When No. 14 Eastern Washington took the court against No. 3 Kansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it was the Groves brothers—Tanner and Jacob—who stole the show in the Eagles' attempt to upset Kansas on Saturday.
The two brothers combined for 58 of the Eagles points in Eastern Washington's 93–84 loss to Kansas. But it wasn't just their stat lines that caught people's attention.
Despite the loss, the Groves brothers left their mark on and off the court as the game announcers jokingly compared them to Bill Walton and Napoleon Dynamite.
Tanner even received comparisons to a lumberjack based on his beard and facial hair.
Tanner finished with a career-high 32 points off 10-of-16 shooting from the floor including 4-of-9 from three-point range. Jacob, who scored 16 points in the first half, recorded 23 points off 8-of-11 shooting from the field including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The Eagles led 46-38 at halftime but Kansas came out firing in the second half. As the teams exchanged baskets toward the latter part of the second half, Jayhawks' Dajuan Harris nailed a three pointer to give KU its first lead since the the first half.
From there, Kansas went up by as many as 12 behind the play of David McCormack—who scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and never lost their lead. EWU cut the deficit to seven with 1:51 to play but late free throws helped Kansas seal the victory.
McCormack rejoined the team on Friday when he arrived in Indianapolis after his COVID-19 quarantine. The Jayhawks were without Tristan Enaruna and starting wing Jalen Wilson as the two were ruled out for Saturday’s game because of COVID-19 protocol.
Kansas moves on to second round to play the winner of the USC-Drake game.