Nevada beat New Mexico on Saturday night, 105-104 in overtime. But it was how the teams ended up in overtime to begin with that has the college basketball world buzzing.
Nevada overcame an enormous deficit just to force overtime. They trailed by 25 with 11 minutes to play in the second half, by 19 points with four minutes to go, and maybe most incredibly, New Mexico still led by 14 with just over a minute to play and even had the ball.
At the end of the day, the two teams had the perfect formula for a historic comeback. The team with the lead (New Mexico) is not good at shooting free throws and the team behind (Nevada) is good at making threes. But even then, the two teams needed a perfect storm, and they got it.
The comeback started with just over a minute to play. New Mexico had the ball with a 14-point lead. Nevada’s Jordan Caroline stole the ball, leading to a Charlie Tooley three-pointer. While it still felt like New Mexico was in control, less than 60 seconds later, the game would be tied.
At this point, it became a standard final minute of a basketball game. Nevada chucked up a bunch of threes and then fouled New Mexico. Unfortunately for the Lobos, they couldn’t make their free throws.
New Mexico shot just 6-16 from the free-throw line in the final 4.5 minutes and 4-10 in the final minute.
But even with the missed free throws, Nevada still had to make their threes. Even one miss and their night would have likely been doomed. So they just didn’t miss.
Nevada made their final seven three-pointers during regulation including 6-6 in the final 70 seconds. And they weren’t easy shots either. They were almost all from long range.
But Nevada still needed one more ingredient for the Perfect Storm of a comeback – luck, and they got it. They were even banking in three pointers. This one made it a three-point game with 18 seconds to play.
After all that, New Mexico still had a shot to make it a two-possession game with under 17 seconds to go. Instead, they missed another free throw, opening the door for Nevada to tie the game.
Boom! Marcus Marshall banked in another long-range shot and it was a tie game. A 14-point lead disappeared in 60 seconds. New Mexico would miss their final attempt – their first shot in 90 seconds – and it was off to overtime the teams went.
Nevada would outscore New Mexico 11-10 in overtime and win the game.