Troy Nance: Lucky No. 13
Dec. 5, 2003
Old Dominion had their chances to win their game in regulation Thursday night in Blacksburg, but it didn't happen.
ODU, up most of the game, allowed Tech to come from behind to take an 85-82 lead with 7.5 seconds left. After Hokies' Zabian Dowdell drained two free throws to give VT a three-point edge in the closing seconds, senior guard Troy Nance received a pass on the ensuing play and shot it from 45 feet at the buzzer.
"No one is going to believe this, but we planned that play in the huddle for that situation," Nance said. "We wanted to either win or tie the game with a three."
ODU coach Blaine Taylor drew up a play in a timeout during the late Virginia Tech run that had senior forward John Waller driving to his strong side. If Nance's man would leave for the double team, the 5-10 point guard would be open for a mid-court shot.
The play didn't work until the last play of regulation.
"John got into a little trouble, I called his name, and he got me the ball," Nance said. "I got the ball off without even thinking about it."
"We stuck with the same play, and it seemed to work to perfection."
The 3-point shot forced overtime, and the Monarchs went on to defeat VT, 94-92.
"When the ball left my hands, I knew it was good. I knew we had a second chance and we had to take advantage of it."
According to Nance, who wears no. 13, assistant coach Jim Corrigan had him practice half court shooting before the game.
"At the shoot around, Coach Corrigan told me to practice shooting from the same spot I hit it from the game." he said. "He was just kidding, and I laughed it off and started shooting. I would have never thought it would come back to be a game saving play."
Talk about things coming full circle.
During Old Dominion's November 29 game versus no. 19 Saint Joesph's, Preseason All-American Jameer Nelson hit a similar 45-foot jump shot in the closing seconds to lead the Hawks past the Monarchs 75-72.
Nance, who had the tough assignment of guarding Nelson, was in close proximity when Nelson made his miracle shot.
"It was just like my shot, but at opposite ends of the court," he said. "When the ball left his hands, I knew it was good. It hit nothing but the bottom of the net."
Despite starting the season 1-2, the Monarchs feel good about their chances against Charlotte this Saturday. After putting together good back-to-back games against big-time programs, Nance and the rest of the Monarchs feel that they can play with anyone.
"We have a lot of confidence, but we have to play even headed," he said. "Charlotte is a really good team. We're able to be beaten when we're not playing top basketball, but when we're playing like we should, we can compete with the top-notch teams."
The Monarchs just hope their no. 13 remains lucky.