jerome

‘Send it in, Jerome’ remains vivid in the minds of many 25 years later

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On January 25, 1988, Pittsburgh forward Jerome Lane threw down one of the college basketball’s most unforgettable dunks. After receiving a pass on the break from point guard Sean Miller, Lane took flight, dunking over Providence guard Carlton Screen and shattering the backboard.

Lane walked away from the scene to high-fives from his teammates, cheers from the Fitzgerald Field House crowd and the rim hanging by a thread.

The Pittsburgh mascot would later parade around the court with the rim, and the game was delayed for more than a half hour as facilities staff found a replacement basket and cleaned up the debris.

But just as memorable was the call of ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman and color commentator Bill Raftery, who added the four words that many college basketball fans remember to this day as noted in a story by Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times.

“Send it in, Jerome!”

Lane, who is now the director of a youth recreation facility in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, was one of the leaders for a Pittsburgh team that would go on to win 24 games and a Big East regular season title (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

Lane caught the ball and elevated above Providence’s 6-foot guard Carlton Screen. The dunk sounded as if a light bulb had popped. When he landed, Lane had no idea that the lower portion of the backboard had shattered, leaving a gaping glass hole squarely in the center of the box. The rim was left dangling by a thread, until the Pitt mascot grabbed it and paraded around the arena with it in hand.

“I didn’t realize anything until I looked at Demetreus,” Lane told ESPN in 2010. “Then I saw glass on the floor. It came down like snow.” For several seconds, the stands were practically silent. “Everybody just kind of gasped,” said Larry Eldridge, then Pitt’s associate athletic director. “Nobody could believe what they were watching.”

The play essentially made two people famous: Lane for the dunk and Raftery for his spontaneous words in reaction to the play.

“It just popped out,” Raftery said in the New York Times story. “There was no preconceived notion for it. I’m sure somewhere along the line I’d heard people say it, maybe.”

Video credit: ESPN

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: