UMBC was the talk of this year’s NCAA Tournament over the weekend when the Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to ever beat a No. 1 seed in a tournament game, dominating Virginia in a 74-54 first-round win Friday night.
On Sunday night, UMBC’s tournament run came to an end when Kansas State beat the Retrievers in a 50-43 game dominated by defense.
A Utahn helped the Wildcats advance. Makol Mawien, a West Valley City native who prepped at Granger High and spent a redshirt season at the University of Utah in 2015-16 before transferring, had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in Kansas State’s win over UMBC.
Mawien came up with three key plays down the stretch to help the Wildcats fend off the Retrievers.
Kansas State went into the final two minutes leading 44-41, and UMBC had the chance to cut into the lead after a Wildcat turnover. Mawien, though, blocked a jumper from UMBC’s Jairus Lyles with 1:41 to play and came up with the rebound. That led to a Kansas State score on a Xavier Sneed jumper 30 seconds later that made it a 46-41 game.
After a missed 3-pointer from Lyles, Mawien broke away from the defense as UMBC tried to prevent the Wildcats from advancing the ball. Following a long pass that crossed midcourt, teammate Kamau Stokes found Mawien for a slam dunk and a 48-41 lead with 42.1 seconds to play.
Mawien then came up with another block on Lyles with 19 seconds remaining, helping slam the door on the Retrievers’ comeback hopes.
“It was all just hustle. We really just had to lock down on defense and force stops. They are a great offensive team. They chopped the lead down and we had to get it back to getting more stops and stop them from scoring,” Mawien said in the postgame press conference.
Sunday’s effort extended what has been Mawien’s best stretch of the season. While the sophomore is averaging 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season, he’s enjoyed some of his best performances of the year in the past five games.
In the Wildcats’ five games in March, Mawien has scored in double figures four times, led by 29 points in Kansas State’s 83-67 loss to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament semifinals. Prior to that, he had scored in double figures only six other times this year.
During this stretch, Mawien has shot 69 percent from the field and averaged 5.2 rebounds per game. He’s also blocked multiple shots in each of the past four games.
Up next for Mawien and Kansas State is a Thursday night matchup against Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
The Alex Smith trade
The Washington Post shared an in-depth look at how the Washington Redskins put together a deal to bring Alex Smith, a former standout quarterback at Utah, to the Redskins in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
While news of the agreed-to trade started circulating in reports on Jan. 30, it didn’t become official until the NFL’s new league year began last week.
Doug Williams, Washington’s senior vice president of player personnel, received a text message from Redskins president Bruce Allen on that late January night with simple instructions, according to the Post.
“Don’t answer your phone. See you in the morning,” it said. The next day, Allen laid out that the franchise had agreed to bring Smith to Washington.
See the full story here.
And finally ...
USA Track and Field shared video of a pair of impressive record-breaking performances at this weekend's USATF Masters Indoor Championships.
In the 60-meter men's race, 100-year-old Orville Rogers set the record in the 100-plus age group with a time of 19.13 seconds.
On the women's side in the 60m, 102-year-old Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins also set a record in the 100-plus age group with a time of 24.79 seconds.