa with 36 points as Panthers Wes Washpun and Paul Jesperson fouled out during the extra sessions. Klint Carlson scored 17 points including one stretch where he scored 10 straight for his team. In Washpun's final game in a Panther uniform he scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out 10 assists.
But it was the collapse in the final moments of regulation that will be remembered from this game. Without the injured Bohannon in the game, the Panthers looked lost and couldn't get the ball across half court.
Morgan scored six points in the first overtime and all five Northern Iowa points in the second, as he became the only weapon in coach Ben Jacobson's arsenal. House scored eight in the first overtime for Texas A&M.
Northern Iowa finish the season with a record of 23-13 and great depression from the huge let down. Had they held the lead they would have returned to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the historic 2010 run.
Texas A&M will meet a familiar foe from their Big 12 days in their Sweet Sixteen game, 2-seed Oklahoma.