Aught Lang Syne: The Buzzer Beaters of the Decade

Earlier, we counted down the Top 10 Games in college basketball over the last decade. But if you’re half the college basketball fan that I am, you know that list was surely lacking. Here, in no particular order, are the games that, while overall weren’t good enough to make that list, still provoke that ineffable joy of the fantastic finish. They are good games with great finishes. Enjoy and bookmark.

2005 Michigan State v. Kentucky


This was the third best regional final that year. Yeah.

2007 Oklahoma State v. Texas

Much like the triple-overtime classic between Gonzaga and Michigan State the season before, this 55-minute classic saw a multitude of lead changes and a remarkable duel between Kevin Durant and Mario Boggan. Boggan won the battle; it’s probably safe to say Durant won the war.

2004 Stanford v. Arizona

Because Stanford didn’t even survive the opening weekend of the Tournament in 2004, it’s easy to forget how long this Cardinal team flirted with perfection, and how amazing this ending was. Plus, Brent Musburger’s call is the best on a buzzer-beater this decade.*

*Last decade’s best call was by Sean McDonough on Richard Hamilton’s winner over Washington in the 1998 Sweet Sixteen. You may notice that, when it comes to buzzer-beating calls, I have a type.

2006 Northwestern State v. Iowa

Jermaine Wallace’s desperation three-point heave from the corner was the biggest NCAA Tournament Hail Mary of the decade and perhaps the best symbol for what can happen during March Madness.

2006 Texas v. West Virginia

I think I’ve proven how much I love John Beilein and that Mountaineer team. Overcoming a 3:1 rebounding edge for Texas with two late threes (by Gansey and Pittsnogle, obvs), West Virginia was undone by A.J. Abrams’ poise and Kenton Paulino’s marksmanship at the buzzer.

2006 UCLA v. Gonzaga

The same night as Paulino’s winner, the legend of Gus Johnson is born.

2007 Ohio State v. Xavier

And the legend is confirmed. HA HA!

2006 Duke v. Virginia Tech

And Tim Brando’s call begs the question: When did Sean Dockery do it the first time?

2007 Duke v. Clemson

Hi, I’m Dave McClure; you may remember me from such game-winning shots as this one!

2007 VCU v. Duke

Because I was getting too confident with my Duke clips.

2007 VCU v. George Mason

And because Eric Maynor did it to someone else before us.

2005 Bucknell v. Kansas

The ugliest winner of the Aughts.

2005 Vermont v. Syracuse

Let’s first admit that T.J. Sorrentine made one of the worst decisions a point guard can make in hoisting a 30-footer (at least) with eight on the shot clock and his team up one. And then let’s acknowledge that in taking–and making–it, Sorrentine showed off some major cojones. It might be my favorite shot this whole decade, capped off by coach Tom Brennan’s elation on the sideline.

2006 UConn v. Washington

This shot wasn’t too bad, either.

2007 Tennessee v. Winthrop

Forget the facts that Tennessee was a bad 2, Winthrop a fantastic 15, and that the beloved Bruce Pearl drew up a pretty terrible play; just appreciate the shot Chris Lofton buries from the corner.

2004 UAB v. Kentucky

First, one of the decade’s greatest passes between identical twins, and then the decade’s greatest midrange jump shot. ‘Cuz, you know, nobody takes those anymore.

2006 Texas A&M v. Texas

Believe it or not, Acie Law IV would later hit an even better shot against Texas at the buzzer.

2008 Minnesota v. Indiana

Blake Hoffarber is this decade’s Christian Laettner–the only guy to hit TWO incredible buzzer beaters.

2008 Western Kentucky v. Drake

One thing that’s lost with officials going to the monitor to check the clock and to make sure that time hasn’t run out is that true buzzer beaters have become rarer and rarer. Which is what made Ty Rogers’ three—which enters the hoop right as the backboard light flashes and the horn sounds—so refreshing.

2009 Gonzaga v. Western Kentucky

Kevin Harlan can call our buzzer beater any day. Make sure to stay to the end just to hear him pronounce “Gon-ZAG-GA!”

2005 Gonzaga v. Oklahoma State

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good…and to have Gus Johnson AND Bill Raftery on the mike.

2005 Ohio State v. Illinois

Because going undefeated is REALLY hard.

2004 Oklahoma State v. Saint Joseph’s

Because one night it goes your way…

2004 Georgia Tech v. Oklahoma State

…and the next it doesn’t. (Does anyone remember this game-winner?)

2006 Syracuse v. Cincinnati

The start of the greatest run in Big East Tourney history.

2003 Louisville v. Marquette

I saw this game live. It was great.

2009 Wake Forest v. Duke

I saw this game in person. It sucked.

2007 Barton v. Winona State

This is like Duke’s comeback against Maryland…if it were in the national championship.

2003 Maryland v. UNCW

UNCW was my sleeper that year; I’m still mad at Drew Nicholas.

2003 Miami v. Connecticut

I doubt you remember this one, but it’s about as insane a last 10 seconds as you’ll see…

2005 Chicago State v. Missouri-Kansas City

…until you see this. This is unbelievable. I do not believe this.

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