The story of Mamadi Diakite's 'The Shot'

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- When Ty Jerome's second free throw came off the rim, Virginia needed a lot to happen to come away with a win and fortunately for the Wahoos a lot happened.

Virginia's Mamadi Diakite (25) shoots over Purdue's Matt Haarms (32) at the buzzer to end the second half of the men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional final game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Diakite made the shot to force overtime. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

ESPN's win probability gave the Cavaliers only a nine percent chance of winning over Purdue, just enough to cover for a Mamadi Diakite top out, a Kihei Clark pass and of course Diakite's game-tying shot.

A moment that even days later seems so improbable and shot that not even the man who made it could explain.

"I don't know, it happened," Diakite said moments after stepping off the court, "I was the person who was designed to take it. And I don't know. I took it, and it went in."

Within 5.9 seconds the Wahoos went from another disappointing end to their season to having a chance in overtime to fight for that coveted Final Four appearance.

"I was celebrating," sophomore guard De'Andre Hunter said, who went on to make the eventual go-ahead layup in overtime for the Wahoos 80-75 win over Purdue. "But I didn't want to celebrate too much because I didn't know if it counted or not, so I was just waiting to see if it counted."

"I was hoping it counted," Virginia Associate Head Coach Jason Williford said, "All I was worried about is it good, is it good?"

"I was ninety-nine percent sure it counted," junior guard Ty Jerome said, "So I jumped up in the air for a second and then I looked up at the clock and it said five minutes and I was like we got to re-focus, we got re-focus and get ready for overtime."

But with those stakes on the line, even the former Blue Ridge standout's prep Coach Cade Lemcke was surprised to see the ball in Diakite's hands.

"This is either going to be a great moment or he's going to miss and he's going to be devastated," Lemcke said, "But you like to think that maybe Kihei knew and made the smart play."

Lemcke watched 20 rows up from the UVA bench, just as nervous as any other fan.

"As a coach its very similar to almost being a parent and its tough to enjoy those games." Lemcke said, "Its easy to enjoy after the game, but in the moment of those games you're as nervous as anyone."

As the celebration quieted down Lemcke was able to share a moment with the big man at the team hotel as the first Baron to make it to a Final Four.

"Just how proud I was of him and that Blue Ridge School was of him to be in that moment and to own that moment, to make the most of that moment," Lemcke said.

As for the shot itself, there is little doubt where Diakite stands in UVA history.

"Its got to be one of the biggest," Williford said, "For him to have the composure to get it up there and get it off in time, that was big. He'll go down in UVA history that's for sure."



 
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