Great moments in Raider history: The Shot
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When you say “The Shot” around the Nutter Center, Raider fans remember Delme Herriman draining a last-second shot to knock Xavier out of the 1995 conference tournament.
The nationally ranked Xavier Musketeers came to Fairborn on March 4, 1995 as huge favorites to win the conference tournament. But Head Coach Ralph Underhill’s WSU squad and a jam-packed Nutter Center weren’t going to go down without a fight.
“It was a huge crowd,” then Assistant Coach Jim Brown said. “The place was over 9,000 fans and Xavier brought a lot of people too.”
Despite two close losses to Xavier in the regular season, the Raiders believed they stood a chance against the Musketeers in the tournament.
“We felt like we had a shot at winning it,” Brown said. “It was on our home court, and that’s a big advantage.”
While the game was close throughout, disaster seemed to strike the Raiders when future NBA lottery pick Vitaly Potapenko fouled out, leaving WSU vulnerable in the post.
“Vitaly got his fourth foul with about eight minutes to go, and Ralph (Underhill) and I were debating about leaving him in or taking him out,” Brown said. “We weren’t ahead by much and we decided to keep him in, and about 30 seconds later he fouled out. It was a deflating feeling.”
WSU survived without Potapenko, but Xavier had the ball and a 70-69 lead with only 32.8 seconds remaining. Solid defense and a little bit of luck forced a Xavier turnover with only three seconds to go and after a botched in-bounds play, WSU was left with one second to go the length of the court.
“All the coaches are screaming from the bench ‘Home run! Home run!’ Our guys ran to the exact positions and then John (Ramey) threw that perfect pass,” Brown said.
Delme Herriman somehow caught the pass, turned around and sank the jumper, giving WSU the 71-70 victory and sending the Nutter Center crowd into a frenzy.
“It was pandemonium,” Brown said. “Xavier was just stunned. I just remember the look on (Xavier Head Coach) Skip Prosser’s face. He was stunned.”
“It was like it was in slow motion,” Herriman said. “I was so thankful. It was years of pent up frustrations and hard work, and I felt so privileged I got the opportunity to finally put myself and WSU on the map.”
Many of the WSU fans stuck around to watch the next tournament game and showed their appreciation when Herriman walked in.
“There were other games playing after our game that night, and when I had showered and came back into the arena to watch the other games, the whole crowd of 7,000 all stood up and gave me a standing ovation,” Herriman said. “It was the proudest moment of my life.”
The victory sent Underhill to his knees at half court in an emotional celebration.
“When you end a game like that, it’s so emotional,” Brown said. “Your emotions just take over.”
“The Shot” still stands out as one of the most iconic moments in WSU basketball history and is frequently shown at games. It was also CNN’s play of the day and was showcased on national television.
“It was one of the greatest moments of Wright State history,” Brown said.