Game Saver: Desmond Wade hits game-winning three with 1.9 seconds left
One second left on the clock, fans at the very edge of their seats – will this begin the season for the Stags with a loss to hometown rivals?
The shot is up, fans are on their feet and there it is: the three point shot that everyone saw in their minds but did not actually think would happen.
Senior Desmond Wade proved to the Webster Bank Arena and to himself that what he has been practicing every day for has paid off.
The 2012-2013 season began with an extremely close match for the Fairfield University Stags, who played on Friday against University of Bridgeport, where Wade’s three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left, gave the Stags the 54-52 edge.
The Bridgeport game is an annual scrimmage, which allows the teams to come together after the first months of practicing find out what they need to improve upon.
This year however, the game took on more meaning. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which hit Bridgeport and Fairfield exceptionally hard, the game was a chance for Fairfield county residents to get away from the disaster.
“There is power out and homes damaged and that’s kind of hard to stomach. [Bridgeport] represented their city well, and I thought we represented Fairfield well too,” said Fairfield Head Coach Sydney Johnson.
But, of course, there was still basketball to be played and squads to be sorted out.
Freshman Josip Mikulic, Derek Needham ’13, Desmond Wade ’13, Keith Matthews ’14, and Maurice Barrow ’14, got the nod from Johnson with the start.
The game started slowly, as both teams had to work out initial kinks. The first shot of the contest was made three minutes in by the Purple Knights, which unfortunately for the Stags set the tone for the rest of the first half.
The Stags went into half trailing by 14 points.
When they came out of the locker room to begin the second half, the Stags came out onto the court ready to show that their efforts in the first were to be forgotten and they were going to put up a different performance in the second.
“We got down but we didn’t quite. That’s important. I know Bridgeport is a Division II team, but they’re a good one,” Johnson told The Mirror after the game.
With a steady momentum, the Stags caught up towards the end of the period.
Needham made a crucial three-point shot with two minutes left, and the Stags took over the lead for the next minute.
With only several seconds left on the clock, Wade was given the ball at the top of the arc.
With a move that seemed questionable while it was happening, Wade set up to take a three-point shot.
Like a scene out of a movie, Wade shot up a three with 1.9 seconds left, which brought the score to 54-52, which is how the game would end.
After the game, when coach Johnson was asked about Wade’s three, he laughed saying “he’s made a couple of big shots since I’ve been here. We were actually just talking about that in the locker room.
Each player had his own expectations towards the game and the anticipated result, but no one could’ve seen that the match was going to be as closely played as it was.
“We’re going to fix this. We’re going to be facing teams who are more experienced than we are. But we have our five guys, with our three seniors and two juniors who have been around the block,” said Johnson.
The Stags still have a long way to come, but they proved that even under the pressure, they could still put their noses to the grindstone themselves and come out on top.