Sacramento State junior guard Dylan Garrity called it surreal.
Hornets coach Brian Katz said it was amazing.
Longtime Sac State broadcaster Steve McElroy thought it was monumental.
Some diehards, as they filed out of Sac State’s gym Saturday night, said the Hornets’ shocking 78-75 overtime win against Big Sky Conference leader Weber State was the best game they had ever witnessed.
Garrity put the finishing touches on the topsy-turvy contest with his buzzer-beating 75-foot 3-point heave that hit nothing but net with no time left on the clock. It was the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” later Saturday evening, and it was one of Deadspin’s top stories Sunday.
“As a kid, you grow up dreaming of taking a three-quarters buzzer-beating shot against the best team in the conference,” Garrity said shortly after surviving a midcourt dogpile by teammates and fans. “It was the best shot I’ve ever hit, and that was the most surreal moment I have had in all my years of playing basketball.”
After the Wildcats’ Davion Berry made a 3-pointer from above the key to tie the score with 0.7 seconds left, Cody Demps alertly inbounded while the Weber State players retreated downcourt or stopped playing.
“I saw point-seven seconds on the clock and let it go and, honestly, I let God do the rest,” said Garrity, who had 13 points and four assists. “I had no idea if it was good or not. I couldn’t hear the buzzer because everything was so loud.”
The Hornets ended a 12-game, seven-year losing streak to Weber State and earned only their fifth win in 40 games against a school that has won a Big Sky-best 20 regular-season championships.
Sac State (8-11, 4-6) moved back into contention for one of the conference’s seven tournament berths. Weber State (11-7, 8-2) had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Garrity’s YouTube moment came after officials called three technicals in the final 15 seconds, including two against Weber State, in a game that had 17 ties and 18 lead changes and in which no team led by more than eight points.
Berry, who scored 29 points, put Weber State ahead for the last time, 72-71, by sinking two free throws with 15 seconds left. Just before that, he missed two technical foul shots after Katz was whistled for arguing Nick Hornsby’s reach-in foul on Berry.
On Sac State’s next possession, Garrity’s pass to Mikh McKinney was deflected and players from both teams scrambled for the loose ball. Berry ended up with the ball and called timeout with seven seconds to play, but Weber State was out of timeouts, resulting in an automatic technical. Wildcats coach Randy Rahe was called for a technical, too, for running onto the floor.
McKinney, who tied a career high with 30 points and had six assists, made all four technical foul shots to put Sac State ahead 75-72.
“I’ve never been a part of a game like that in my 38 years of coaching, as far as swings back and forth,” Katz said. “It appeared we had lost it, then they had lost it. When (Dylan) threw it up, I didn’t think it was going to go in.”
McElroy, who has called Sac State men’s basketball games for 17 seasons, said he doesn’t remember a bigger victory.
“We had a buzzer-beating (107-106) win against Idaho State in Pocatello in 2006 that made ESPN ‘SportsCenter,’ but this is the best ever,” McElroy said. “Just to beat the conference Goliath in this way is huge.”
After Berry’s tying 3-pointer, McElroy went from dejection to elation in a split second.
“Berry bombs up a 3 from deep – oh my goodness – he knocks down a deep 3 with 0.7 seconds,” MeElroy said on the broadcast. “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! The Hornets are storming the floor. The Hornets lobbed one in the whole length of the floor. Oh, my goodness, they’re piled up.”
Katz wouldn’t say if it was an omen, but Garrity swished a 75-footer during a practice before a game at North Dakota the previous week.
“The guys were fooling around taking three-quarter-court shots and he made one, and we got it on video,” Katz said.
Now Garrity’s winning shot is all over the Internet.
Garrity, a three-year starter, said he had never made a shot from that distance and of that magnitude in a game at any level.
He said it was even better that it came in front of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 800 that grew louder as the game progressed and included many former players who participated in alumni games earlier in the day.
“It was the best atmosphere I have experienced in my three years at Sac State,” Garrity said. “With the crowd behind us, we had nothing to lose.”
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