Near Buzzer Beaters in March Madness Lore

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Issue 168: Shots That Were Almost Buzzer Beaters, But Weren’t

This year’s March Madness has had plenty of wackiness (per usual), but where are those sweet, sweet buzzer beaters?

They just aren’t happening, so we gotta go into the vault for a few classics.

These are shots that seemed like they very well might be buzzer beaters, only for the clock to magically reset itself — or, you know…for a scorekeeper to reset it.

Nonetheless, they were game-winners, so the team making the shot essentially got to celebrate twice. Cool. Let’s start with a game I witnessed in person!

Loyola Chicago over Miami — 2018

This matchup took place just up the (long) road in Dallas. I had tickets before I knew Miami would be playing in this region, so that was a nice bonus…until I saw who they were faced up against.

This Loyola Chicago squad was the exact type of team Miami struggled against. A dad and his son were sitting behind me and saw my Miami shirt.

“How far do you think they’ll go?” the dad asked.

“Oh, I have them losing this game,” I said.

The dad was dumbfounded, but when Loyola Chicago eked out the victory, he seemed impressed by my wisdom (or lucky guess, since it easily could have not happened).

They ended up putting 0.3 seconds back on the clock. And let me tell you — watching a buzzer beater in person, only for the officials to spend 15 minutes reviewing the clock before putting back a minuscule amount of time is a HORRIBLE way to spend your day.

NC State over LSU — 2015

This game was apparently so obscure, the only clip I found on Twitter was someone recording it off their TV. Wild.

After BeeJay Anya’s little turnaround jumper rolled around the rim and through the hoop, you see the clock juuuust sneak to 0.0 before clicking up to 0.1.

Not enough time to do anything, of course, but still, I’m glad they added that fraction of a second back on the clock.

I must point out how badly LSU fell apart in this game. Jarell Martin made a jumper for them with 10:25 remaining, and then the Tigers didn’t make a field goal FOR THE REST OF THE GAME. That’s more than half of the second half.

Instead, LSU put up a ton of missed shots, blown layups, and a remarkable 3-for-11 performance from the free-throw line.

On the plus side, NC State ended up defeating Villanova in the next round, which gave us the “Crying Piccolo Girl” meme. At least she had a good sense of humor about it all.

Villanova over Pitt — 2009

I remember watching this game during a college trip. We were attending an awards ceremony in New York that honored the best college broadcast students.

There was one guy who won several awards because he was the only person to apply for them, which gave me an early look at just how stupid awards tend to be.

Anyway, this man had a great voice — all of his awards were for radio — but he was just a little bit too smug for my tastes.

Each time he came up to accept his award, he’d give an announcement of the score of the game that was playing. Except wherever he was getting his information from was two to three minutes behind the actual action, which we were watching on my friend’s phone.

So, when he’d come up and be like “it’s tied 50-50,” we’d say “actually, North Carolina is winning, 57-52.” That guy got mildly annoyed each time we said that, and it was great.

None of that really has to do with this game, though. No, this one I remember because I picked Villanova to make the Final Four that year, and one of my classmates was ADAMANT that they would not.

Well, Scottie Reynolds proved me right. This game ended during dinner, and I got up from the table so I could go watch this final sequence; about five or six other classmates did the same. We had our own small celebration in the alleyway near the bar, enjoying the madness that had just unfolded in front of us.

Here’s a nice article from the heartbroken Pitt team’s point of view.

Northwestern State over Iowa — 2006

Note: If you watch this, please turn the volume super far down. It gets VERY loud.

Perhaps this one shouldn’t count, because there’s still a half-second left on the clock. However, it’s perhaps my favorite game-winner of any March Madness game ever.

I know I’ve shared it in previous issues, but I hope you’ll indulge me one more time. What a gem.

My favorite part is toward the end, when Jermaine Wallace, who just hit a wild shot, leaps up and hugs his teammate. THE MOST PRECIOUS.