Rams Get Two Miracles in 0.8 Seconds
There have been many “miracles” in sports through the years. Jordan’s game six buzzer beater in the 1998 Finals, Auburn’s 100 yard kick return to beat Alabama, and Villanova’s 3 pointer to win last year’s NCAA Tournament are a few. But how many times have you seen a team in virtually the SAME EXACT situation two games in a row AND win with less than a second left in each game? Ladies and gentleman, I give you the VCU Rams. The Rams have managed to win their last two games, road games at that, after being down 1 with 0.4 seconds left in each.
This past Saturday, VCU traveled to New York to play St. Bonaventure for the first of these two games. The Rams weren’t playing that well and Matt Mobley was on absolute fire, finishing the game 9-15 from 3-pt; but let’s focus on his 8th made three-pointer. The Bonnies were down 65-63 with 3.2 seconds left and were inbounding under their own basket. Of course, they pass the ball to Mobley in the corner who swings through to his left and nails a step-back 3 to put them up one with 0.4 seconds left. The Bonnies’ bench storms the floor and a security guard picks up the ball, but the game wasn’t over. Doug Brooks with incredible awareness grabs the ball from the security guard and inbounds it to Johnny Williams while there were extra people on the floor. The buzzer hit 0.0 but Brooks and Coach Will Wade run to the scores table to remind the referees that extra players on the floor while the ball is in play results in a technical foul. The refs confirm it and JeQuan Lewis goes to the line and hits the free throw to send the game to overtime where the Rams eventually win 83-77.
Fast forward to last night, where the Rams were in a road battle yet again against the George Washington Colonials. VCU was up 52-50 with 10 seconds left and Lewis at the line for a 1 and 1. Lewis misses the first free throw, the Colonials come up the floor, swing the ball to Yuta Watanabe in the corner who, ironically enough, hits a 3-pointer to put the Colonials up by 1 with 0.4 seconds left. Coach Wade calls a timeout and draws up a miracle of an inbounds play. Justin Tillman is inbounding the ball from the left lane line, JeQuan Lewis sprints to the right lane line and sets a screen on Collin Goss, who was guarding Tillman. As Tillman started running the baseline, Goss runs over Lewis for an offensive charge and Lewis goes to the line yet again. This time he knocks down both free throws to put VCU up 54-53 and the Colonials miss their ¾ court heave to seal the Rams’ win.
Both wins were highly controversial, causing the opposing fans to be upset. I don’t blame them as I was equally as mad when VCU gave up the two 3-pointers. I remember after Mobley hit his three point shot, my friend said, “We’re about to be on Sports Center for all the wrong reasons” and last night, another friend was ready to walk out of the sports bar after Watanabe’s shot. Fans on Twitter have called the Rams “cheats” or said the calls were trash but they’re missing the point. In both situations, the opposing teams were simply outwitted on the final play. Doug Brooks’ ability to recognize the opportunity to force a technical was incredible and Wade’s decision to try to draw a charge was pure genius. Or to bluntly put it, a win is a win. The way the Rams won these games isn’t ideal ,but hey I’ll take them how I can get them.