The Butler men's basketball team has been nominated for an ESPY award in the category of Best Game. The nomination, which was announced on June 24, is for the Bulldogs' March 19, one-point victory over Pittsburgh in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The game, in the third round of this year's men's basketball championship, turned out to be one of the most exciting contests of the tournament and certainly featured the most bizarre ending. Butler trailed 69-68 in the closing seconds, before a lay-up by sophomore Andrew Smith gave the Bulldogs a one-point advantage with just three ticks left on the clock.
But on the ensuing inbounds play, Butler's Shelvin Mack fouled Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown at midcourt just before the Panthers' foward attempted a desperation final shot. With two seconds remaining, Brown made the first free throw to tie the game, but missed the second.
Butler's Matt Howard grabbed the rebound on the missed free throw, and he was fouled by Pittsburgh's Nasir Robinson with just one second remaining. Howard made the first free throw and then intentionally missed the second to give Butler a thrilling 71-70 victory and advance the Bulldogs to the "Sweet 16."
The ESPYs, which are a celebration of the best sports moments of the year, will be held on Wednesday (July 13) at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Mack and Shawn Vanzant will be present to represent the Bulldogs at the ceremony. It will be televised live at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
(Photos by John Fetcho)