-Nigerian Youngster Celebrates Before Time
Bryant University basketball rookie, Ikenna Ndugba failed to lead his team to victory in the USA Collegiate League when he celebrated too early and failed to take a winning shot.
It happened right at the point the final seconds melted away in Bryant’s matchup with Brown on Monday night, as The Bulldogs freshman, Ndugba dribbled out the clock, tossed the ball in the air and raised his arms in celebration.
Ndugba’s team trailed by one at the time and his ill-timed celebration doomed Bryant to a heartbreaking road loss and made a hero of Brown senior point guard Tavon Blackmon.
It was Blackmon whose driving layup with 3.8 seconds left had given the Bears a 91-90 lead on the previous possession and, had Ndugba known the score of the game, he had plenty of time to get a shot off.
The 3.8 seconds left on the clock was enough for him to try to go coast-to-coast or at least dribble past mid-court and attempt a potential game-winning buzzer beater.
The camera in the above video mercifully cuts away from Ndugba before he fully realized the extent of his mistake, however, you can see the first hint of despair on his face when he sees his teammates aren’t celebrating with him.
Surely he erroneously thought Bryant had taken a three-point lead the previously possession when teammate Nisre Zouzoua sank a step-back 3-pointer from the left wing with 11.3 seconds left.
What was especially cruel about the loss for Bryant (2-5) was that the Bulldogs had worked hard to rally from a late eight-point deficit. Zouzoua’s 3-pointer gave them their first lead since more than 13 minutes remained in the game.
Ndugba played a big role in the comeback, scoring all seven of his points in the second half and dishing out three of his six assists.
The freshman had a chance to be a hero on the final possession. Instead he learned a harsh lesson about the importance of always being aware of the time and score.