Dayton, OH (Sports Network) - It was fitting that the NCAA Tournament kicked off with such a mad finish.
With President Barack Obama in attendance, Western Kentucky rallied from 16 points down in the final five minutes to shock Mississippi Valley State, 59-58, as part of the First Four.
Western Kentucky (16-18) trailed 53-37 with 4:52 on the clock before a wild stretch that included an effective press that continually caused turnovers and fastbreak opportunities on the other end.
Derrick Gordon scored all 11 of his points in the second half and T.J. Price also had 11, including the go-ahead three-point play with 33.8 seconds to go.
For their efforts, the 16th-seeded Hilltoppers earned a date with top-seeded Kentucky on Friday in Louisville.
Mississippi Valley State (21-13) seemed well on its way to a first-ever NCAA Tournament victory until it all came unraveled down the stretch. Kevin Burwell led all scorers with 20 points, while William Pugh donated 11 and Cor-J Cox posted 10 points and seven rebounds for the Delta Devils.
The Sports Network