What was the longest buzzer beater in March Madness history?

Whose record did Ta'Lon Cooper beat?

Mar 21, 2024; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The South Carolina Gamecocks celebrate after guard Ta'Lon Cooper
Mar 21, 2024; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The South Carolina Gamecocks celebrate after guard Ta'Lon Cooper / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

The first half of Thursday's contest between the No. 6 seed South Carolina Gamecocks and the No. 11 seed Oregon Ducks featured one of the great finishes in recent memory.

It looked like Oregon was going to have complete control of the game heading into the locker room as they had a 34-26 lead after a made basket. With only 1.2 seconds to play with and the entire court to run down, it looked like a South Carolina player was going to have to just heave one up toward the basket and hope he didn't miss horribly.

It turns out that Ta'Lon Cooper, a player who had just two points in the game before this point, had other ideas. Cooper drained a shot from well beyond half-court to completely turn the game around. Rather than being down by eight with Oregon having the momentum and looking for an upset, Cooper cut it down to five with South Carolina having momentum.

That shot by Cooper is now the longest buzzer-beater in March Madness history. It's pretty crazy that there hasn't been a longer one considering all of the crazy things that seem to happen in this tournament, but that's where we are. It didn't win the game, but it's one people will remember for a long time.

Now that we know that's the longest shot in March Madness history, the question has to be asked. What was the longest shot in March Madness history?

What was the longest buzzer beater in March Madness history?

The shot made by Cooper wiped away what is still one of the more memorable shots not only in recent memory, but in March Madness history, made by Northern Iowa's Paul Jesperson.

No. 11 Northern Iowa was looking for an upset over No. 6 Texas and built an eight-point lead heading into halftime. They had the favored Longhorns on the ropes, but Texas wasn't going to give up easily. The Longhorns played well in the second half and had the game all knotted up at 72 with 2.7 seconds left.

Northern Iowa had posession and was set to inbound the ball, but they had to go the length of the court. The game was destined to go to overtime. Or so we thought. Likely everyone except Paul Jesperson.

It appeared as if Jesperson wasn't even the initial inbounds target, but Northern Iowa had to get the ball in and got it into a player who had space to operate. Jesperson pulled up from right next to the March Madness logo and drained the shot for the win off the backboard. A truly remarkable shot to allow Northern Iowa to advance to the Round of 32.

The second round is where their magical run would end as No. 3 Texas Tech defeated them in a close game in the Round of 32, but Jesperson's shot is still considered to be one of, if not the greatest shot in March Madness history. A game-winning half-court buzzer-beater shot is almost impossible to top. Cooper didn't top it in terms of the magnitude of the shot, but he had him beat in length.

feed