By Craig Clary, email@example.com
1:35 PM EDT, March 14, 2012
Brent Arrington made history Tuesday night when he became the first Lansdowne High graduate to play in the NCAA basketball tournament.
Unfortunately, he also made history with Mississippi Valley State (21-13) as they unraveled and lost to Western Kentucky, 59-58, when they coughed up a 16-point lead in the final five minutes.
It was the largest deficit a team has ever overcome in the final five minutes of an NCAA tournament game.
Arrington, a freshman, was a major factor in helping the Delta Devils build the huge lead in the first 35 minutes.
He had a game-high seven steals to go along with seven points, four rebounds and two assists.
His defensive hustle all over the floor disrupted the offensive flow of the Hilltoppers (16-18) and created his own scoring opportunities, but, he only converted 1 of 8 free throws in the second half.
Arrington's jumper made it 51-37 with 5:23 remaining and teammate Cor-J Cox scored a basket with 5:06 left and the Delta Devils had their largest lead of the game, 53-37.
But Arrington fouled out after the Hilltoppers had cut that lead in half with 3:37 left in the game and his defensive presence was sorely missed.
His dream of playing top-seeded Kentucky in the second round ended when the Hilltoppers outscored the Delta Devils 14-5 down the stretch — with Arrington on the bench.
Arrington concluded his season averaging 6.8 points per game.
He scored 12 points in the 71-69 win over Texas Southern in the Southwest Athletic Conference championship game that earned the Delta Devils an automatic bid to the tournament.
His three three-pointers in that contest were the most since he made six treys in a 33-point outburst Nov. 20 in a 101-75 loss to the University of North Carolina, the top seed in the Midwest region.
Although Arrington's NCAA tournament experience has ended, March Madness continues for a trio of stars from the Baltimore Catholic League.
Former Mount St. Joseph star Henry Sims is a starter for third-seeded Georgetown (23-8), which drew 14th-seeded Belmont (27-7) in the Midwest bracket Friday, March 16 at 3:10 p.m.
The 6-foot-10 center led the Hoyas in assists (3.5 per game) and was second in rebounding (6.2) and third in scoring (11.7).
Another St. Joe alum, sophomore Eric Atkins, will be the starting point guard for Notre Dame (22-11) when the Irish open as the seventh seed in the South Region against 10th-seeded Xavier (21-12) on Friday, March 16 at 9:45 p.m.
Atkins led the Irish in assists (4.9) and tied for the team lead in steals (1.3), while averaging 12.2 points a game.
Cardinal Gibbons product Dylon Cormier leads 15th-seeded Loyola University Maryland (24-8) against second-seeded Ohio State (27-7) in the East region Thursday at 9:45 p.m.
Cormier was the second-leading scorer for the Greyhounds (13.4 points per game) and led the squad in steals (1.6).
Loyola is making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since losing to Arizona in the first round of the 1994 tournament, 81-55.