In the blink of an eye, Korie Lucious put the team on his back as he fired from the top of the arc. Everything seemed to stand still except the ball that was spiraling in motion.
Ball in. Game over. Season continues.
After Maryland had taken the lead on a basket by star player Greivis Vasquez, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo decided not to call a timeout with about seven ticks left in the game. Draymond Green dribbled it up, threw a pass to point guard Korie Lucious who took a dribble to his left and put up a shot that would end one team’s season.
Luckily, it wasn’t his.
“March Madness” has been the moniker for the NCAA tournament for as many years as I can remember, and it is games likes these that make the phrase perfectly suitable for the occasion.
The waning seconds don’t even give the game justice.
A buzzer-beating three to advance into the Sweet 16 is a story in itself, but it was how the game got to that point.
Starting point guard and All-Big Ten player Kalin Lucas went out late in the first half with an Achilles injury. Starting guard Chris Allen also was out with an injury.
Even with key players missing and bench players accumulating big minutes they weren’t used to, the Spartans built a lead of up to 16 points at one moment in the game. It seemed like a dominating performance; that was, however, until the Terrapins got desperate.
And when teams get desperate, they will do anything to win.
Maryland began to press extremely hard, stealing passes that led to easy buckets. Vasquez was making big shots to will his team back to contention—and quite possibly even victory.
Then it happened.
Maryland had come back from the double-digit deficit and even took the lead. A large margin of defeat almost turned into the Terrapins’ biggest moment of victory—all before Lucious took the ball and deemed himself as the one who would bring Spartan nation back from defeat.
It was a shot that will be remembered for generations by the green and white, and probably for those who just love the drama of sports.
As for Lucas’ injury? Well, Michigan State may just have to add another chapter to what might be another magical run.
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