The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
No. 7: Buzzer beaters and big shots
There’s nothing better in sports than a true buzzer-beater. Forget walk-off home runs or last-second field goals. Unless you’re talking about a freak play in which a punter fumbles a snap and the other team runs it back as time expires, I’ll take the buzzer beater, and we’ve seen some good ones involving the Flyers in recent years. There’s bound to be a couple this season.
I’ve expanded this list to include a few other big shots in the final minute that carried the Flyers to victory, even if they weren’t buzzer-beaters.
Here’s a look back at those memorable shots (the good ones and the bad) from the last two seasons.
Jordan Sibert: Sibert’s last-second 3-pointer following a steal by Khari Price at mid-court set the stage for everything that followed in the Elite Eight season. Kyle Davis recorded the first assist of his career on the winning shot. Dayton beat IPFW 81-80 in the first game of the 2013-14 season.
“When Khari made that play, I thought to myself, ‘If I get a chance, I have to redeem myself for that free throw,’” Sibert said. “I know Kyle is a very unselfish player, just like Khari is. I knew if I could get to an open area I could make the shot.”
Pe’Shon Howard: The USC guard’s 3-pointer from the corner with 1 second left in overtime left the Flyers with a 79-76 loss three days before Christmas in 2013.
“I caught it and looked at the clock and thought, ‘OK, coach told us if you got four seconds, you go four dribbles,’” Howard said. “I wasn’t counting them, but I tried to get as close to the three-point line as I could and when two guys came at me out of nowhere, I let it fly.”
Devin Oliver: Oliver’s bank shot 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left gave the Flyers an 83-80 overtime victory at Ole Miss in 2014. The shot capped one of the great performances in UD history: 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting with seven rebounds, five assists and no turnovers.
“Vee was supposed to come off of me and (Matt) Kavanaugh setting a screen and get it and go down and try to make a play,” Oliver said. “Vee got caught going the other way. Heat of the moment, I guess. I saw Dyshawn (Pierre) was kind of stuck. I ran back and got the ball. I probably could have gotten to the basket. I felt the pull-up was the shot.”
Langston Galloway: Galloway’s bank shot came with 1 second left and gave the Hawks a 60-57 victory on Jan. 29, 2014, at UD Arena.
“In the huddle everybody was confident I’d make the shot and I wanted the ball in my hands,” Galloway said. “I know something good happens when the ball is in my hands and this time I got it. Then I got two great screens, the first one from Halil (Kanacevic) and the next one from Papa Ndao. By then my man (Dyshawn Pierre) was backing up and I got free on top. I could see the clock and knew I had enough time and I got a good look. Hey, as a shooter you only need an inch and I got it. I didn’t plan on the bank shot, but I was at an angle where I could bank it. And when it went in, well, I knew we made history. I heard them say we hadn’t won here in like 10 years or something, but we planned to change that tonight.”
Galloway: Galloway got away with a push-off on Kyle Davis to hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the quarterfinals of the A-1o tournament. The Hawks won 70-67 on March 14, 2014.
“Langston, do you think you pushed off?” someone asked in the postgame press conference. “Did you extend your left hand and make it an advantage?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Galloway said. “I think the whole night they were letting us play. Everyone was just trying to be physical and trying to make plays. That’s what happened on that last play.”
Vee Sanford: Sanford’s bank shot in Buffalo with 3.8 seconds left gave the Flyers a 60-59 victory over Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2014.
“My father had me work on that shot as much as I could,” Sanford said. “I probably started with it all the way back in fourth grade. We’d be out in the park with the wind blowing and he would push me and shove me as I’d come in for that shot. We did it over and over and over.”
Devon Scott: Scott’s tip-in with 1.2 seconds left gave the Flyers a 55-53 victory over Texas A&M in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 20, 2014.
“The play was set up for Scoochie to get a screen from Kendall (Pollard) and make a play from there,” Scott said. “My mindset as he was coming down the lane was to get on the glass no matter what. Miss, make or whatever, I just wanted to make sure I was up there. It just happened to roll my way.”
Joe McDonald: McDonald’s put-back at the buzzer gave George Washington a 65-64 overtime victory on Feb. 6, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Pierre blocked the shot, but it went right to McDonald. Had he missed, Kyle Davis would have been the hero for hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
“Dyshawn made a great play on the ball,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “Usually when you get a blocked shot like that at the end of the clock, it leads to some type of loose ball.”
Kyle Davis: His reverse layup with 19 seconds left gave the Flyers a 61-58 lead over Richmond. They won 63-60.
“Toward the end of the game, the last couple of minutes, that’s when players have to make plays,” Miller said. “I thought guys stepped up and did.”
Jordan Sibert: The last shot Sibert ever took at UD Arena was a 3-pointer that gave the Flyers a 56-55 lead with 35 seconds left against Boise in the First Four on March 18, 2015. The Flyers survived a Boise 3-point attempt in the corner at the buzzer.
“Coach (Archie Miller) called the play,” said Sibert. “He believed in me. When you’ve got a group of people like this around you who — no matter if you have foul trouble or shots are not going in — just keep telling you to shoot the ball and believe in yourself, it’s easy to go out there and catch a good rhythm and shoot it.”