The Big South Serves Up a Buzzer-Beater Bonanza
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Did you witness what happened in Boiling Springs, North Carolina last night?
OK, I didn't either.
But then again, Big South basketball isn't exactly the most visible conference from a nationwide perspective.
I, for example, live in a region where the ACC reigns supreme and everything else is an afterthought. Regardless, I heard Paul Porter Arena -- home of the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs -- was, ah, rockin'.
In this case, If an arena is rockin', do come a-knockin'.
The Virginia Military Keydets (VMI) just so happened to join Gardner-Webb in stealing the spotlight last night in this Big South showdown. Both of these teams, subpar at best, put on quite a show.
I don't think I've ever seen a game quite like this one. There have been longer, of course, but this one was different. Not only were there four overtimes, but there were also three buzzer-beaters by one team! VMI had to miraculously make three of those shots to keep extending the game. Three players ended up being heroes for the Keydets in what turned out to be the lengthiest game played so far this year.
DJ Covington, Brian Brown, and TIm Marshall each filled that role. Brown's 3-pointer banked in at the end of regulation to force the first overtime. In the second overtime, Covington canned a jumper to tie the game at 88-all, and Marshall popped a layup at the end of the third overtime to give VMI the opportunity to finally triumph in the fourth overtime.
The Keydets seized that opportunity and wound up winning, 108-104.
Talk about beating the odds. At least one study established that the team sending a contest into OT doesn't benefit from any perceived momentum gained by doing so. That means VMI kept going on competitive survival instinct.
It's refreshing when smaller programs get some notoriety. This was college basketball at its best. These were two fairly even teams, battling it out with nothing but pride on the line.
VMI alone offered up more buzzer beaters than the rest of Division I will most likely total the rest of this week.