Spectators ran onto the court at the end of the men’s basketball game on Dec. 2, after Veon Lassiter made a layup right before the buzzer and gave the Devils the win over Misericordia, 71-70.
The FDU team, according to Lassiter, had high expectations going into the game. He wanted the Devils to “bring the intensity” and challenge the Cougars for the entire 40 minutes.
The men’s basketball team started the game strong, maintaining a lead over the Misericordia Cougars for most of the first half. They ended the half leading by ten, 37-27.
The Devils were expecting to come out in the second half and “extend the lead,” said Donte Ali, a junior forward. This expectation, however, was not fulfilled as well as everyone would have hoped, as the Cougars made a run in the second half, decreasing the Devils’ lead and causing the fans to become more anxious.
The real excitement started within the last six minutes of the game.
The Devils were leading by eight points heading into the sixth minute. The Cougars, however, were able to contain the Devils, preventing them from scoring for almost four minutes, taking the lead by two points with three-and-a-half minutes left in the game.
The ice was broken, though, when Ali made a layup, tying the game. From that point on, it was a constant back-and-forth between the Devils and the Cougars, continuing until the very last second of the game.
The real tension was felt when Jayson Hughes, a freshman point guard for the Devils, fouled, allowing Misericordia the chance to take the lead from the foul line.
D.J. Marlow of the Cougars knocked down both free throws, giving them a one-point lead over the Devils with nine seconds remaining.
The pressure was on Steve Herdman, one of the Devils’ sophomore guards, to make it down the court and finish with a layup in the final seconds.
Everyone in the stands, in support of either team, was on the edge of their seats as Herdman dribbled his way down the court and threw up a jump shot, in hopes of getting a foul called in his favor. There was no call, and all hope seemed to be lost at that very instant. That is, until Lassiter, a sophomore forward, jumped up for Herdman’s rebound, and simultaneously threw the ball back up to the rim, making his layup right before the final buzzer sounded.
The crowd went crazy! Students who were sitting in the stands cleared the bleachers and tackled Lassiter to the ground, dog-piling on top of him.
One thing that most people must have been wondering was what was going through Lassiter’s mind when he got the ball within the final seconds. “I was just thinking about the team,” said Lassiter, “and trying to get this win.”
With the win, the Devils conquered the Cougars, who had won the MAC conference championship last season. “This definitely sets a very high standard for all of us,” said Lassiter.
“We fought,” said Ali, “to the very last play.” That is what made the difference in the game – the Devils fighting until literally the very last possible second.
After coming off of a loss against Baruch College on Nov. 29, Ali wanted to improve upon his performance and “bring the energy from the [beginning of the game].”
He hoped to set a standard that the rest of his team was able to match.
Due to the fact that this win was against the previous MAC conference champions, both Ali and Lassiter believe that this sends a message to the rest of the teams in the MAC conference.
“They picked us last in the conference,” said Ali, “so it’s definitely going to surprise everybody that we beat Misericordia. People don’t really know who we are, so we are going to send a message.”
A few days after the buzzer-beater, the Devils lost to King’s College, 71-81. They were scheduled to play Drew on Tuesday (after The Pillar went to press). The next game is Saturday at William Paterson.
Later this month, the Devils will play Wartburg College and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Colorado College Tournament.