Top 2020 Men's College Basketball Games Whose Highlights You Should Rewatch

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2020

Top 2020 Men's College Basketball Games Whose Highlights You Should Rewatch

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Although the 2019-20 college basketball season is over, the campaign will be memorable for more than its unfortunate ending prior to the NCAA tournament.

    As usual, the season provided a few shocking results and spectacular buzzer-beaters. Among the thousands of games on the schedule, we've pegged 10 of the most highlight-worthy contests.

    While the list is entirely subjective, we focused on a combination of Top 25 games, major upsets and clutch last-second shots.

    Note: We wanted to include Belmont's last-second win over Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, but neutral full-game highlights were not available.

Nov. 12: Evansville 67, Kentucky 64

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    In the history of improbable upsets, Evansville's shocking 67-64 triumph over top-ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena absolutely must be near the top.

    Most impressively, Evansville was always in control. The Purple Aces held the lead for the majority of the contest, never facing a deficit of more than three points. They finished off the victory when the Wildcats' Tyrese Maxey missed a three-pointer in the closing seconds.

    The near-unbelievable fact is what happened afterward.

    Kentucky won the SEC and seemed destined for a top-four seed in March Madnessno surprise there. Evansville, however, ended the season 9-23 and went 0-18 in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Nov. 14: Michigan State 76, Seton Hall 73

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    Days after the tragic death of his brother, Cassius Winston somehow put up 21 points and five assists in a thrilling win over Seton Hall.

    The hero, though, was freshman forward Malik Hall. He scored all 17 of his points in the second half, knocking down a trio of threes with a perfect 7-of-7 clip. Hall's contested layup with 25.8 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winning shot.

    Michigan State needed every bit of those contributions from Winston and Hall; the defense could hardly stop Seton Hall's Myles Powell. The senior poured in a season-high 37 points with six threes but missed a potential game-tying triple at the buzzer.

    "He just did an incredible job," MSU coach Tom Izzo said of Powell. "He deserves every accolade he gets, but I'll tell you what, Cassius Winston does too. It might not seem like it tonight, but to play with a broken heart he has, and to play with the mental part of the game that he's been through, I think we saw two superstar guards tonight, but in different ways."

Nov. 26: Stephen F. Austin 85, Duke 83 (OT)

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    Not since 2000 had Duke lost a nonconference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Not until Stephen F. Austin, at least.

    The eventual Southland champions pulled off a remarkable 85-83 upset that featured a buzzer-beating finish. In the closing seconds of overtime, Gavin Kensmil pounced on a loose ball and found Nathan Bain. He split two Duke defenders and raced down the court.

    Four, three, two, one...

    Bain released the ball with approximately 0.2 seconds on the clock, narrowly ahead of a desperate block attempt from Jack White. The layup dropped, and a stunned Duke crowd watched the Lumberjacks' celebration begin.

Nov. 27: Kansas 90, Dayton 84 (OT)

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    In all likelihood, both Kansas and Dayton would've been No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. While it's nothing out of the ordinary for Kansas, this was an incomparable year for Dayton.

    We were hoping for a Round 2.

    During the Maui Invitational, the championship game pit Kansas against a then-unranked Dayton. Kansas escaped with a win behind 31 points from Devon Dotson and 29 from Udoka Azubuike, but the Flyers announced themselves as a national threat.

    Dayton's Jalen Crutcher hit a last-second three to force overtime, and teammate and Player of the Year candidate Obi Toppin collected 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Feb. 5: Butler 79, Villanova 76

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    Saddiq Bey and Collin Gillespie combined for 57 points, but it wasn't enough for Villanova to topple Butler.

    Four players hit double figures for the Bulldogs, including 17 from Kamar Baldwin. The senior provided the clutch shot in the Top 25 showdown, hitting a step-back three at the buzzer.

    "He gave me space, so I took it," Baldwin said. "When I drove it, he kind of backed up so I just went to my stepback."

