Inside Paul Jesperson's miracle heave that lifted UNI, stunned Texas

OKLAHOMA CITY -- While his Northern Iowa teammates looked stunned after Texas tied the score with 2.7 seconds remaining Friday night, Paul Jesperson drifted toward half court and put his hands out once he realized nobody was covering him.

Matt Bohannon noticed the same and popped the ball out to his fellow senior. Sensing an opportunity, Jesperson then cut back across a pair of Longhorns with a single dribble before launching the shot from half court.

Six years ago in the same Oklahoma City arena, Northern Iowa notched the biggest win in school history by toppling top-seeded Kansas.

This, however, may have topped it.

Jesperson's desperation heave bounced off the glass, then through the net as the buzzer sounded, giving the 11th-seeded Panthers a stunning 75-72 victory -- and the NCAA tournament its second game-winning buzzer-beater this tournament.

Jesperson was instantly mobbed by his teammates, who had already jumped to their feet along the bench, holding the inkling that his shot was on line.

Before Jesperson's miracle basket, Texas had to believe it had produced its own miracle.

After Northern Iowa's Wes Washpun missed the second of two free throws, Texas' Isaiah Taylor calmly dribbled down the court before driving in for a game-tying floater. The basket capped a magnificent night for Taylor, who scored 22 points, dished out six assists and spearheaded Texas' furious rally out of halftime from an eight-point deficit.

Taylor, however, would not finish the hero.

That would go to Jesperson, who two years ago transferred in from Virginia with hopes of a night like this.

His game winner robbed Texas of a potential match with rival No. 3 seed Texas A&M on Sunday. But it gave Northern Iowa yet another magical moment in Oklahoma City.