Even the best Hollywood movie screenwriter couldn’t have written a more perfect ending for Michigan State on Saturday.
Tied at 56-56 with No. 22 Ohio State, Denzel Valentine – yes, really – hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left in regulation to lift the Spartans to a key win on – yes, really – Valentine’s Day.
The shot even left Ohio State coach Thad Matta in awe.
“Give Valentine credit — that was an incredible shot,” he told the Associated Press.
For the Buckeyes, Valentine was quite the heartbreaker.
Here’s a look at several other heartbreakers from this past Weekend of Love:
Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon
Brogdon broke the hearts of upset-minded Wake Forest on Saturday, as he forced a turnover that sealed a one-point victory for the Cavaliers. Wake had rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit and had possession with a chance to win the game, but Brogdon forced Codi Miller-McIntyre into a steal as he attempted to drive the lane. Virginia held on, 61-60.
Arkansas’ Manuale Watkins
Ole Miss was also looking to pull off an upset on Saturday, but fell short thanks to Watkins. He hit a jumper with 6.4 seconds to play to give the No. 24 Razorbacks a 71-70 victory. Ole Miss had won six-straight games entering the contest.
Villanova’s Darrun Hilliard
It was quite the battle at Hinkle on Saturday between No. 6 Villanova and No. 18 Butler … but Hilliard was clutch for the Cats when he needed to be, hitting a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to play, breaking a 65-65 tie and breaking the Bulldogs’ hearts.
Georgia’s Nemanja Djurisic
Oh, Georgia. The Bulldogs pulled within a point of Auburn on Saturday on a 3-pointer by Kenny Gaines with less than 2 seconds to play, then an epic in-bounds play fail by Auburn gave the home team possession and a chance to win the game. But Djurisic’s shot as time expired missed, and Georgia fell one point short, 69-68.
Tulane’s Jonathan Stark
A 30-foot buzzer-beater at the buzzer? No problem for Stark, who hit one Saturday evening as Tulane shocked Cincinnati, 50-49. Not only was it a heartbreaker, the loss was a serious hit to Cincy’s fading tournament hopes.
North Texas’ DeAndre Harris
Darn you, DeAndre Harris. Darn you. This one hits a bit close to home. North Texas trailed by 19 at one point in the second half, but his free throws at the end of the game lifted North Texas to the upset win over our Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Saturday. Sigh. Our hearts are broken as well.
Robert Morris’ Aaron Tate
Have to give a shout-out to my alma mater, as a tip-in by Tate at the buzzer lingered on the rim (seemingly forever!) but dropped to give the Colonials a 53-52 win at home over Central Connecticut State, breaking the hearts of the Blue Devils, who were searching for just their fourth win of the season. CCSU had led through the entire second half until Tate’s heroics.