The junior guard scored 19 of his team-high 23 points in the second half, helping No. 13 seed Kent overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half for a 77-73 victory last night in an NCAA West Regional first-round game. Kent State will face Cincinnati tomorrow in the second round.
In the final five minutes, Huffman - whose uncle, Shoes Huffman, played on the 1979 NCAA championship team at Michigan State - made a pair of critical and unlikely shots as the Golden Flashes (24-9) ran past the Hoosiers (21-13).
Afterward, Huffman said Indiana's "guards know how to push you into their big men; from that standpoint, it's a lot different than the MAC," referring to the Mid-American Conference. But "quickness-wise, that belonged to us."
So he drove among Indiana's big men and threw in a shot high off the glass to give his team a 67-66 lead with 3:22 left. Then, with only one second left on the shot clock after his airball, he took the inbounds pass at the right wing and put up an off-balance three-pointer that went in to give Kent State a 70-66 lead with 2:31 left.
"He made some shots that normally never happen," said Indiana's interim coach, Mike Davis. "There were some spectacular plays by him down the stretch."
"Outstanding," said Kirk Haston, who had 29 points and nine rebounds for Indiana. "That sums it up pretty well."
It was too much to recover from for Indiana, a team playing for its interim coach, but also a team that fell victim to foul trouble, turnovers and bad shooting in the second half.
After making 18 of its first 32 shots (62.5 percent) on the way to a 48-36 lead with 17:51 remaining, the Hoosiers went cold, making only eight of their final 23 field-goal attempts.
Starter Tom Coverdale played most of the game with an injured hip and eventually fouled out, and key players Jared Jefferies and Dane Fife spent most of the second half in foul trouble. And Haston, who led both teams with 29 points and nine rebounds, was less of a factor after he left the game to tend to an ankle injury with 14 minutes left.
Nor did the team help itself with 10 second-half turnovers, erasing the good work that led to a 42-34 halftime lead.
After a 12-2 run over three minutes, and four more minutes of subtle chipping, the Golden Flashes had tied the game, and Davis - who replaced Bob Knight before the season - was a little closer to finding out if he would get the Indiana job.
"I don't know," he said when he was asked what his chances were of keeping the job. "They said they were waiting until the season is over. It's over."
St. Joseph's 66, Georgia Tech 62: Georgia Tech forward Jon Babul said it wasn't much, just a few harsh words.
But in a first-round NCAA tournament game, not much turned into a 17-point deficit against a motivated St. Joseph's team that hung on to win.
St. Joseph's (26-6) got a game-high 21 points from its star guard, Marvin O'Connor, and eight assists from another guard, Jameer Nelson, to move into the second round against top-seeded Stanford. The Hawks also answered what the team thought was a pre-game snub.
During the shoot-around, the Yellow Jackets (17-13) invaded more of the Hawks' space than the Hawks wanted. St. Joseph's players complained, and words were exchanged, few of them complimentary toward St. Joseph's, or its conference, the Atlantic 10.
"I heard a lot about the ACC," O'Connor said, referring to Georgia Tech's conference. "We took that personally, because [they] don't think the Atlantic 10 exists. We're human, too."
Babul said "it wasn't a big deal," but the incident induced a 15-0 Hawks run, led by Damien Reid and Bill Phillips, ending with a 26-10 lead at 5:55 of the first half.
After Georgia Tech brought St. Joseph's lead to under 10 points, O'Connor sparked a 10-2 run that sent the Hawks to a 41-24 halftime lead.
"We played the first half and had 16 field goals and 14 assists, and I thought our shot selection was good," said St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, who also saw his defense keep Georgia Tech's star center, Alvin Jones, from getting a field-goal attempt until the second half and allowed the Yellow Jackets to hit only three of their 18 three-point attempts for the game.
Georgia Tech, which had 12 first-half turnovers, gained ground by taking care of the ball and getting it inside to Jones, who finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.
"For us to win a game and shoot ... 29 percent in the second half is very significant," Martelli said. "It was just about a group of kids that probably weren't ready to have their uniforms collected."
Stanford 89, UNC-Greensboro 60: The perfect game never came for UNC-Greensboro. As the No. 16 seed in the West, the Spartans looked for flawless execution as their savior against Stanford.
Instead, the Cardinal (29-2) ran UNC-Greensboro (19-12) out of the gym early during a win that was taken for granted by most observers. Stanford shot 54 percent in the first half, forced 13 turnovers and got 20 first-half points from center Jason Collins.
Collins, who finished with 25 points and eight rebounds, said he was unconcerned by the margin of victory. But Casey Jacobsen, who had 14 points in limited action, appreciated how it allowed nine Stanford players to score during the rout.
"It helps to win by 30," he said. "We don't have to have guys playing 40 minutes. We were able to have a lot of guys get in the game, which, when you look at the big picture, really helps."
Cincinnati 84, BYU 59: Steve Logan scored 21 points and fifth-seeded Cincinnati opened the second half with a 19-4 run to beat Brigham Young.
It was the Bearcats' seventh straight first-round win and gave coach Bob Huggins his 300th victory in 12 seasons at Cincinnati. It also set up an all-Ohio second-round game against Kent State.
These Bearcats (24-9) are Huggins' youngest and least-experienced, starting three juniors and two sophomores, but they toyed with the Cougars (24-9) in the second half.
Leading just 35-30 at halftime, the Bearcats came out and hit five three-point shots in the first eight minutes, three by Logan, the Conference USA Player of the Year. They ran the lead to 54-34 on a dunk by Donald Little with 13:41 to play.
BYU's Mekeli Wesley scored a game-high 25 points.
Kenny Satterfield scored 14 for Cincinnati and Antwan Jones and B. J. Grove had 11 each.
Terrell Lyday and Trent Whiting each scored 12 for BYU, which was in the NCAAs for the first time since 1995 after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.