Another day, another Top Five team falling by the wayside in this crazy 2012-13 college basketball season. On Thursday, the victim was the No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers, who fell to the unranked Illinois Fighting Illini, 74-72, on a buzzer-beating layup by Tyler Griffey to cap off one of the more thrilling finishes in recent memory.
Playing before a raucous crowd at Assembly Hall, the Illini had trailed by double digits for the majority of the game and looked well on their way to defeat before a scintillating late-game run. They battled back with an 11-2 run in three and a half minutes to tie the contest at 71 and set up the exciting sequence shown.
After a Victor Oladipo turnover put the ball in Illinois' hands with a chance to win the game with 0.9 seconds remaining, John Groce drew up a play that could shift the paradigm of his team's season. With Brandon Paul standing at the corner baseline, Griffey made a beautiful back-cut after Cody Zeller missed a screen switch and laid the ball in the basket as time expired.
The loss for Indiana has to frustrate Tom Crean, but it's not unfamiliar. His Hoosiers have been the top-ranked team multiple times during the season, but cannot seem to stay atop the college-basketball landscape.
Meanwhile, Griffey's layup may wind up being the savior of Illinois' season.
A nonconference monster, the Illini have struggled mightily in Big Ten play. They had lost six of their past seven games heading into Thursday night and were barely hanging onto the fringe of NCAA-tournament contention. Though Griffey's last-second heroics may not clinch the Illini's tourney bid, it did give the team a signature win that should bolster their resume when the selection committee convenes.
Be sure to watch the video and share in the jubilation that reverberated through Assembly Hall on Thursday.