If you haven’t already heard or seen, Jalen Suggs of the Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team hit one of the most clutch and iconic shots in March Madness history. After the UCLA Bruins tied the score 90-90 with 3.3 seconds to go in overtime, Suggs took the ball up-court, launched it from just inside half-court, and the ball banked in as time expired. His team mobbed him, as this shot was in the Final Four of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, and took them to the NCAA Championship game. This game also kept them undefeated for the season, with a record of 31-0.
Now known as “the shot” of college basketball, it was March 28th, 1992. In the east region, the number one seed, Duke, and the number two seed, Kentucky, were facing off to determine who would secure a berth in the Final Four. Down 103-102 in overtime with 2.1 seconds left, Duke had to inbound the ball from their half of the court. The only way anything could happen here is if Grant Hill, who was unguarded at the baseline, could hail mary the ball to a Duke player and put up one shot in time. Of course, that’s exactly what happened, as Christian Laettner turned around and nailed the jumper at the buzzer. Laettner would finish the game with 31 points and seven rebounds.
So, who’s shot was better? Let’s break it down.
The first thing we have to look at is background information.
The winner of the Duke-Kentucky game would go to the Final Four, while the winner of Gonzaga-UCLA would go to the NCAA Championship. So, I’d say there’s more on the line in the Gonzaga-UCLA matchup. You also have to keep in mind that UCLA was the cinderella story of this tournament, going to the Final Four as an 11 seed, winning upset after upset. Both teams have a great story to their runs in these respective years. Gonzaga is undefeated, attempting to become the first team since Bob Knight’s Indiana team went 32-0 in the regular season and NCAA tournament. Gonzaga is 31-0 before tonight’s NCAA Championship. Duke had lost the national championship the year before, and 1992 was revenge for them. Grant Hill later said that during the first practice, Coach K had written National Champions on the wall to remind them what this year was about.
Then of course, there’s the actual shot itself. Grant Hill had to throw the ball to Laettner as an in bounder, who then caught it and had two whole seconds to do what he had to to get it in. Suggs, on the other hand, with 3.3 seconds on the clock, had to dribble the ball up the court, and heaved a 50-foot HAIL MARY in on a bank shot. Suggs also called game, which is something that can’t be ignored. Suffice to say, in terms of the actual shot, Suggs’ was more impressive.
If everyone is in agreement that Suggs’ actual shot was better, then it will take time before people begin referring to it as “the shot.” Many people are used to calling Laettner’s shot “the shot,” and there’s also the game winning shot from the 2015 NCAA Championship. Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!