In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
With 4.8 seconds left, UCLA, the top-ranked team in the nation, is in danger of not making it to the Sweet 16, as they trail #8 seed Missouri 74-73 in a second-round game in Boise. The Tigers who held an eight-point lead at the half had just taken the lead on a layup by Julian Winfield. Receiving an inbound from Cameron Dollar, Tyus Edney went the length of the court and hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to win the game for the Bruins 75-74. UCLA would go on twin the NCAA Tournament.
It had been two decades since the end of the great UCLA dynasty. Since John Wooden retired following a 12-year stretch in which the Bruins won the NCAA Tournament ten times. In the 20-years since, UCLA appeared in the Final Four twice, with their best showing coming in 1980 when they lost the championship game to Louisville. At 25-2, UCLA had their best season since Wooden retired, entering the NCAA Tournament, ranked #1 in the country for coach Jim Harrick.
UCLA was the #1 seed in the Western Regional, playing in Boise for the first two rounds. In the first round, the Bruins quickly dispatched #16 Florida International 92-56. Missouri coached by Norm Stewart was the #8 seed in the West after posting a record of 19-8. In the first round, the Tigers faced a tough task, beating #9 Indiana 65-60.
On a Sunday Afternoon in Boise, the fans were on the side of the underdog Missouri Tigers as they came out strong against #1 UCLA. The Bruins had rarely been tested all season, as they were at the top of the rankings, all-season losing two games. One of those losses would later be vacated as California was then found guilty of NCAA infractions. Led by Paul O’Liney, Missouri started strong and controlled the first half, building a 42-34 lead at the half. The Bruins made their run in the second half as Ed O’Bannon had a strong second half.
It was clear the game was going down to the wire, as UCLA held a 73-72 lead with the Tigers holding the ball in the final seconds. Missouri was able to penetrate the Bruins defense, with Julian Winfield hitting the go-ahead basket with 4.8 seconds left. All eyes were on Boise, as just 4.8 seconds stood between Missouri and the Sweet 16. UCLA would have one chance to save their season. Cameron Dollar handled the inbound pass to Tyus Edney. With most looking towards Ed O’Bannon, who had a game-high 24 points, Edney was able to dribble the ball from coast-to-coast. Instead of looking to pass, Tyus Edney put the ball up at the buzzer in the middle of the lane. The ball would through the hope, touching off a wild celebration for UCLA. Edney had finished the game with 15 points, but none would ever be bigger than the last-second shot.
Following their 75-74 win, UCLA hit a second gear in the Western Regionals in Oakland, beating #5 Mississippi State 86-67 in the Sweet 16. In the Elite Eight, UCLA would edge #2 UCONN 102-96 to reach the Final Four in Seattle. At the Kingdome, UCLA slammed Oklahoma State 74-61 to reach the championship game where they would take on defending champion Arkansas. Surprisingly the championship game would be easy, as the Bruins beat the Razorbacks 89-78 to win their 11th National Championship.