For all those who firmly believe that defense wins championships, we hope you had a chance to watch West Virginia vs. Clemson in a second-round game. West Virginia rode a tremendous 39-second defensive wave in the final 1:35 to top Clemson, 84-76.
Ahead 76-71 with 1:35 left, sophomore forward Dalton Pepper came up with the first of three straight steals at midcourt to help lift the Mountaineers.
Pepper stole a pass close to midcourt and finished the play on the other end with a dunk to give West Virginia a 78-71 lead with 1:32 remaining. Wait, it gets better. Pepper stole another pass close to midcourt on Clemson's ensuing possession and finished that play with a layup to extend the advantage to 80-71 at the 1:18 mark.
But wait, it gets even better. Pepper stole another pass at midcourt on Clemson's next possession. It didn't lead directly to a layup, Darryl Bryant made one of two free throws on the possession to give the Mountaineers an 81-71 lead with 56 seconds left.