Losing at the buzzer

He dribbles up the court down by 1. Five seconds left, 4, 3, 2. He takes the shot! 1………..

A basketball game can’t end in any better way. The entire contest comes down to one final shot. I’ve been involved on the winning end of one of those in my basketball playing career, and it was a great feeling.

However, in the past week, I’ve seen 3 of those alone from Arizona State University.

ASU is having a tough season in basketball. With prized recruit Jahii Carson being ruled academically ineligible, the team is left without a true point guard on the roster. That has lead to some crazy up-and-down games so far this season. Here’s a quick rundown of their last 3 “At the Buzzer” games. (See the plug??)

North Dakota State – First of all, you know you’re having a tough season when a game against the Bison of North Dakota State comes down to the buzzer, regardless of if you win or lose. This game seemed to be in ASU’s control until the final seconds, when ASU’s Trent Lockett missed a free throw that would have put ASU up by 4. NDSU took advantage and Trent Felt for the Bison (who was 1-9 shooting 3’s on the day up until the final shot) drained a fade-away 3 with three defenders in his face to tie the game with 1.8 seconds remaining. ASU was able to inbound the ball, and hit Carrack Felix with a pass to drain the game-winning 3 as time expired.

Northern Arizona University – My wonderful co-host Chris won’t let me live this one down, but ASU was on the short end of this game, when nearly the same circumstances came into play. This time it was point guard (by attrition only, he’s not a natural PG) Keala King missing a free throw near the end of regulation. This time, however, that missed free throw would have put ASU up by 3. NAU’s Stallon Saldivar shook loose from his defender and drained a 3 as buzzer sounded for the 1-point win.

Southern Mississippi – This time ASU was on the comeback side, erasing an 11 point lead in the last 3 minutes of the game. Keala King made up for his past mistakes, making 3 free throws in the final 10 seconds to tie the game.  Unfortunately, 5 seconds were left on the clock after tying the game, and that was enough time for Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson drained a 3 as the red light went off, breaking the Sun Devil’s hearts again.

What have I learned after attending these last 3 games? Well, a few more of these and I might end up having a heart problem. I’ve also learned to never count out these ASU Sun Devils. They’re not going to have a great record this year, nor will they make the tournament. But I know they will fight to the end. I’ll be there nearly every game to cheer them on. Because in my opinion, there’s no bigger thrill in sports than the sound of the ball through the net as the buzzer sounds.

(Well, if my team was the one shooting it, then there is no bigger thrill.)

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