    Butler finished the season 22-9, while Villanova posted a 24-7 record and shared the Big East regular-season crown.

Feb. 8: Auburn 91, LSU 90 (OT)

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    Over a five-game stretch in late January and early February, Auburn managed four overtime wins. The third such victory happened against LSU and featured a buzzer-beating shot.

    Auburn completed a 14-point second-half comeback thanks to a late three-point barrage from J'Von McCormick. During the final 70 seconds of regulation, he buried a trio of threes and set up Samir Doughty's game-tying layup to force overtime.

    The teams combined for 33 points in a high-scoring overtime, and LSU nearly stole the win. Despite trailing for most of the period, two buckets in the last 20 seconds put LSU in front 90-89.

    McCormick had a little magic left.

    After a timeout, the senior dribbled into the paint and lofted a delicate floater. The ball bounced off the rim, tapped the backboard and fell through with 0.1 seconds showing on the clock.

Feb. 8: Duke 98, North Carolina 96 (OT)

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    Losing to a bitter rival stings. Losing to a bitter rival at the buzzer hurts. Losing to a rival because of two buzzer-beaters...well, that's a scream-into-the-pillow kind of pain.

    Even as UNC staggered through the program's worst year in two decades, an upset of Duke would've provided a bright point. But the Tar Heels watched a 13-point lead vanish in the final five minutes of the second half because of Tre Jones.

    Trailing 84-82 with 4.4 seconds left in regulation, Jones whipped a free throw at the rim and chased down the impossibly perfect miss. Then, he drilled a jumper at the buzzer to force an extra period.

    In the final 15 seconds of overtime, Duke hit a layup to make it 96-95. The Blue Devils forced a turnover, then Jones made a free throw. He missed the second attempt, but Duke grabbed the offensive rebound. Jones fired an off-balance jumper that missed badly, but Wendell Moore Jr. sprinted in for a game-winning putback.

Feb. 22: Oregon 73, Arizona 72 (OT)

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    Early in January, Oregon clipped Arizona 74-73 in overtime. About six weeks later, they practically repeated the game.

    Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 38 points to help the Ducks sneak out a 73-72 winyou guessed itin overtime. Shakur Juiston netted all nine points for Oregon during the extra period, including the go-ahead layup with 1.4 seconds left.

    But the dramatic finish didn't end there.

    Arizona heaved the ball downcourt, and an official whistled Pritchard for a foul. Christian Koloko headed to the line, needing one for a tie and two for a win. He missed both.

    "Might as well go play the lottery now," Juiston joked after the game.

Feb. 22: Kansas 64, Baylor 61

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    Baylor bested Kansas the first time around, rolling the Jayhawks 67-55 on their home floor. That victory marked Baylor's first win at Allen Fieldhouse in 18 tries.

    Kansas would get its revenge, however.

    During this February tilt, Azubuike collected 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting with 19 rebounds and three blocks. Marcus Garrett added nine points and seven assists for the Jayhawks, who nearly squandered a 10-point lead in the final seven minutes.

    The Bears' Jared Butler had a decent look at the buzzer, but his game-tying attempt fell short and caromed off the rim.

March 7: Utah State 59, San Diego State 56

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    Heading into the Mountain West Conference tournament championship, Utah State found itself on the wrong side of the bubble. Losing to New Mexico in the regular-season finale meant the Aggies desperately needed to win this contest.

    You know, against 30-1 San Diego Statea team destined for no worse than a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

    Utah State would not be denied.

    The Aggies trailed 29-21 at halftime, but Sam Merrill scored 17 points after the break. Neemias Queta netted 11 points in the second half, and Alphonso Anderson added eight. With 2.6 seconds remaining, Merrill buried a contested three over KJ Feagin.

    And when Malachi Flynn's half-court prayer narrowly missedand we mean about as narrowly as possibleUtah State punched an ill-fated yet exciting ticket to March Madness.