A Defensive Buzzer Beater From DC
JWong mentioned this in a comment, but it's worth a fanshot.
The historic highlights are always about buzzer beaters – the final-second shots made courtesy of superior play. And that’s fine.
Thursday night though, UCLA’s Darren Collison delivered the defensive equivalent, making the play that won the Bruins their first-round game over VCU, 65-64 in the East Region.
Collison guarded VCU’s devastatingly quick guard, Eric Maynor, who just two years ago scorched the Duke backcourt for a game-winning jumper.
With Maynor looking to duplicate another game-winner over an all-time program, Collison cut off the lane, made Maynor pick up his dribble and then refused to fall for a foul-drawing pump fake. With a hand in his face, Maynor was forced into a disjointed 17-foot jumper that fell harmlessly short.
Anything less out of Collison and Maynor probably scores, UCLA loses and the shot is remembered forever.
Nobody wants to watch highlights of a guy playing defense. The video of Collison on Maynor won’t be a Pontiac Game Changer or be immortalized in future commercials. It won’t be toasted in Westwood the way, say, Tyus Edney streaking the length of court, still is.
This was the game-winning play though. And it spared the Bruins from being on the wrong end of the replay.
This is the reason UCLA is back to powerhouse status, seeking its fourth consecutive Final Four. Ben Howland is a great defensive coach and quite often that’s where the game is really won. Thursday, his star player proved it in the biggest moment of the game.