B/R's March Madness Top Moments, No. 10: Valpo's Bryce Drew Puts It Through
There's a reason why buzzer-beaters—like jokes and frogs—are best left undissected.
One could bumble about the English language forever trying to explain why Bryce Drew's game-winning three-pointer in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament has become a highlight-reel staple.
Could it have been the magnitude of the upset? Hardly. Valparaiso, a 13-seed, was in the midst of five straight tournament appearances. And it's victim, fourth-seeded University of Mississippi, wasn't exactly basketball royalty.
At the time, neither program had won a tournament game.
How about the play itself?
Down two with 2.5 seconds left, Valpo guard Jamie Sykes hurled an inbound pass three-quarters of the court to forward Bill Jenkins, who, in one motion, plucked the ball from midair and tapped it to Drew for an open three.
The design was brilliant. So was the execution.
But by buzzer-beater standards? A seven, at best.
Perhaps then it was the man who called the play, Homer Drew, Bryce's dad.
As a high school senior, Bryce had been Indiana's Mr. Basketball, the next closest thing to God in a state where high school hoops doubles as sacrament. Everyone expected he'd end up at Notre Dame or Purdue. They didn't know what Bryce's mom, Janet, knew from the start and would later tell the New York Times:
"He loves his father too much."
Of course, we've seen father-son stories before. From Maravich to McDermott to McCallum and on.
Maybe it was the aftermath, Bryce's jubilant dive to the floor after the ball feathered through—the camera catching its muse in perfect time, just as his teammates piled atop.
Or maybe it was none of these.
Maybe the answer lies somewhere between the brain and the heart—and an index finger that keeps clicking "replay."
Valpo will get a chance to add another immortal moment to the March Madness reel this year after beating Wright State on Tuesday night in the Horizon League tournament championship game.
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