The Buzzer Beater: A Game for the Ages

Written By Colton DeBiase, Sports Columnist

If you happened to spend your Saturday night watching the Final Four matchup between the 11th seed UCLA and the number one seed Gonzaga, then you witnessed one of the greatest Final Four games in the history of the March Madness Tournament. Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs sank a half-court shot at the buzzer to win the game in overtime after UCLA tied the game with 3 seconds left. This game had everything that every college basketball fan craves from start to finish. 

The first terrific thing about this game was the matchup. Gonzaga has not lost a game all year and is looking to get into the championship game with an undefeated streak on the line. As for UCLA, not even 1% of brackets had them going to the final four. They were not even in the first round of the tournament at first. They had to play a “first four” game against Michigan State, where they won in overtime. UCLA is also debatably the most storied college basketball program in history. They have 11 March Madness titles to their name. It was their first appearance in the Final Four since 2008, and they were looking to get back in the championship game for the first time since 2006. So two great programs going head-to-head, especially a 1 vs. 11 seed in the Final Four, was the party college basketball fans were looking for all tournament. 

Another reason it was so great was that it was back and forth the entire game. It was a lot different from the earlier matchup between Baylor and Houston, where Baylor pretty much controlled the entire game and won in blowout fashion. College Basketball fans want to see close games to keep them entertained and tuned in. 

This leads to the next and final point, the final minute of the game in overtime. When a game goes into overtime, it is usually a nail biter, and this game was no exception. But first, let’s go to the final 10 seconds of regulation. UCLA’s Johnny Juzang was called for a controversial charge as he went to the paint to give UCLA the lead. That is what sent the game to overtime. 

With a minute to go in the first overtime, UCLA was down by 5 with under a minute left. They drilled a three, got a rebound from Gonzaga, then, with under ten seconds left, all the madness appeared. Johnny Juzang was driving to the hoop again, missed his first shot, then got his own rebound and put it in to tie the game with 3 seconds left. Then everyone thought, “second overtime, right?” Well, Jalen Suggs had other plans as he got the ball and sent a prayer from almost half-court that was answered. Gonzaga won the instant classic 93-90.

This game had everything a sports fan looks for in an instant classic, and that is why it will go down as one of the greatest. It could also be up for debate as one of the greatest in NCAA Tournament history. But then again, there are so many great games that could be named. That is the beauty of the March Madness Tournament. There is so much rich history with countless games that will be remembered for one lifetime after another.