College basketball: Most memorable buzzer beaters of the 2016-17 season
OK, maybe we were spoiled with last year's championship ending, courtesy of Kris Jenkins. There was no follow-up walk-off shot in this year's title game, when North Carolina found redemption in a 71-65 win over Gonzaga.
But that doesn't mean there was a shortage of buzzer-beating shots throughout the course of 2016-17. Let's take a trip down memory lane and explore the top last-second winners from the season that was:
Dillon Brooks downs UCLA | Dec. 29
As the weather got colder, the Ducks just kept heating up. Come Dec. 29, Oregon put its nine-game winning streak on the line against then-No. 2 UCLA and the nation's top offense. Down one point in the last 10 seconds, Brooks took a pass from Payton Pritchard, used a screen from Jordan Bell to create enough space between him and Lonzo Ball and drilled a contested 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left. What a way to kick off what would be a thrilling three-way race for Pac-12 supremacy between Oregon, UCLA and Arizona.
The Ducks went on to win 17 straight games during that stretch before dropping its first game nearly a month later.
James Blackmon lifts Hoosiers in Happy Valley | Jan. 18
Indiana watched a 13-point lead evaporate in minutes as the Nittany Lions, behind their home crowd, stormed back to tie the game at 75-75 with 4.6 seconds left in regulation. Then James Blackmon Jr. took the inbounds pass, sprinted up court and put up a long arching 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of PSU's 6-10 Julian Moore to send the Happy Valley faithful home not so happy.
Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech stun Notre Dame | Jan. 28
At the BUZZer!— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) January 28, 2017
Georgia Tech dramatically knocks off No. 14 Notre Dame, the third ranked team the Yellow Jackets have beaten in ACC play. pic.twitter.com/4EJ3lNrI5b
Boy, the Yellow Jackets were dangerous at home. Three days after dismantling then-No. 6 Florida State at its friendly confines of McCamish Pavilion, Georgia Tech once again came away with the in-conference upset at home against then-No. 14 Notre Dame. The hero of the night was freshman star Josh Okogie, who streaked past Temple Gibbs for the buzzer-beating layup in a 62-60 final.
Donte DiVincenzo helps Villanova escape Virginia | Jan. 29
Not too often do fans get treated to a non-conference matchup of this magnitude this late in the season. And the ending certainly lived up to the hype. Then-No. 1 Villanova was in danger of losing its second-straight game when it entrusted Naismith finalist Josh Hart with the ball and the chance to win it with less than five seconds left. Hart drove in the lane and put up an off-balanced floater that tipped off the front of the rim, setting up reserve guard Donte DiVicenzo wide open for the right-handed tip-in right before the horn sounded.
Brooks strikes again vs. Cal | Feb. 22
Dillon Brooks. Again.
This time the Golden Bears of Cal were the victims as Brooks took the handoff in a 65-65 game, dribbled toward the center of the arc and connected on the game-winning 3 to lead the Ducks away from the upset scare.
Northwestern's Nathan Taphorn-to-Dererk Pardon connection | March 1
It was a memorable season for Northwestern, who reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history and picked up a first round win over Vanderbilt this season. But two weeks before that momentous win, all the talk was about this crazy football-esque ending against Michigan. With 1.2 seconds on the clock in a tied game, Nathan Taphorn threw an inbounds pass the length of the court that was somehow corralled by Dererk Pardon right under the basket like a wide receiver coming down with a Hail Mary over a defensive back. Pardon then banked it in for the 67-65 victory.
If the Wildcats' postseason fate wasn't determined beforehand, that miraculous ending likely sealed it a week ahead of Selection Sunday.
Chris Chiozza's prayer lands Gators into Elite Eight | March 24
Millions of mouths dropped when Wisconsin's Zak Showalter drained a running 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the Badgers' Elite Eight matchup with Florida to overtime. But how about when the Gators' Chris Chiozza came back with a basically identical game-winner at the end of overtime? That's what March is made of.
Luke Maye shocks UK, sends UNC into Final Four | March 26
When Duke legend Christian Laettner congratulates a Tar Heel, you know it's a special moment. Twenty-five years after Laettner had one of the most iconic baskets in college basketball history, UNC's Luke Maye made his own mark in tournament lore over the same Wildcats with a game-winning jumper just inside the 3-point line. That shot came moments after Kentucky's Malik Monk hit his own clutch shot to tie the game with seven seconds left.
As we now know, North Carolina went on to win the national championship a week later.