Great moments in Raider history: men’s basketball beats Miami (OH) in ’07 buzzer beater
Defense was the name of the game for former Wright State basketball Head Coach Brad Brownell.
In December 2007, it was defense that sparked a wild comeback against the rival Miami Redhawks.
After a rough first half in which the Raiders found themselves on the losing end of a 44-28 score, Brownell told his team the game would be won on the defensive side of the ball, not the offensive side.
“They hit everything in the first half,” then WSU freshman Cooper Land said. “I remember Coach Brownell telling us at halftime to just relax and to trust the game plan, and that eventually those guys (Miami) would come down to earth a little bit.”
While Miami didn’t technically hit everything in that first half, the Redhawks shot nearly 74% and hit six three-pointers to take a commanding lead at halftime.
“We played about as bad as we could have in the first half, and Coach Brownell sure let us know about it at halftime,” then WSU sophomore Vaughn Duggins said. “We could have either come out in the second half and gave up or try and claw our way back, and that’s what we did.”
The comeback took place in a slow and methodical pace in a game where only two fast break points were scored between the teams.
WSU held Miami to 5-21 shooting in the second half and eventually tied the game with 1:47 to play. But the Raiders gave up the lead with five seconds to go courtesy of a jumper by Miami’s Kenny Hayes.
In a game dominated by defensive efforts, the Raiders needed some offensive magic to complete the comeback. They had five seconds to go and the length of the court to travel to survive.
Duggins found teammate Todd Brown in the corner near the team bench for the game winning three-pointer, which completed the comeback and sent the Nutter Center into a frenzy.
“We called a timeout and ran a play where I was going to get the ball and see if I could get it up the court fast enough and make a play,” Duggins said. “I split two defenders at half court and another defender stepped up, and it just so happened that it was Todd’s man. He (Todd) doesn’t need much room to get his shot off anyways, and I passed him the ball in the corner and he let it fly.”
Then freshman Troy Tabler, who led the team with 14 points, recalled the excitement of the game winner.
“I remember seeing N’Gai (Evans) run out on the floor first and almost tackle Todd,” Tabler said.
It was the second year in a row WSU beat Miami on a buzzer beater after DaShaun Wood hit a game winner with 0.2 seconds remaining at Miami the previous season.
“When it went in, it was the best feeling in the world,” Duggins said. “Pure joy.”