Name a better duo than Loyola’s hammer set and game-winner
LOYOLA WITH THE UPSET!!!!! THIS. IS. MARCH. pic.twitter.com/Lsys7WXZHc
— AcrossTheCourt™ (@AcrossTheCourt_) March 15, 2018
Part of winning games in the NCAA Tournament is luck.
Another part: Just playing darn good basketball.
The No. 11 seed Loyola Ramblers used a bit of both Thursday to knock off a No. 6 seed Miami Hurricane squad that wasn’t 100 percent healthy with sophomore swingman and NBA prospect Bruce Brown sitting with a foot injury.
Spoilers: Is it OK to say Loyola’s game-winner at (nearly) the buzzer wasn’t the best play down the stretch?
It was a close game throughout, and Miami led 60-57 with 1:11 left when, out of a timeout, the Ramblers broke out a beautiful hammer set.
Guard Clayton Custer found himself wide open in the corner for a tying three-pointer thanks to misdirection and an off-ball screen that caught the Hurricane players sleeping.
Loyola's Punch Hammer is a set that NBA teams have run (including the infamous "Punch Snap Hammer" from the Cavs)
Punch Hammer Compilation: pic.twitter.com/Y9RYUQd9VK
— Half Court Hoops (@HalfCourtHoops) March 15, 2018
Basketball junkies like Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green couldn’t get enough of that play.
Despite Loyola’s solid defense on the other side, Miami’s Ja’Quan Newton drilled a tough jumper to put his team ahead 62-60, and after Loyola made one free throw, a Hurricanes turnover and a Ramblers missed shot led to Miami’s Lonnie Walker going to the foul stripe. He missed on the front end of a one-and-one.
So what did the Ramblers do with possession?
They pushed the ball, and Miami gave Donte Ingram a little too much space atop the three-point arc. He swished a straightaway trey to put Loyola ahead with 0.3 seconds remaining.
It wasn’t enough time for Miami to recover.
And thus, we have our first official game-winner of the tournament.
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