Arkansas-Little Rock, which saw a nine-point lead and upset hopes begin to slip away in the second half, regrouped in the final minutes and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA tournament, defeating Notre Dame, 90-83, before 25,089 at the Metrodome.
The Trojans (23-10) will play North Carolina State Sunday in the second round. North Carolina State fell behind by 13 points and it wasn't until Chris Washburn two free throws with 53 seconds left that the Wolfpack was able to subdue Iowa, 66-64. Earlier, Michigan beat Akron, 70-64, and Iowa State beat Miami of Ohio, 81-79, in overtime.
The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans led by a point at halftime and played most of the second half as if they were accustomed to the tournament.
"They played with a lot of confidence," said Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps. "They hit the clutch shot. You have to respect them for what they are. They were determined to win this game, and that's how they played."
The poised Trojans took a 66-59 lead on Pete Myers' inside basket, and, when Notre Dame called time with 8:04 remaining, the crowd went wild.
After that, David Rivers drove the lane to bring Notre Dame within 66-61, but the Trojans scored two straight baskets.
It was then the Trojans momentarily lost their composure and the Fighting Irish capitalized. The Trojans turned the ball over three times and missed a shot, and suddenly it was Arkansas-Little Rock, 70-69, with five minutes remaining.
After Ken Worthy committed a turnover and Donald Royal scored inside, the Fighting Irish took the lead, 75-74. But Arkansas Little-Rock called time, then scored five straight points. Myers got the last three when he pulled up for a jumper and was fouled by Jim Dolan with 2:38 to play.
Rivers' jumper made it 79-77, but Michael Clarke made a layup and Paul Springer both ends of a one-and-one, and it was time for the Trojans to celebrate with an 83-77 lead and 1 1/2 minutes to play.
"We said the other day at the press conference we matched up well," said Trojans Coach Mike Newell. "We wanted it bad."
Arkansas-Little Rock, which shot 62 percent, was led by Myers' 29 points. Clarke had 27 points and nine rebounds and Myron Jackson had 22 points. For Notre Dame, Rivers had 25 points and six assists.
Iowa nearly put North Carolina State away early. But the Wolfpack took advantage of Iowa's missed shots and got better inside play to come within 39-36 at the half.
"Their quickness was outstanding," said North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano. "They were on the verge of blowing us out of the building. We were really suckered in when they got a 13-point lead. But I give my players credit for coming back."
North Carolina State took its first lead since the opening minutes when Ernie Myers made a basket in the lane to put the Wolfpack up, 59-57. After Washburn dunked Myers' miss, Iowa called time with 4:46 left.
With two minutes left, Andre Banks stole the ball from Nate McMillan and drove the length of the court for a slam to bring the Hawkeyes within 63-62.
The crowd rose and began chanting "Let's go Hawks," and North Carolina State's Bennie Bolton missed a one-and-one attempt, then fouled Jeff Moe at the other end. Moe, however, missed the front end of the one-and-one with 1:17 left.
Twenty seconds later, Washburn made both ends of a one-and-one to give the Wolfpack a 65-62 lead. After Roy Marble scored off-balance in the lane for Iowa, Washburn missed two free throws and the Hawkeyes had a chance to take the lead when Moe was fouled by Quentin Jackson with 12 seconds remaining.
McMillan made a foul shot, then Moe missed again. Moe missed, too, from 30 feet at the buzzer.
Akron (22-8) was within 52-50 on Eric McLaughlin's 15-footer. Not until Glen Rice scored inside to provide a 66-58 lead with a minute to play could Michigan feel secure.
Iowa State won dramatically when Jeff Hornacek made a 30-footer at the buzzer in overtime.