Freshman guard Kwame Vaughn was fouled with 0.6 seconds left in overtime and the score was tied at 66. As Vaughn went up to shoot his first free throw, my heartbeat went up and I hoped that Vaughn would make this shot. However, he missed. I thought that Vaughn would miss the second shot and the game would go into double overtime. I thought that the agreement I made with two of my friends to storm the court if the Dons won would have to wait. I thought our cheers of “Dons ride horses” and “Buck the Froncos” were premature and that they jinxed the Dons’ chances of winning. As Vaughn went to shoot his second free throw, I had high hopes that he would make it. Vaughn made the second free throw to give the Dons the 67 to 66 lead. We, meaning Los Locos, waited until Santa Clara put up the last shot of the game before storming the court.
Since Santa Clara missed the shot, we stormed the court. I have seen students at other colleges storm the court after games, especially in games where there was an upset, but I never thought that I would get the chance to do this at War Memorial Gym since, in my opinion, the Dons wouldn’t be able to pull off an upset (with the exception of the Dons almost upsetting nationally-ranked Gonzaga on Feb. 14).
I went to the game thinking that Santa Clara would beat the Dons, that Santa Clara had a huge advantage over the Dons. The Dons suited only eight players since a few players were suspended; Santa Clara, in comparison, had 13 players on their squad. Before the 67 to 66 overtime loss, Santa Clara had a seven-game winning streak over the Dons. The last time that the Dons beat Santa Clara was on January 28, 2006. This victory also gives the Dons their second WCC victory of the season.
This was the best game I watched since I started attending USF in the 2006 fall semester. I thought that the Dons played well in the first half, even though their stats say otherwise. Although Santa Clara had a six-point lead at halftime, the Dons came back in the second half to tie the game to force the game into overtime. During the second half, I thought that the Dons didn’t have a chance to win. With Blake Wallace fouling out of the game in the second half, I thought that the Dons would lose now that they had seven players. But somehow the pulled off the improbable and won the game with an undermanned team. Pulling off the win against Santa Clara only added to the greatness of this game.
I think that this game has revived USF’s rivalry with Santa Clara. This was the last home game of the season and, to the say the least, I thought it was a memorable game. I have high hopes that the Dons can use this win as momentum to win their last two games of the season.