A weekend of sweeping wins from both UR Basketball teams peaked with a buzzer-beating basket from the men on Sunday against UChicago, a spectacular play that went viral on social media and sportscasts.
(If you haven’t watched the clip, ranked second on Sports Center’s “Top Ten Plays” on Monday, do so now. It’s worth the click and only 30 seconds long.)
With two and seven-tenths of a second left on the clock in overtime, junior guard Sam Borst-Smith found himself at the free-throw line with his team facing a two-point deficit.
After making his first free throw, Borst-Smith pinpointed a two-handed line drive of perfect velocity off of the rim’s front face. The ball rebounded on a low loop, just above the outstretched arms of every defender lining the paint. In one fluid motion, with no second thought or hesitation, Borst-Smith caught the ball above his head and dished it out to his fellow junior, sharpshooter Mack Montague.
Montague read the situation perfectly. He back-stepped to the left corner, behind where the three-point line meets the baseline, and met Borst-Smith’s pass.
The crowd froze as he put up a three-point shot in the face of a desperate, outstretched Chicago defender. The fade-away shot arced out of the camera’s sight and dropped cleanly in the bucket.
What ensued was an explosion of celebration from both the players and fans alike. Like any great team celebration, it culminated in a dogpile atop the game’s last-second hero.
After losing a 15-point lead that eventually sent this game into OT, UR’s finish was dramatic and surreal—a 77–76 victory.
Adding to the Yellowjackets’ success were the rest of the weekend’s results.
On Friday, the men’s team (URBB) defeated WashU 77–64 after shooting almost 60 percent from the field in the first half. Freshman guard Jacob Wittig came up huge for UR, draining five shots on nine attempts to total 14 points, along with four assists.
On the women’s side (URWB), it was a story of redemption. A week prior to their victory over WashU, the ‘Jackets travelled to St. Louis to take on the Bears. URWB was riding a 10-game winning streak but fell heavily, scoring only 38 points to a stifling WashU defense.
This time around, the Yellowjackets once again struggled out of the gate. WashU brought a full-court press that caught UR guards on their heels, and Coach Scheible was forced to call an early timeout to regroup. But URWB persisted, rallying around each other to play some very impressive team-oriented basketball.
Little by little, they clawed themselves back into contention. The ‘Jackets dominated late in the second half and were able to clinch a 56–51 victory.
On Sunday, URWB played smooth basketball for three quarters and held a comfortable lead. But, when UR went deeper into their bench, a fire lit under the Chicago side. They pulled within seven points at one moment late in the fourth, but a few clutch baskets by the Yellowjackets ultimately sealed the deal and put the breaks on the comeback.
Both squads find themselves near the top of the UAA, due in large part to their strong weekend against their UAA rivals. URWB is tied atop the conference, while URBB sits one game behind twenty-fourth–ranked Emory.