In a upset in the first round thats all us watchers need to say "Let the Madness being."The little team from the Big Apple was every bit as good as
Led by 26 points from hotshot guard Luis Flores, 12th-seeded Manhattan defeated fifth-seeded Florida 75-60 in the first round of the NCAA tournament
Thursday -- an "upset" that really wasn't much of an upset at all.
"I know America's going to look at it as an upset, but behind closed doors we don't," Manhattan forward Dave Holmes said. "We know we can play with
any team on any night."
Barely beaten in the first round last year by eventual champion Syracuse, Manhattan (25-5) won its first tournament game since defeating Oklahoma in
1995. The Jaspers advanced to play Wake Forest, a 79-78 winner over Virginia Commonwealth, in the second round of the East Rutherford Regional.
Manhattan's domination started with Flores.
Creating, shooting and scoring from everywhere on the floor, the generously listed 6-foot senior showed why he's the nation's third-leading scorer.
With the Jaspers ahead 38-35 early in the second half, he sandwiched two 3-pointers around a sweet, pull-up 16-footer to push the lead to double
digits. The first 3 came right after a timeout, on a defensive breakdown by Florida that left Flores wide open.
"I don't know how something like that can happen," Donovan said.
Florida tried to get back in it, but when Matt Walsh got called for an intentional foul -- a questionable call on a hard shot on Mike Konovelchick in
which Walsh actually blocked the layup attempt -- the Jaspers started an 11-4 run to put the game away. It was capped by Flores' beautiful spin move
on the baseline that left him open for a 15-foot jumper he made.
Flores was hardly Manhattan's only star. Peter Mulligan finished with 17 points and Holmes had 12 points and 12 rebounds. That pair of undersized
forwards easily dominated the inside matchup Florida thought it could win.
Florida's best inside player, David Lee, was barely a factor with seven points. The Gators tried to work inside to 6-9 Adrian Moss, but he went
The picture of Florida's futility was best told during Flores' hot streak early in the second half: Walsh shot an airball on an open 3-pointer, Moss
shot an airball from the post and on Florida's next possession, Moss got called for a charge after driving his shoulder into the defender.
Walsh finished with 13 points for the Gators. Anthony Roberson led them with 22 points, but most came after the game was out of reach and Donovan's
team was guaranteed of falling to 2-4 in the tournament over the last four seasons.