Tourney Gets Signature Moment
Posted by Andrew Zercie on March 29, 2009
Finally! We waited until there were five seconds left in the 58th game of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament. The fans watching in the TD Banknorth Garden and on TV sets across the nation finally saw a moment that will be replayed over and over for years to come.
Scottie Reynolds delivered for Villanova, sending the Wildcats to their first Final Four since 1985. He took the ball near the right sideline around halfcourt protected it as he drove past Pitt’s DeJuan Blair, drew contact as he entered the paint, then willed it past the outstretched arms of Gilbert Brown and into the basket with 00.5 seconds remaining.
In a tournament that has largely lacked upsets and late-game heroics (outside of Levance Fields’ work for the Panthers), Reynolds reminded us all what makes this event so special, so memorable. We’ll remember Reynolds’ shot the way we remember other memorable shots, like what Tyus Edney did for UCLA in 1995, what Bryce Drew did for Valparaiso in 1998, and what Danny Ainge did for BYU in 1981, among countless others.
But the best comparison for this shot by Scottie Reynolds may be Christian Laettner’s famous turnaround jumper in the East Regional Final against Kentucky in 1992. Like Reynolds’ drive, Laettner’s shot sent his team to the Final Four, and sent the opponent home thinking about how close they were to the Final Four themselves.
And like the Kentucky Wildcats on that fateful night in1992, the Pittsburgh Panthers were up to the task last night. The two teams almost literally traded baskets down the stretch, one dramatic moment after another. Levance Fields, who has distinguished himself as an unforgettable player in the annals of Pittsburgh basketball, thought he was sending the game into overtime with his clutch free throws that tied the score at 76.
It wasn’t meant to be though. Instead, Fields was like one of us. He was a witness to this Tournament’s signature moment.