Catching an in-bounds pass from Kevin Fitzgerald and releasing the ball from his hand with .1 seconds to play, Stijn Dhondt hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to punch the Boston University men’s basketball team’s ticket to the America East championship game, beating Hartford University, 63-60, at Matthews Arena.
With the win, the Terriers advance to the title game, to be held at The Roof next Saturday, thanks to No. 5 University of Maine’s overtime upset of top-seeded Vermont, 61-59.
Hartford guard Mantas Storpirstis hit a leaning 15-foot jumper to tie the score with just 0.8 seconds left, and after a 30-second timeout, BU made sure the game wouldn’t go to an extra session.
Just as head coach Dennis Wolff drew it up, Fitzgerald threw a baseball pass to Dhondt, who caught the pass just beyond the three point line. Quickly getting the shot out of his hands, Dhondt was off-balance and falling toward the sideline as he hoisted the shot, which went off the glass and through after the horn had sounded.
BU, which advanced to the title game with an 86-76 win over tournament host Northeastern University on Saturday, got 20 points from freshman Chaz Carr and 13 points and seven rebounds from Billy Collins to put Dhondt in position to be the hero.
The America East tournament championship game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on March 9, and will be televised nationally on ESPN.