The clock winds down. The shot goes up. The buzzer sounds. The ball falls through the net. The crowd goes wild.
It’s the most exciting play in basketball. It’s the shot we all practiced in the driveway as kids.
It just never happens for the Arizona Wildcats.
Nic Wise got off the shot with just a sliver of time left on the clock (maybe. But at worst I believe the replay was inconclusive so the ruling on the field – I mean, court – should stand) setting off the best kind of postgame celebration you can have on the hardwood.
When’s the last time that happened? When was the last time the Cats beat the clock with a game-winning basket?
You can’t count Ivan Radenovic’s shot at Oregon three years ago because there were still six seconds left and Oregon had two more possessions after that.
Kirk Walters’ free throw to beat Washington in ’05-’06 doesn’t count either because there were still 5.1 seconds left and, well, because it was a free throw.
Salim Stoudamire came close three times in 2005 but he always left a little time on the clock.
Stoudamire’s deep three against UCLA came with two-and-a-half seconds left (the Cats were even called for a technical foul for rushing the court too soon).
The shot to beat ASU (the travel-no-call play) came with four-tenths left.
Even after Salim’s shot against Oklahoma State in the Sweet 16 the Cowboys still had a chance for their own buzzer-beater.
For the last pure shot/buzzer/net/wild Arizona win you have to go all the way back to…do you remember?…
Mustafa Shakur’s three-pointer to beat USC in the opening round of the 2004 Pac-10 tournament. Six long seasons ago.
So forget who this week’s shot was against or where they’re from. (Turns out it’s Nashville. Who knew? And, according to their website, Lipscomb is “located within one day’s drive of 75 percent of the nation’s population!” Who knew, part two?)
No, this isn’t a year to nitpick the level of competition or the significance of a win. When a Wildcat makes a shot to beat the buzzer and pull out a win, the crowd should just go wild.
The next chance for wildness is tonight (Wednesday) at 8:30 Arizona time against North Carolina State. If you’re looking for an extra reason to tune in Miles Simon is calling the game for Fox Sports Net. Will he sound like a guy returning to the place where he won the national championship, or like a guy returning the place where he got fired?
I leave you with a group project. Post your memories of true Arizona buzzer-beaters at McKale Center. It may take a while.
Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long for the next one.