One simple movement by Jordan Crawford spelled doom for Xavier toward the end of the Musketeers' 101-96 double-overtime loss to Kansas State on Thursday night.
The sophomore guard who carried his team all evening could barely stand as he walked to his huddle for a timeout. When he got back onto the court, his wind was no better. In a phrase, Xavier ran out of gas.
In what may have been the best game in an NCAA Tournament full of thrilling finishes, the Musketeers put a huge scare into the Wildcats for 50 minutes with miracle shot after miracle shot. In the final minute, before a packed house at EnergySolutions Arena, Xavier finally ran out of miracles in the last 60 seconds.
Down 99-96, Dante' Jackson missed what could've been the tying 3-pointer. And when Denis Clemente hit two foul shots to stretch the lead to five points, the Wildcats and their fan base finally exhaled.
"This was two teams that didn't want their season to end," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "We were able to overcome our mistakes, and most of all we were able to overcome some of the shots they hit."
Immediately following the game, Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen called the game "a shootout." Indeed it was.
Terrell Holloway pushed the game into overtime with three free throws with five seconds left in regulation when the Wildcats tried to intentionally foul and Holloway alertly attempted a shot.
In overtime, again down by three, Jordan Crawford sent the game into another extra session with a deep 3-pointer that drew nothing but net.
Crawford was again spectacular, scoring a game-high 32 points, hitting 3s and breaking Kansas State down off the dribble almost at will. Holloway was almost as good with 26 points, scoring in bunches driving to the basket.
"It seemed as if every time we thought the game was over, they hit another shot," Pullen said.
In each overtime, Kansas State had the superior depth, and it finally took its toll on Xavier as the game wore on. In the second extra session, the shots that were previously going in came up short.
And when time came for another miracle for Xavier, it wasn't meant to be.
Jordan Crawford scores a game-high 32 points.
Terrell Holloway scores 26 points and passes for six assists.
Dante' Jackson misses the potential game-tying 3-pointer in the second overtime.