Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Reynolds to the Rescue

You couldn't draw it up any better. In the East regional final of the '09 NCAA men's basketball tournament, Villanova and Pittsburgh, two powerhouse basketball schools from the Big East conference, were tied at 76. Villanova inbounded the ball from under the Pittsburgh basket: the Wildcats had just 5.5 sec. to push the ball 94-ft. and score. Villanova's Reggie Redding lobbed a pass to Dante Cunningham between Pittsburgh's free-throw line and the half-court circle. While he was still in the air, Cunningham cleverly shuffled the ball to guard Scottie Reynolds as he streaked by. "They're in trouble," said prescient CBS commentator Bill Raftery, sensing a hole in the Pittsburgh defense. Reynolds, counting down the seconds in his head, dribbled furiously across half-court and into the foul lane, where he collided with a Pittsburgh defender. Despite the contact and the four-inch height advantage of Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown, Reynolds muscled a shot into the basket, sending Villanova to its first Final Four in 24 years and once again validating the tournament's March Madness moniker. "I think every kid playing in the playground thinks about that," said Reynolds of his last-second heroics. For a privileged few, the dream comes true.