One buzzer beater is typically enough to turn an ordinary game into a memorable one, but VMI did a bit better than that.
The Keydets sank three game-tying shots at the buzzer on Wednesday night against Gardner Webb before pulling away in the fourth overtime for a 108-104 victory in the longest game in Division I basketball this season.
The first came via guard Brian Brown, who got his defender in the air with a shot fake and sank a 3-pointer as time expired at the end of regulation to tie the score at 73. Up next was senior forward D.J. Covington, who caught a inbound lob in the paint in the final seconds of double overtime and sank a short jump shot to beat the buzzer and extend the game.
The final one was the most improbable. VMI needed to go the length of the floor after a Naji Hibbert jump shot put Gardner Webb up two with 1.7 seconds left in triple overtime, but Covington caught a baseball pass at the top of the key, drew a crowd of defenders and fed wide-open Tim Marshall under the basket for a game-tying layup.
“Bless my guys. I just kept telling them to believe," VMI coach Duggar Baucom said. "Some of those overtimes, we were completely out of it. Miraculous things had to happen and they did. I am super proud of my guys.
"I told the guys when we went to the fourth overtime that someone was watching out for us. Tonight we had guys who hadn't been real visible and that came up and were extremely valuable."
Covington scored a game-high 28 points to lead VMI, but three of his teammates also tallied 20 or more points and the seldom-used Marshall had 11. VMI improved to 13-9 overall and 6-3 in the Big South, good enough for a first-place tie with High Point in the league's Northern Division.