Rovell: March Madness Bad Beats — and the Players Who Caused Them

Rovell: March Madness Bad Beats — and the Players Who Caused Them article feature image
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Pictured: Josh Hagins, Quinn Cook, and Jawun Evans

Darren Rovell spoke to three players involved in some of the worst March Madness beats in recent memory: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans (vs. Michigan, 2017); Duke’s Quinn Cook (vs. Utah, 2015); and Arkansas-Little Rock’s Josh Hagins (vs. Purdue, 2016). These are their memories from when they turned the gambling world upside down.

Oklahoma State’s Juwan Evans

  • 2017 First Round
  • Opponent: Michigan

As far as recent bad beats go, it doesn’t get much worse than the 2017 opening round matchup between the No. 7-seeded Michigan and No. 10-seeded Oklahoma State.

Bettors’ stomachs were in knots throughout the first half. The 2.5-point favored Wolverines, then ranked 23rd in the nation, only led the Cowboys 41-40 at halftime after a back-and-forth battle.

But Michigan pulled away in the second half. In fact, from five minutes in until right before the final buzzer, Michigan was covering.

With 25 seconds to go in the game, Michigan was up seven.

Oklahoma State sophomore guard Jawun Evans got the ball to his teammate Jeffrey Carroll, who hit a three.

Michigan led 88-84 with 20 seconds to go.

After missing the front-end of a 1-and-1, the sequence went: Oklahoma State made layup, two made Michigan free throws, Evans made layup.

It was a two-point game again.

Those who bet on the Cowboys weren’t holding their breath, as Oklahoma State had to foul again.

Michigan’s D.J. Wilson hit both.

Four seconds to go.

Bettors with money on Michigan, which led by four points, were ready to cash in.

The ball was passed to Evans, who quickly crosses half court and throws up a heave from deep that will have no impact on the winner and loser of the game.

As the ball was still on the way up, the horn sounded.

“I definitely remember the shot,” Evans told the Action Network. “I was just shooting just to shoot.”

To the chagrin of those who bet on Michigan, Evans shot swished through.

Oklahoma State had lost, but by 1, ruining the spread. Individual sportsbooks had six-figure swings.

Did Evans know that his shot would mean so much in the gambling world?

Not at the moment.

That was until he went to social media.

“About 30 minutes after the game, I was getting tweets like, ‘You messed up my spread,’ and stuff like that,” Evans said.

Evans scored 896 points in his two-year career at Oklahoma State. But his final three were the most memorable thanks to gamblers.

He declared for the NBA Draft, was picked 39th by the Philadelphia 76ers and now plays for Phoenix Suns’ G League team.


Duke’s Quinn Cook

  • 2015 Sweet 16
  • Opponent: Utah

There’s only one thing that drives gamblers more nuts than a player’s buzzer-beating heave on a losing team that ruins the spread: When the officials greatly contribute to turning their winning bet into a losing bet.

In 2015, the ultimate March Madness ref moment drove gamblers in Vegas and people on Twitter to absolutely insanity.

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