The Top 5 Buzzer Beaters In March Madness History

Which classic buzzer beater is your favorite?

Kris Jenkins #2 of the Villanova Wildcats shoots the game-winning 3-pointer to defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 in the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four National Championship
(Getty Images)

Few things are sweeter in basketball than a buzzer beater. The final seconds of a game tick down, a daring and dramatic last-ditch shot is made, the ball goes up, the horn goes off and…swoosh! The shared experience between fans, coaches and players is what watching sports is all about—the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.

As March Madness approaches, here’s a look back at the top five buzzer beaters in college basketball history.

Christian Laettner, Duke

Matchup: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 Kentucky

Likely one of the greatest games in NCAA history. Trailing by one to Kentucky, Laettner took a full court pass from Grant Hill and performed an epic turnaround shot to win the game for the Duke Blue Devils as the buzzer sounded. An instant classic. 

Kris Jenkins, Villanova

Matchup: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Villanova (2016 NCAA championship)

Some list this March Madness buzzer beater as number one. Jenkins brought Villanova the 2016 national title with this tie-breaking game-winner. The last-second three-pointer gave Villanova its first national title since 1985.

Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Matchup: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 UCLA (2021 Final Four)

A desperate shot from just inside the half-court line cements this recent Cinderella play as an all-timer. Suggs’ buzzer-beating three-pointer sent the Bulldogs to the national championship game with a 93-90 overtime win.

Lorenzo Charles, N.C. State

Matchup: No. 6 N.C. State vs. No. 1 Houston (1983 NCAA championship)

A putback dunk that will go down in history. With the score tied at 52, Lorenzo Charles plucked a teammate’s deep jump-shot out of the air—and dunked for the game-winning basket. Cue the crowd going wild. 

Bryce Drew, Valparaiso

Matchup: No. 4 Ole Miss vs. No. 13 Valparaiso (1998 first round)

Trailing by two points and with a scant 2.5 seconds left in the game, Jamie Sykes threw a three-quarter-court pass to Bill Jenkins, who perfectly timed another midair pass to Drew…swoosh! Pure magic. 

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