Gay’s buzzer beater puts down the Rams

by Edward Lewis

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SDSU vs. Colorado State

Courtesy of Michael Bettis of The Rocky Mountain Collegian

D.J. Gay took the inbounds pass, dribbled down the court, jab stepped right and then broke left.

With less than two seconds on the clock, his San Diego State men’s basketball team was in jeopardy. His No. 6 / 7 squad was about to head into overtime with an unranked, scrappy foe.

But Gay, SDSU’s senior captain, leader and perhaps most important player, stepped back and fired up a shot.

Buckets.

Gay’s buzzer beater with 1.8 seconds left on the clock took down Colorado State, 56-54, in Fort Collins, Colo., last night and moved SDSU to 22-1 this season, keeping the Aztecs in a tie with BYU for first place in the Mountain West Conference standings.

“I had a gut feel,” head coach Steve Fisher said to AM 600 KOGO after the game. “‘Let them play, D.J. will not do something foolish, worst-case scenario we’re going into overtime. Let’s see if we can get something out of the flow before they can set a defense.’ And boy he did a great job just pushing it hard.”

SDSU had the lead, 54-52, and wouldn’t have needed Gay’s last-second heroics if it had just gotten one final stop on the defensive end with less than a minute to go. But the Aztecs let Colorado State’s Travis Franklin drive to the hole and bury a layup with 10 seconds remaining.
That set the table for Gay. He calmly grabbed the ball, raced up the court and shot the dagger through the net and through the hearts of the sellout CSU crowd.

Just get the ball out as fast as I can and not let the defense get set,” Gay told The Mtn. after the game about what was going through his head on the final play. “I had no idea if the coaches were going to call a timeout or not but I wanted the chance to get a great shot off and we did.”

Added Fisher: “He did a great job driving it down and made a shot that D.J. Gay would take and make most of the time.”

Outside of the final few seconds, not much went right for SDSU last night. Before his last-second miracle, Gay only had four points. Superstar senior forward Malcolm Thomas only had six, and the three other starters, Chase Tapley, Billy White and Kawhi Leonard only combined for 26. The whole team managed to rack up 18 fouls and allowed the Rams to shoot 22 free throws.

But luckily for SDSU, CSU was just as sloppy. It made just 14 of its 22 free throws and shot just 36.5 percent from the floor.

“This was a tough, hard-fought game and you take a deep breath and you feel good about yourself if you walk out of here with a victory,” Fisher said. “And that’s what we’re doing.”

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