Wear that Cinderella glass slipper well because you earned it defeating the 18th-ranked team, the 2nd-ranked team, the 10th-ranked team, the 6th-ranked team and the No. 1 team enroute to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship game.
Junior DeJovaun Sawyer-Davis scored 22 points for USF (28-9) and was named the tournament MVP after scoring 114 points in five games. Junior Ferdinand Morales-Soto earned the tournament 'Hustle' award. Sawyer-Davis, Morales-Soto, Qadr Owens and Matt Edmonds were named to the All-Championship team.
Oh yeah, USF coach Jeff Rekeweg was named Rawlings NAIA Coach of the Year.
Edmonds finished with a tournament high for him, 14 rebounds. Owens scored 11 points and Morales-Soto added 10 points and a team-leading seven rebounds.
'Q' scored what proved to be the winning basket with 39 seconds on an incredible sequence where Sawyer-Davis pushed the rebound off the Walsh backboard. Owens corralled the ball and tipped it to Morales-Soto on the right side of the court near mid-court.
"I just took off on the left side yellin' Ferdie, Ferdie, Ferdie, and he turned around and hit me with a good pass, and I just laid it up," and in, Owens recalled. "I didn't even think about what happened or missin'. We didn't want to lose comin' this far."
Morales-Soto had a chance to open up a hair of breathing room with a 1-and-1 free-throw opportunity at 14 seconds, but he left the first shot short. Brandon Speck missed a shot and Sawyer-Davis secured the rebound. With 1.5 seconds left, he missed the front of the bonus opportunity and Austin Leisure fouled the Walsh rebounder. The Cavaliers were not in the bonus, so they took the ball out of bounds. After each team called a timeout, Walsh appeared ready to try the play that got them the game-winning shot on Monday night against Bellevue (Neb.)
"With the good coachin' staff we've got, they recognized what they were gonna do on that last play, and I saw they were gonna try to pass it to Ricky (Jackson), so I left my man, grabbed it with one hand, but lost it as Ricky pulled me down. Matt grabbed it and took off and time expired. I just fell and gave God all the praise. It hasn't sunk in yet."