Welcome to Play-by-Play Theater, the very irregular feature where I mine play-by-play data from the past five-plus seasons to discover the wacky things that happen in darkest corners of the college basketball universe.
At the Maui Invitational, BYU’s Chase Fischer went on a 3-point shooting tear for the ages in the first half against Chaminade, making seven 3-pointers in a 5:10 stretch of the first half. Which begs an edition of Play-by-Play Theater to find the quickest 3-point barrages of all time. Or actually since the 2009-10 season, since that’s the beginning of the NCAA’s generosity in providing the universe with comprehensive play-by-play data for all schools.
What follows is the shortest time to making a certain number of 3-point shots in games over the past five-plus seasons – keeping in mind I’m only looking at D-I on D-I action, which includes 28,306 games…
2: 0:02 Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, 1/30/10
Hansbrough hit two 3-pointers in the final three seconds in a game at Rutgers. If you don’t remember this, it’s probably because the shots didn’t affect the outcome of the game. It turned a 74-67 game into a 74-73 loss.
3: 0:07 Neil Watson, Southern Miss vs. Houston, 2/18/12
Watson hit three trifectas in the final eight seconds in this game against Houston. Like Hansbrough’s effort, this didn’t result in a win due to Houston making its free throws. The shots turned a 69-62 deficit into a 73-71 loss.
4: 0:25 Jamal Branch, St. John’s vs. Robert Morris, 3/18/14
St. John’s dug a huge hole in their first round NIT game against the Colonials last season. Branch is not exactly an outside shooting threat, but in the final minute of this game, he got his long-range shot on, making bombs with 0:46, 0:41, 0:38, and 0:21 remaining according to the play-by-play. It made the final score, an 89-78 loss, look a little more respectable.
5: 2:19 Nicholas Paulos, Chattanooga vs. UNC Greensboro, 2/21/13
6: 2:53 Nicholas Paulos, Chattanooga vs. UNC Greensboro, 2/21/13
Paulos’s streak may be the most impressive on the list. He made six 3’s in six possessions and no other teammate took a shot. This extended a 19-point lead to 28. Naturally, on the seventh possession Paulos just had to take another 3, probably with five guys surrounding him, and he missed.
7: 5:42 Ethan Wragge, Creighton vs. Villanova, 1/20/14
This has to be the most famous streak on the list. Villanova was starting to think about a one-seed by this point last season but was undone by Wragge’s seven-pack of triples, his first coming 23 seconds into the contest. By the time he got to number seven at the 13:55 mark, Creighton had a 27-8 lead.
8: 10:09 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
Iona won this game by 36 points and Armand’s ten 3-pointers were a reason why. However, he didn’t make his first until there was 5:52 left in the first half. By halftime, he had made six and then he added two more before the first media timeout of the second half.
9: 12:09 Jamel Jackson, Seton Hall vs. VMI, 12/12/09
10: 13:12 Jamel Jackson, Seton Hall vs. VMI, 12/12/09
11: 14:31 Jamel Jackson, Seton Hall vs. VMI, 12/12/09
12: 16:56 Jamel Jackson, Seton Hall vs. VMI, 12/12/09
Playing VMI always gives you an advantage when trying to rack up some counting stats. And the 2009-10 season was the heyday of the Keydets’ frenetic pace – their adjusted tempo of 84.2 stands as the record in the tempo-free era. This contest was the high point of that season, with a whopping 101 possessions in a 134-107 Seton Hall win. Jackson’s feat is interesting, and he finished with 40 points, but it probably didn’t seem all that unusual in a game with 178 field goal attempts.
13: 33:34 Rotnei Clarke, Arkansas vs. Alcorn State, 11/13/09
Clarke is the only human that has made 13 3’s against a D-I foe in the past six seasons, so there’s no competition here.
There’s no need to stop now. Let’s check the shortest time between 3-point attempts:
4: 0:11 Brian Williams, Jacksonville State vs. Tennessee Tech, 2/4/12
This was a garbage time situation with the Gamecocks trailing by nine, but it’s amazing nonetheless that Williams somehow managed to launch four 3’s on basically one possession. (There was a quick defensive rebound/turnover mixed in.) He made the final one with 29 seconds left.
5: 0:23 Benny Valentine, Eastern Washington vs. Jackson State, 12/23/09
These all came at the end of the game as EWU was trying to make up a deficit. Valentine managed to make two of these, part of his 12 attempts in 23 minutes of action, but the Eagles still lost by five.
6: 0:31 Jamal Branch, St. John’s vs. Robert Morris, 3/18/14
7: 0:36 Jamal Branch, St. John’s vs. Robert Morris, 3/18/14
Branch’s effort was documented above, but interspersed in his barrage of four makes were three misses.
8: 2:22 Marshall Henderson, Mississippi vs. Mississippi State, 3/2/13
9: 3:34 Marshall Henderson, Mississippi vs. Mississippi State, 3/2/13
10: 4:05 Marshall Henderson, Mississippi vs. Mississippi State, 3/2/13
11: 6:10 Marshall Henderson, Mississippi vs. Mississippi State, 3/2/13
12: 7:00 Marshall Henderson, Mississippi vs. Mississippi State, 3/2/13
While I do believe that even Marshall Henderson has a conscience, this game wasn’t the best example. He finished 3-for-18 from downtown and 12 of those attempts came in the final 7:05 of what was a reasonably competitive game. He made two of those and the Rebels lost by six.
13: 10:53 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
14: 12:48 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
15: 14:21 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
16: 15:22 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
17: 16:05 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
18: 17:12 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
19: 21:42 Sean Armand, Iona vs. Siena, 1/3/12
Armand appeared above, but perhaps even more impressive is that he took 19 3’s in a regulation game where he didn’t attempt his first until there was 5:52 left in the first half. Armand made ten of these, and considering this was 36-point win, it’s hard to criticize the effort in trying to set some sort of record.
20: 33:12 Troy Daniels, VCU vs. East Tennessee State, 1/2/13
Daniels isn’t the only player that’s launched 20 bombs since the 2010 season, but he put them together the quickest. This was another lopsided game (VCU won by 51) in which a high-volume shooter took it upon himself to put on a personal showcase. Daniels made 11 of his 20 attempts.
And that wraps up this edition of PBPT. I hope you enjoyed it. As we’ve seen, sometimes a player can truly demonstrate hotness and sometimes he can just demonstrate a burning desire to chuck a lot of shots. Check back in a few months for the next edition of Play-by-Play Theater, where surely we’ll find more of the hidden insanity in college basketball.