Saturday evening, Tomas Woldetensae etched his name in Virginia basketball lore as the third-year junior college transfer canned a game-winning corner three to beat North Carolina on the road. The big shot came after a foul from Woldetensae sent UNC’s Christian Keeling to the line for three free throws, and the Tar Heel hit all three to take a slim, one-point lead with 10 seconds remaining.
Then Woldetensae did this:
“Such a big emotional swing for sure,” Woldetensae said post-game. “I mean, at first I thought I lost it for my teammates, and then I had the chance to redeem myself.”
Woldo’s shot got us thinking...what are the best buzzer-beaters in the Bennett era? We only counted field goals (sorry, Kyle Guy vs. Auburn), and they had to come with five or fewer seconds on the clock to make the actual rankings.
Let’s get to it!
Honorable Mention: London Perrantes vs. Cal (2015)
The original Cali Cool point guard canned a big three in overtime against the Bears in the Charlottesville meeting between the two squads. Perrantes shot 48.7% from three for the season, good for 6th in the country.
Honorable Mention: De’Andre Hunter vs. Texas Tech (2019)
THIS WAS A BIG ONE. Hunter calmly hit a corner three to tie the title game against Texas Tech, forcing an overtime period that gave the Cavaliers its first National Championship (in basketball, that is). Kind of an important shot. But, with 13 seconds left on the clock, outside the restrictions of this post.
5. Malcolm Brogdon vs. Pitt (2014)
This shot often seems to get lost in the shuffle when talking about buzzer beaters. It was the first ever game-winning shot for Brogdon and was in the middle of a 13-game winning streak in ACC play during the 2014 season.
Plus, it led to one of my favorite postgame moments ever:
4. Tomas Woldetensae vs. North Carolina (2020)
The top-3 of this list are just too bonkers to fall behind Saturday’s shot, but Woldetensae’s game-winner was big nonetheless. Over the past six games, Woldetensae is 24-for-52 (46%) from three.
3. Darius Thompson vs. Wake Forest (2016)
When this shot is No. 3, you know No. 1 and No. 2 are going to be nuts (and honestly you probably have already figured out what they are). The Hoos were down seven with 20 seconds to play, but used frantic threes from Marial Shayok and Brogdon — along with some missed free throws from the Deacs — to get within one with four seconds left. Cue Darius Thompson.
2. De’Andre Hunter vs. Louisville (2018)
HAHAHAHAHAHHA. Louisville fans hate Virginia so much.
1. Mamadi Diakite vs. Purdue (2019)
This play still seems just unbelievable. How did this happen? This is one of the most iconic moments in college basketball, and I can’t stop watching it. Virginia vs. Purdue was arguably the best game of the tournament as both teams played incredibly, and it was body blow after body blow. What a play, what a shot, what a game.
Any we missed? What’s your ranking? Leave a comment below.