Southern Illinois was on the verge of producing that rarity, a sequel as good as the original. Last March, seeded 11th, it upset Texas Tech and Georgia and advanced to the Round of 16. Now, in the final seconds of their opening-round game Thursday at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, the again 11th-seeded Salukis were tied, 71-71, with sixth-seeded Missouri.
But when the buzzer sounded, the story was not a rerun as Missouri pulled out a 72-71 win.
All day the Salukis had stood up to the bigger Tigers. But when Saluki forward Jermaine Dearman jumped in front of driving Tiger guard Rickey Paulding, he was called for blocking.
"I felt I held my ground. I assumed it was a charge," Dearman said.
"To be honest, I thought we'd get the charge. Or a no call," Southern Illinois Coach Bruce Weber said.
He thought wrong. Paulding made the second of his two free throws for the final margin.
After pushing the ball to half court, the Salukis called time out with only 1.5 seconds remaining. Guard Kent Williams got free off a screen, accepted the in-bounds pass from Brad Korn and offered up a 22-footer over Tiger guard Ricky Clemons.
But his shot hit the front of the rim, and with that the sequel flopped.
It looked good for the Salukis earlier in the game. With five minutes remaining, they clung to a six-point lead.
Dearman (17 points) and Williams (16) had driven them to it, but Missouri switched to a zone defense, shut out the Salukis for a crucial three minutes and went up by five.
Southern Illinois guard Stetson Hairston (12 points) made a three-point shot to steady his team, and that made that rarity, that successful sequel, a possibility.
And, Weber finally said, "I really thought Kent would make that shot at the end, but it didn't go down. If that goes down, we're celebrating, not crying."
Marquette 72, Holy Cross 68 -- Travis Diener's career game put third-seeded Marquette in the second round for the first time in seven years.
Diener scored a career-high 29 points and Dwyane Wade had 15 at Indianapolis, leading the Golden Eagles over the Crusaders, who haven't won an NCAA tournament game since 1953.
Holy Cross (26-5), seeded 14th, has a history of close first-round games against favored opponents. The Crusaders lost to Kentucky in 2001 by four points and to Kansas last year by 11.
Diener, a 6-foot-1 guard who scored 17 points in the first half, gave Marquette (24-5) the lead for good when he made a three-pointer with 4:30 remaining.
Wisconsin's stifling defense gets most of the credit for the team's success this season, and the Badgers held the Wildcats (26-6) in check until the final minutes.
But it was sharp shooting that got Wisconsin (23-7) out to a quick start. The Badgers shot 57% to take a 15-point halftime lead and finished at 53%.
Mike Wilkinson added 15 points and Devin Harris had 14 for the Badgers.
Slobodan Ocokoljic, a transfer from Ohio State, led Weber State with 26 points and 14 rebounds.