Bryce Drew’s buzzer-beater and Valparaiso’s NCAA event upset, 25 years on

DENVER — Time is grey hair. It is grown-up children. It is desires, stumbles, lengthy days and quick years.

Twenty-five years of basketball time meandered by means of the hallways inside Ball Area on Thursday. A hoops household, an all-time second, roads much less traveled and two brothers nonetheless within the recreation.

And me. I have never had an event to see Bryce Drew or Scott Drew, have not spoken to them, have not requested a query of them since 1998. However on March 13, 1998, Bryce Drew authored one of many NCAA event moments that has since made most each listing of Cinderellas, upsets, remember-whens and “OMG where were you?” moments of the event.

“We definitely didn’t know [it would be remembered]. We had a group of six seniors, it was our third consecutive NCAA tournament, and we had lost the previous two years,” Bryce Drew, now Grand Canyon University coach, said Thursday. “After we gained that recreation, we had been simply so comfortable, as a result of that was our large objective going into that season, was win a recreation within the event. … We had lastly completed that after three years, simply so enthusiastic about that.”

Hearth up the various search engines for the particulars: Contained in the Myriad Conference Heart in Oklahoma Metropolis, Valparaiso — with Bryce Drew as its star guard, Scott Drew as an assistant coach and their father, Homer Drew, because the longtime head coach — was a 12-point underdog to Ole Miss.

The feisty upstarts then did what so many do on this annual occasion — they despatched informal followers looking for maps to discover a northwest Indiana city and pushed one of many big-conference outfits to the sting. Trailing 69-67, Bryce Drew had missed a 3-point try with roughly 5 seconds left within the recreation.

Mississippi’s Ansu Sesay was fouled on the rebound. Sesay missed his first free throw, and Homer Drew then referred to as a timeout to attract up what he later gleefully revealed to the world was a play he referred to as “Pacer.”

Sesay then missed the second free throw, and the battle for the loose ball on the rebound went off Mississippi’s Keith Carter with 2.5 seconds left. The rest? Well, the rest has been played over and over again.

I’ve seen it probably 30 times over the years, most every time glass slippers and March are in the same sentence, or when some proof is needed about any given day. Jamie Sykes threw the in-bounds pass just past midcourt, and a leaping Bill Jenkins tapped the ball to Bryce Drew, who then made the heave for the win. Pacer was, and still is, history.

“Twenty-five years makes me really feel loads older. Cannot consider how fast time flies … an unbelievable March Insanity reminiscence,” Baylor coach Scott Drew mentioned Thursday. “A lot of times your biggest moments you want to share with family, and I was able to do that.”

I always see the blurry image of a much younger me, sitting courtside, a passenger on the wild ride as a football writer for The Tennessean who lucked into a front-row seat for a slice of basketball history. I was just a few seats away from Valparaiso’s play-by-play man, Todd Ickow, and still remember him shouting near the top of his lungs, “The child performs one other miracle!” towards the mosh pit of humanity celebrating a miracle just a few ft away with present Baylor assistant, then Valpo freshman guard, Jared Nuness on the highest.

Apologies to Ickow if these weren’t the precise phrases, nevertheless it’s how I’ll at all times bear in mind it, how I inform the story, even when people have heard it and roll their eyes once more.

Bryce Drew has his Grand Canyon crew at Ball Area, and the Western Athletic Convention champs will face Gonzaga on Friday in drive time (7:35 p.m. ET). Scott Drew has his Baylor crew at Ball as nicely, because the Bears will face UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s first recreation on web site (1:30 p.m. ET). Their dad, Homer, and their mother, Janet, will likely be within the seats.

“I know they get asked a lot more than I do,” Scott Drew said of his brother and his dad. “On the identical time I do know my dad, a Corridor of Fame coach. It was nice Valpo’s platform grew loads. … My dad is anyone who would not care about accolades, awards, he simply needs to serve his gamers and at all times has, at all times does, nonetheless does to today, with jobs, marital, profession recommendation, something. It was nice as an enormous brother to see your little brother hit that shot, nice to listen to folks speak positively about your dad.

“… None of our guys were born when Bryce hit that shot. That makes me feel old.”

Sports moments are funny in some ways, often combinations of ultimate goals fulfilled and some burden as well. Current Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller has often said, in quiet moments, he will always cherish having had his best athletic day as a Super Bowl MVP but that there is a part of him that feels differently. “You sit and it is every part you dreamed about, whenever you’re a child and the clock goes 3, 2, 1,” he said. “However there is part of you, , the place you do not need that to be the best level. You need it once more. Possibly you get it, perhaps you do not, nevertheless it’s at all times part of you and a bit of piece of you that does not need it to be it, ?”

My dad, who has been gone since 1995 as a result of most cancers sucks, used to chortle that I saved each credential of each recreation, each season, each occasion, even just a few with “Daily Illini” typed across them. And then he’d ask me to pull a few out, see if I could remember something about the teams and the dates printed on the front.

I dug out the Oklahoma City credential this week. It still looks good, the sticker with my name still a little crooked, No. 283 from whatever pile it was in before it was handed to me. And for that one, it was easy to remember something — the pass, the shot, the mayhem, joy and athletic sorrow at an intersection with a wood floor.

“We by no means dreamt it will be 25 years later … only a particular time, a particular reminiscence,” Bryce Drew mentioned. “It was some time in the past. When it is an anniversary, they [usually] do not give it a quantity. … Appears loads older whenever you put a quantity on it.”