Monday, March 21, 2005

AMAZING SHOT: Vandy beats WSU in dramatic fashion

The noble, courageous, admirable, and astoundingly-talented Vanderbilt Commodores extended their season with the most memorable moment in my Memorial Gym experience.

Here's the play-by-play from the end of the game:

Vanderbilt's DeMarre Carroll blocked a potential layup by the evil Shocker-player, Howard, with six seconds remaining to protect a 61-60 Vanderbilt lead.

Courageous Mario Moore made two free throws to push Vanderbilt's lead to 63-60.

The Commodores fouled Sean Ogirri, who made the first foul shot and missed the second intentionally. WSU's Howard then converted an offensive rebound off the missed free throw with 0.7 seconds remaining to tie the game 63-63.

Everyone knew the game was going to over-time.

Everyone except Kevin Stallings. He calmly called time out, drew up a play, and gave the valiant men in Black and Gold their marching orders to return once more unto the breach.

The strategy called for Corey Smith to catch a long pass from Jason Holwerda with a defender behind him.

And so the worthy men of Vanderbilt, confident in their ability and their plan, strode forth from the baseline, and into Commodore history.

"To tell you the truth, with 0.7 seconds left, I was just trying to put it up by the goal," Holwerda said. "I was hoping for a tip in or something like that."

It turned out that "something like that" was exactly what Vanderbilt got.

"The ball seemed like it was in the air for two and half hours," Stallings said.

Holwerda threw the length-of-the-court strike to Smith. He caught the ball and laid it in as time expired.

Mayhem made its entrance on Memorial Gym's Ingram Court as thousands of fans, students, and teammates mobbed Smith.

The floor was in disarray when the officials finally made their way to the scorers' table and reviewed the play: they confirmed that Smith had beaten the buzzer. The final score was Vanderbilt 65, WSU 63.

And another incredible chapter was added to the history of that old lady on the corner of 25th Avenue and Vanderbilt Place. It was Memorial Magic. Plain and simple.


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