The 2009 Tourney Gets Its Signature Moment

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The 2009 Tourney Gets Its Signature Moment
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Finally!
We waited until there were five seconds left in the 58th game of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament, but the fans watching in the TD Banknorth Garden and on TV sets across the nation finally saw a play 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 half a second 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 that of Tyus Edney for UCLA in 1995, Bryce Drew's for Valparaiso in 1998, and what Danny Ainge did for BYU in 1981.

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 in 1992, the Pittsburgh Panthers were up to the task last night. The two teams traded baskets down the stretch, and viewers were treated to 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.

But it wasn't meant to be for Pitt. Instead, Fields was like one of us: a witness to this Tournament’s signature moment.

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