Buster 2008 & 2009

2008

  • 2008: #12 Western Kentucky vs #5 Drake (101-99 OT 1st Rnd)

The Hilltoppers were playing winning basketball entering the tournament having won 17 of their last 18 games. Their opponent, the Drake Bulldogs, were playing equally impressive basketball in which they set a school record with 28 wins and carried a 21 game winning streak from November to early February. The Bulldogs were ranked 14th in the nation and hadn’t been to the big dance in 37 years. It was evenly played throughout much of the first half but Western Kentucky closed the half on an 8-1 run and lead 47-38. The Hilltoppers picked up where they left off and increased the lead to 16 points with about 12 minutes left in regulation. The Bulldogs gradually chipped away and with 30 seconds left hit a 3 pointer to tie it at 88-88. The game would go to overtime where both teams would trade baskets and the lead. A total of 30 3 point shots were made between the two teams and none was more dramatic than the game-winner. With only 5.7 seconds left, Drake had the lead at 99-98 and Western Kentucky had to go the length of the floor. The Hilltoppers inbounded the ball to starting guard Tyrone Brazelton who raced up the court before dishing it off to teammate Ty Rogers who let it fly from well beyond the 3 point line. The buzzer sounded as the shot fell through the net and Western Kentucky was moving on to the next round. They would beat #13 San Diego 72-63 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 15 years and the 7th time in school history. The Hilltoppers would then lose to UCLA in the Regional Semifinal but their first round buzzer beater would be one for the ages.


 

2009

  • 2009: #13 Cleveland State vs #4 Wake Forest (84-69 1st Rnd)

The Vikings were making only their 2nd NCAA tournament appearance in school history after receiving an automatic bid by winning the Horizon Conference Tournament for the first time. The Demon Deacons started the season winning their first 16 games and in the process climbed to the top of the rankings. Wake Forest would finish the season going 8-6 and were ranked #12 in the nation entering the tournament. Cleveland State jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back. They led by as many as 17 points in the first half and the closest that Wake Forest would get was 6 points in the second half. The Vikings sailed to victory after a solid performance in which they committed only 6 turnovers while the Demon Deacons had 18. Cleveland State’s upset over Wake Forest was similar to their other tournament appearance 23 years earlier when they knocked off Indiana in the first round as a #14 seed.