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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Buzzer Beater Thrusts Monarchs Basketball into National Limelight

Monarchs Basketball is national news today.

After Wednesday night's breathtaking, buzzer-beating 72-69 win over Murray State in the quarter-finals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT); the Old Dominion University men's basketball team is heading to New York City.

The Monarchs will play Stanford in the semifinals of the NIT in famed Madison Square Garden. It marks an incredible turnaround for a Monarch team that was 5-25 only two years ago.

Old Dominion led for most of the game, but Murray State erased a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes to tie the contest at 69 with less than four seconds on the game clock. That set the stage for absolute heroics by ODU's star point guard, Trey Freeman. (See the attached video shot by University videographer Christopher Stancil.)

The stakes of the game and the incredible finish earned ODU a wealth of national publicity, with links to video of the basket running on news and sports websites nationwide. Now, ODU basketball, and Freeman, a 6'2" junior from Virginia Beach, are media stars.

ESPN deemed Freeman's running, banked-in three-pointer its No. 1 Highlight of the Day. Here is video of the end of the broadcast of the game from ESPN2.

The Associated Press story from the game ran on NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports and in the New York Daily News, among hundreds of other media outlets

The video itself appeared, in multiple angles, and shot by professional cameras and fan smartphones alike, on national sites such as Deadspin, SB Nation and NCAA.com.

The Washington Post ran a story (and video from a few angles of "The Shot") noting Murray State's horrible luck losing two tournament games in three weeks on desperation heaves. Belmont defeated Murray State 88-87 in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, with a similarly unlikely basket from long distance.

After Wednesday night's excitement, the Monarchs need to refocus to prepare for the NIT semifinal against Stanford, on Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Freeman has been recovering from an ankle sprain he suffered in practice last weekend. Happily, the bedlam at the pulsing Ted Constant Convocation Center didn't re-injure his ankle.

"My boys were jumping on me," Freeman told the Virginian-Pilot. "We were excited because we're going to New York."

ODU students who want to join in the excitement of the team's NIT Final Four run have an opportunity to watch the Monarchs in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, sponsored by the Department of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, and Office of Leadership and Student Involvement.

For $20, students receive a roundtrip bus trip and ticket to the game. Buses will depart at 11a.m. Tuesday and return after the game Tuesday night. Tickets are available at the Webb Center Information Desk, starting at 10 a.m. on Friday. Students must show their ODU ID.

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