Editor’s note: The Dayton Flyers start the season Nov. 11. In the 26 days leading to the opener, the Dayton Daily News will explore different aspects of the program in the A-Z Guide to Dayton Basketball. This is the second installment. B: Buzzer beaters and big shots.
The Dayton Flyers took 1,781 shots from the field last season. In head coach Archie Miller’s five seasons, UD has attempted 7,315 field goals.
How many will stand the test of time and stick in the minds of the Flyer Faithful for decades to come? Maybe five. Maybe 10. A slim percentage of that big number will live in the pantheon next to the most famous shots in Dayton history.
No one knows better than WHIO’s Larry Hansgen. The voice of the Flyers, entering his 34th season, has seen every one of those shots, most with his longtime radio partner Bucky Bockhorn on his side. Hansgen knows buzzer beaters and big shots better than anyone.
Here’s his take on what it’s like to call them, what shots from his career stand out the most and who you might expect to hit the next big shot for a team that has seen 26 games in the last three season decided by three points or fewer.
Hansgen: Players dream of making the play, coaches can only remember the ones that broke their heart, fans replay the winners over and over, and for a broadcaster, a buzzer beater is a chance to be a part of a team’s history.
I was very fortunate in just my second season of calling UD games to be behind the mike for The Shot. Ed Young jumps off the wrong foot, on the right side of the basket, and the lefty banks in a game winner over DePaul. It happened so fast that I was afraid that I had frozen, and not said a word. I took the cassette tape of the game out to my car afterwards and listened back just to make sure. CBS ended up using that call during their promos of the NCAA tournament.
I had a bit of déjà vu in 2014 when I was running on a treadmill in the hotel fitness room in Buffalo, and saw Vee Sanford’s shot vs. Ohio State with my call over top of it. Other dramatic finishes come to mind: Dave Colbert’s put-back to beat DePaul in 1985; Brooks Hall’s winner against Villanova in 2003; and Devin Oliver’s banked in 3-pointer to beat Ole Miss in overtime in 2013. Jordan Sibert sandwiched his UD Arena career with a buzzer beater against IPFW in his first game and the game-winning shot vs. Boise State in the 2015 NCAA tournament.
Sometimes it is not the usual suspects who hit that clutch shot. Kyle Davis is best known for his defense, but he saved Dayton’s bacon vs. Miami last season and if not for him, Dayton doesn’t cut down the nets with the A-10 clinching win over VCU.
So who will get to add his name alongside that of Young, Sanford and Sibert in Flyer lore? Charles Cooke is a good bet to hit a big shot, but the guy who I think will create a memory for fans, is the player who will have the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Look for a Scoochie Smith buzzer beater this season.