UC Irvine pulls the NCAA tournament's first big upset, toppling Kansas State

In a year in which UCLA underachieved and fired its coach, USC and San Diego State also missed the NCAA tournament and Cal and Stanford finished near the bottom of a historically weak Pac-12, UC Irvine coach Russell Turner hasn’t been shy about what that means.

He has told anyone who will listen the past few weeks that the Anteaters are California’s best team.

Thirteenth-seeded UC Irvine validated its coach’s big talk on Friday afternoon in San Jose with the most significant win in program history. The Big West champion Anteaters secured their school’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory, an 70-64 upset over fourth-seeded Kansas State.

Max Hazzard scored a game-high 19 points and buried five 3-pointers, the last of which gave UC Irvine a five-point lead with 90 seconds to play. Kansas State pulled within two on a Cartier Diarra 3-pointer, but Evan Leonard iced the game with four free throws in the final 18 seconds.

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March Madness 2019: Photos from the first round
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March Madness 2019: Photos from the first round
Maryland 's Bruno Fernando (23) celebrates during the final moments of the second half of a first round men's college basketball game against Belmont in the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman (23) grabs a rebound over Bradley guard Ja'Shon Henry (22) during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Louisville forward Jordan Nwora is fouled by Minnesota guard Amir Coffey, right, during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Auburn's forward Horace Spencer (0) and New Mexico State guard JoJo Zamora (4) battle for a rebound in the first half during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Yale 's Paul Atkinson (20) and LSU's Kavell Bigby-Williams battle for a rebound during the first half of a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Belmont 's Dylan Windler, center, goes to the basket between Maryland 's Bruno Fernando, left, and Darryl Morsell (11) during the second half of the first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 21: Trevelin Queen #20 of the New Mexico State Aggies reacts after being defeated by the Auburn Tigers 78-77 in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 21: Terrell Brown #3 of the New Mexico State Aggies attempts to shoot the ball against Anfernee McLemore #24 of the Auburn Tigers during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IOWA - MARCH 21: Elijah Childs #10 of the Bradley Braves celebrates after a three point basket against the Michigan State Spartans during their game in the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on March 21, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 21: Clayton Henry #5 of the New Mexico State Aggies dives for the ball during the first half against the Auburn Tigers in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - MARCH 21: Tevin Brown #10 of the Murray State Racers celebrates after hitting a three pointer during the second half of the first round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Marquette Golden Eagles at XL Center on March 21, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Purdue's Matt Haarms celebrates a basket as Old Dominion's Justice Kithcart (2) follows during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Hartford, Conn. Purdue won 61-48. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Villanova's Jermaine Samuels (23) dunks against St. Mary's Malik Fitts (24) during the second half of a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 21: Johnny MCCants #35 of the New Mexico State Aggies dunks the ball against Chuma Okeke #5 of the Auburn Tigers during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IOWA - MARCH 21: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans glares at Aaron Henry #11 after a play during their game in the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament against the Bradley Braves at Wells Fargo Arena on March 21, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MARCH 21: Adam Kunkel #5 of the Belmont Bruins reacts on the bench in the second half of play against the Maryland Terrapins during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at VyStar Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 21, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mississippi State guard Lamar Peters watches during the second half of the team's game against Liberty in the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Liberty's Zach Farquhar, left, and Keegan McDowell celebrate during the second half of a first round men's college basketball game against Mississippi State in the NCAA tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Houston's DeJon Jarreau dunks the ball during the first half of a first round men's college basketball game against Georgia State in the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Buffalo's Jeremy Harris chases after a loose ball during the second half of a first round men's college basketball game against Arizona State in the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Buffalo's Montell McRae (1) and Arizona State's Zylan Cheatham (45) chase a loose ball during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Wisconsin guard D'Mitrik Trice, bottom, holds onto the ball under Oregon guard Ehab Amin during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Gardner Webb forward Eric Jamison Jr. (2) has the stripped by Virginia guard Kihei Clark, right, during a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Virginia defeated Gardner-Webb 71-56. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Buffalo's Dontay Caruthers celebrates a teammates basket during the first half of a first round men's college basketball game against Arizona State in the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 22: RJ Barrett #5 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball as teammate Zion Williamson #1 celebrates against the North Dakota State Bison in the second half during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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