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Men’s NCAA tournament Final Four field is set after San Diego State, Miami victories

<i>Jamie Rhodes/USA Today/Reuters</i><br/>San Diego State Aztecs guard Lamont Butler #5 drives to the basket during the second half against Creighton Bluejays forward Arthur Kaluma #24 at KFC YUM! Center.
Jamie Rhodes/USA Today/Reuters
San Diego State Aztecs guard Lamont Butler #5 drives to the basket during the second half against Creighton Bluejays forward Arthur Kaluma #24 at KFC YUM! Center.

By Homero De la Fuente, CNN

For the first time since 1970, there will be three schools making their first Final Four appearances at the men’s NCAA Tournament following victories by No. 5 seed San Diego State University and No. 5 seed Miami on Sunday.

San Diego State University clinched the program’s first-ever Final Four appearance with a closely contested 57-56 victory against No. 6 seed Creighton at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

With the game tied at 56, Bluejays guard Ryan Nembhard was called for a foul on Aztecs guard Darrion Trammell with 1.2 seconds left in the game. Replays showed Nembhard’s left hand on Trammell’s right hip as he jumped up for the shot attempt.

Trammell would be awarded two free throws, missing the first but making the second to give the Aztecs the lead.

“The moment it wasn’t too big for me to do everything I’ve been through,” Trammell said in the postgame news conference. “I feel like the opportunity was just set there for me. It was God’s timing and I just had to believe in that and just having that confidence that, yeah, I missed the first one but I definitely wasn’t going to miss the second one.”

Nembhard addressed the foul call in the postgame news conference, saying, “It’s a tough feeling. We worked so hard all year and it comes down to a play like that. I don’t know I think we could’ve done a little bit more to make it a game that didn’t have to go down to that but it’s a tough way to lose.”

SDSU will play against No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic in Houston, Texas on Saturday, April 1, in a battle of two first-time Final Four contestants.

Meanwhile, the No. 5 seed Miami mounted a second-half comeback to defeat No. 2 seeded Texas 88-81 to advance to the program’s first-ever Final Four in NCAA tournament history.

The Longhorns held a 13-point lead with under 15 minutes left in the game, before the Hurricanes broke off on a 12-2 run to even the game up at 72. After exchanging several buckets, the Hurricanes closed out the game on a 9-2 run in the final minute to close out the victory.

Miami guard Jordan Miller led the way with 27 points, going 7-7 from the field and 13-13 from the free throw line.

“No one wanted to go home,” Miller said to the CBS broadcast on the team’s come from behind victory. “We came together, we stuck together, we showed really good perseverance and the will, the will to just win and get there.”

The Hurricanes will play against No. 4 seed UConn in Houston, Texas on Saturday, April 1.

This year’s men’s NCAA tournament is the first time since seeding began in 1979 no team ranked better than No. 4 has reached the Final Four.

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