TAMPA – On the day he sank the biggest shot of his life, Princeton junior guard Douglas Davis made what he considered his biggest mistake ever.
Not the shot itself, of course. He wouldn't take that back in a million years. Davis' buzzer-beating basket made the difference Saturday in a 63-62 Ivy League playoff win over Harvard that sent Princeton to its first NCAA tournament since 2004.
But just after he released the ball, an off-balance Davis fell to the floor. He wouldn't get back up for quite some time.
"Biggest mistake I've ever made," Davis said Wednesday on the eve of Princeton's NCAA tournament game with Kentucky at the St. Pete Times Forum. "I leaned back, faded and fell, and it was right by the student section. They just came running, and I looked up and there were like 100 people just diving.
"It felt good for a minute, and then after a while my legs are caught under these big football players. I'm [saying], ‘Please get off me,' but nobody could hear me. I think [freshman swingman] Ben Hazel could hear me screaming, but he was in no position to get off me, either, so he was laughing at me."
Princeton trailed 62-61 with 2.8 seconds left Saturday when Davis caught an inbounds pass along the baseline, dribbled toward the key, leaned to his left to avoid a defender and made an off-balance, 15-foot jumper just as time expired.
His life hasn't been quite the same since.
"It's been exciting," Davis said. "It's been weird. I can't really explain it. It's crazy. I watched it a lot – 2.8 seconds left; it seems like I did a whole lot in 2.8 seconds, the dribble and everything like that. It's crazy."
Davis isn't accustomed to this kind of attention because he's rarely been in this position. Although he scored more than 1,000 points in his high school career at three schools in Philadelphia and Princeton, N.J., Davis remembers making "maybe one" buzzer-beater. He was the fourth-leading scorer for Princeton this season.
Now that he's a little more experienced in such matters, Davis knows what to expect. If he makes a buzzer-beater Thursday to stun Kentucky, Davis won't fall down.
"Run out of the gym," Davis said. "That's what I'll do. I'll hit it and run out of the gym."