There might not be anything basketball fans miss more than the most exciting play in sports. Close to no time left, everything on the line. The sound of the ball going through the rim is drowned out by the buzzer, and then the roar of the home crowd… or the shock of the visitors.
We’re ranking the best buzzer-beaters in Syracuse history. While there is no official criteria, every factor comes into play. Historical significance, immediate importance and shot difficulty all impact a given buzzer-beater’s grade.
4. Tyler Ennis Keeps Syracuse Perfect, 2014
It is the greatest start an SU team has ever had. No. 1 Syracuse was 23-0 heading into the Petersen Events Center, otherwise known as “The Zoo”, facing No. 25 Pittsburgh.
The Panthers were 4.4 seconds away from knocking off the Goliath Orange. With no timeouts left, down by one, Jerami Grant hit Tyler Ennis in stride short of their own foul line. The freshman point guard raced down the court, stopped on a dime two steps past halfcourt and buried the 45-footer at the buzzer.
SU not only extended its record for wins to start a season, but also set a program-record with 24 straight wins.
Ennis’ shot makes this list for a multitude of reasons. The silencing effect it had on the Zoo might be the most satisfying part for any nostalgic Syracuse fan rewatching the highlight. The difficulty of the shot itself might stand alone in the history of Syracuse buzzer-beaters. Of course, the historical significance of the perfect start contributes to the ranking, but hindsight also hurts it.
It is important to acknowledge that this shot didn’t propel the Orange to any significant accomplishment in 2014. They went on to lose six of their next 10 games, including a one-and-done loss to NC State in the ACC Tournament, and a heart-wrenching Round of 32 loss in Buffalo against Dayton.
So historically this shot is bitter-sweat, but it is still one of the greatest buzzer-beaters SU has ever hit.