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Anatomy of the shot: Analyzing 'Rainbow Wright'

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Cashmere Wright turned the ball over four times, occasionally drew the ire of his head coach, contributed but six points and battled a sore shoulder that kept him out of practice nearly all week.

Thumbnail image for FinalShot.jpgBut when the final play of a tie game with six seconds left drew up with his name on it, the words of his teammates echoed inside.

"They told me the next play will take care of the whole game," he said. "I had a bad game, right, but I guess that one shot is OK."

OK would be the understatement of the weekend, Cash.

In the end, his fadeaway jumper over the outstretched arms of Alabama 7-foot center Moussa Gueye incredibly found the bottom of the net and sent 10,155 and every member of the Bearcats bench into a frenzy in the corner of the court.

Wright says he never hit a buzzer-beater in his life. His first delivered the 58-56 victory over the previously undefeated Tide.

"It was the least I could do," Wright said. "I was basically throwing away the whole game at the end. Felt like if they could take me that far if I had the shot it's in me to shoot it."

A closer look unveils the true absurdity of a moment that will live for ages in the lore of UC basketball: Rainbow Wright.

Here's a look at the shot from seven different angles thanks to the folks a College Basketball Talk.

DRAWING IT UP: Mick Cronin concocted the play to be for Wright driving to the left off a screen from Justin Jackson and attempt to create a matchup problem where he could either blow by Gueye or kick to Kilpatrick in the corner if help converged on him.

The screen would be critical. Jackson picked off barely enough of Trevor Releford to essentially take him out of the play.

The matchup came by virtue of what Alabama coach Anthony Grant viewed as a personnel mistake on his part. He didn't expect to see UC going with either of their big men and that left Gueye the lone big man on the floor.

"I tried to sub, that was my fault, they put four guards and forward in game," Grant said. "I figured what they would do is either go to Parker or Wright there at the end."

WRIGHT'S MINDSET: From the moment Wright caught the ball, he knew the spot he hoped to attack on the floor. The designed run to the left predetermined his point of attack.

"I knew we was going to the left so before I went down the court I already set myself for where I want to go and where I want to shoot the shot from," Wright said. "I kind of got there."

OVER THE TOP: Driving to the spot would only be a minor piece of the battle. Once he dribbled inside the arc the blow-by Cronin and Wright desired never unfolded. Gueye ran with him almost step for step and didn't require help as the clock ticked to the final seconds.

So, from about 10 feet in he began the fadeaway toward the corner, only fading back wouldn't be enough over the 7-foot-plus wingspan of the center from Senegal.

The defense couldn't have been better, really.

"I thought we contested the shot, but he's a hell of a player," Grant said. "He made a big-time shot and won the game for them."

The angle from the student section posted almost instantly after the game (reason No. 4,387,321 to love the Internet) show how ridiculous it was to overcome the wingspan.



LUCKY AND GOOD: Cronin joked about a "revelation" for the media and fans, these games don't come down to drawing up revolutionary plays. They come down to players. This came down to Wright.

"I just shot the ball hoping," he said. "I really couldn't see the rim. Shot a regular shot hoping you get it up and get a chance to go in."

It did. Somehow. Unbelievably.

"As he let it go I was thinking about Jarrod West, DeSean Butler," Cronin said. "Thinking, one of these has to fall for the Bearcats."

THE AFTERMATH: As the shot swished and set off pandemonium, Wright slid deep into the corner out of bounds almost unbeknownst what occurred.

"I think that was when they grabbed me," he said. "I didn't even see the shot go in before they grabbed me. I was like, OK, I must have hit the shot then."

Wright and the Bearcats celebrated the first true buzzer-beater of their college careers, but they weren't alone. In Mick Cronin's 17 years of college coaching and five in the high school ranks he claims Rainbow Wright to be the first winning buzzer-beater.

In a game where both Wright and Kilpatrick topped 1,000 points for the careers, the question arose to who would receive the official game ball. Supposedly, they both will receive painted footballs commemorating the feat.

Wright took the lead one final time: "I want the ball."

And Kilpatrick finished: "I am going to let him get it."

We want to hear from you. Email (pauldehnerjr@gmail.com) any questions, comments or send your rankings of this shot in the recent history of UC basketball. You can always hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr.

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