Best Buzzer Beaters in New York Basketball History

November 6, 2014

By: Andrew Horowitz


Is there a more exciting moment in all of sports than a buzzer beater? It is a moment that elicits sheer joy, happiness, and emotion out of basketball fans around the world. Throughout New York sports history there have been many incredible buzzer beaters. Ranging from high school, to college, to professional hoops, let us take a look at some awe-inspiring buzzer beating moments.

Mount Vernon High School vs. New Rochelle High School
New Rochelle Wins the Section 1 Class AA Championship

Let’s set the stage. New Rochelle was down by 2 points to Mount Vernon and was inbounding from underneath their own basket with 2.9 seconds on the clock. The initial pass was stolen by a Mount Vernon player at half court, and he threw the ball in the air to run out the clock. All of a sudden, Khalil Edney, initially the New Rochelle inbound passer, skied into the picture, grabbed the ball in midair and simultaneously flung a 55-foot shot at the buzzer and drilled it. Mass chaos ensued. The refs didn’t know if he got it off in time and both teams started to celebrate. Eventually, the referees huddled up and decided to count the basket. Replay later confirmed that Edney released the ball with .1 seconds on the clock. Amazingly, that was the first three pointer he made all season. People around the country took notice. A YouTube video of the shot currently has over 3 million views, Khalil was interviewed on ESPN, NBC, and ABC, and New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith retweeted the clip on Twitter. Edney put the moment into perspective a few hours after the shot, “I can’t believe it happened. I’m in shock right now.” Edney was right, it was an absolutely shocking way for New Rochelle to win a section championship.

 

Syracuse University vs. University of Pittsburgh
Syracuse Remains Undefeated

Syracuse was off to the best start in school history, 23-0, breaking their previous 20-0 start to the 2011-2012 season. However, win 24 seemed nearly out of reach especially considering that the Pittsburgh Panthers hadn’t lost against a top-five team in their home arena, the Petersen Events Center. Down by 1 point with 4.4 seconds left in the game, freshman point guard Tyler Ennis weaved through two defenders and launched a 35-foot prayer at the buzzer. Legendary Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game, “When he shot it, I saw his release and when I saw the ball, I thought it was going in.”  It did go in, and the Syracuse players and coaches swarmed Tyler as he ran down the court. Although Syracuse would eventually lose in their 26th game and sputter down the stretch, Tyler’s shot is still the resounding moment from the 2013-2014 season. Tyler’s teammate C.J. Fair put the shot in perspective, “He came up with a play to go down in history.”
                            
New York Liberty vs. Houston Comets
Liberty Force a Game 3 in the 1999 WNBA Finals

The Houston crowd was on their feet ready to celebrate the Comets’ third straight WNBA championship.  The New York Liberty were down by 2 points with only 2.4 seconds left and in need of a miracle. They had no timeouts left and needed to go the length of the court to tie or win the game. Luckily, Theresa Weatherspoon, a women’s basketball legend, was feeling miraculous. She caught the ball, took a few dribbles, and launched a 50-footer at the buzzer. The shot clanked off the backboard and right through the net, sending New York players into an absolute frenzy. Weatherspoon fell to the ground smiling, as her teammates mobbed her at center court. The moment is one of the most memorable in the 17 year history of the WNBA, even though the Liberty would lose to the Comets in Game 3.  Play-by-play announcer Mike Breen had a great live reaction to the shot, “Liberty out of timeouts. They've got to go the length of the floor. Weatherspoon at the buzzer a three...OHHHHHHHHHH! She put it in! She put it in! And the Liberty win game two! What a finish!”
                                    
New Jersey Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Nets Snap a 5 Game Losing Streak

Although this buzzer beater took place while the Nets were still in New Jersey, now that the Nets are in Brooklyn we are going to put this wild shot on the list. The Nets were down by 1 point with 1.8 seconds to go on the clock and no timeouts left. They inbounded the ball to point guard Devin Harris who was promptly stripped by 76ers defensive stalwart Andre Iguodala. Harris quickly recovered the basketball and flicked the ball in a fluid motion from mid-court. The ball swished through the net, but officials called the basket off. The referees spent over two minutes reviewing the play and eventually reversed the call. Upon review, the ball left Devin’s hands a millisecond before the buzzer went off. It was an absolutely outrageous shot and the highlight of the Nets 2008-2009 season. Lawrence Frank, Nets head coach at the time, tried his best to put into words what happened. “It’s the great thing about this game. The players are so talented, they make freakish shots. I don’t know if Devin’s doing it in the gym, but the basketball gods were with us tonight.”

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat
Knicks Stun Miami in the Playoffs

The 1999 regular season was a disappointment for the New York Knicks.  They didn’t meet expectations and snuck into the playoffs as the 8th seed after surviving injuries to Latrell Sprewell and Patrick Ewing. However, everything changed in the playoffs. All of a sudden the Knicks were clicking on both sides of the ball, and they gave themselves a chance to knock off their rival and the number 1 seeded Miami Heat. Down by 1 point with 4.5 seconds on the clock, the Knicks inbounded the ball to shooting guard Allan Houston. He took one dribble and exploded towards the hoop with a running one-handed shot. The ball bounced directly off of the front of the rim, hit the backboard, and went through the net, giving the Knicks a one-point lead and a series victory. The Knicks were only the second 8th seed in NBA history to knock off a number 1 seed. After Houston hit the shot, he memorably ran down the court in excitement and furiously punched the air in jubilation. The Knicks used the momentum from Houston’s shot to catapult them to the NBA Finals, where they eventually lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Although they didn’t win a championship that season, Allan’s shot remains one of the most memorable in NBA history. In his own words, “Anything can happen.”

 

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