Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Second Chance at a Lasting Impression

What a difference two weeks makes.

Last night, senior Ben Smith banked home a 24-footer with less than a second to go to launch Jacksonville past Arizona State and into the Second Round of the NIT. His shot capped a furious rally in the last four minutes to hand JU its first postseason win in four decades.

"I got a good look," said Smith. "I didn't call 'glass,' but as it was in the air, you could see it had a chance."

This is the type of “senior moment” that nearly every student-athlete dreams about.

It’s a huge departure from the last time we saw Smith attempt a three-pointer at the end of the game. In the Dolphins’ semifinal loss to Mercer at the General Shale Brick A-Sun Championship, the guard saw his shot deflected by long-time nemesis James Florence as the Bears completed the upset.

Monday night’s dramatic finish in front of a national television audience on ESPN2 is more fitting for a four-year starter who helped re-invigorate a near dormant program.

Joining with Lehmon Colbert four seasons ago, the senior duo took a 1-26 team and turned it into a two-time Atlantic Sun regular season champ. Both scored over 1400-points and both have led a revival that brought JU basketball back to relevance. A few things were missing on the “bucket list”, but consider two of them scratched off now: a win over a BCS team and a win in a national postseason tournament.

Hopefully, Smith and his teammates have something left in the tank for Texas Tech. Wouldn’t back-to-back BCS wins be awfully enjoyable?

Media Coverage: Replay
Arizona Republic: Jacksonville Sinks Arizona State with Late 3
Florida Times-Union: Ben Smith’s Shot Leads JU to Shocking NIT Upset Jacksonville Shocks NIT Top Seed Arizona St. BANK OPEN LATE: Smith’s Shot Stuns Arizona State, 67-66
Smith’s Last Second Bank Shot Burns Sun Devils

Of all the dramatic finishes you’ve seen in March, what is your favorite or most memorable?


  1. Great win JU! Get another one against Texas Tech. For your question ... I say Bryce Drew or Tyus Edney v. Missouri (only because I didn't say NC State v. Houston in person).

  2. It pains me as a fan of the conference, but I'll always remember Gerald Henderson's dash through the Belmont defense a couple of years ago


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