Best Conference Tournament Buzzer-Beaters Of All-Time From Local Colleges

Mar 12, 2024, 2:41 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Even though the Utes couldn’t go all the way, Ines Vieira’s spectacular half-court buzzer-beater in the Pac-12 conference tournament will be remembered for a long time.

The shot inspired us to look back at the best Conference Tournament buzzer-beaters from local schools.

5 – Manny Hendrix Corner Shot Kills Cowboys

Utah trailed by one with one second on the clock against the Wyoming Cowboys in the first game of the WAC Tournament in 1985.

Hendrix received the inbounds pass, turned 180 degrees, and nailed the corner jump shot at the buzzer to send Utah to the next round.

Hendrix scored 21 points and hit another game-winner in the next game against Air Force to secure a 66-64 win.

The Utes went on to lose in overtime to the UTEP Miners in the WAC Semifinals.

4 – Keith Van Horn Wills Utes To Back-To-Back Wins

In 1997, the Runnin’ Utes had two game-winners in two games for a second time.

Utah basketball legend Keith Van Horn downed SMU and New Mexico with some good old-fashioned hustle.

Van Horn guided in an alley-oop pass with 0.3 seconds on the clock to beat the Mustangs and then beat the No. 14 Lobos the next day with a short jump shot off of an offensive rebound.

Utah went on to blow out TCU in the WAC Championship game and made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

3 – Sam Merrill Leads Aggies Past Aztecs

San Diego State was a Mountain West powerhouse in 2020.

The Aztecs posted a 17-1 conference record and were ranked fifth in the nation. After winning by double-digits in the MWC quarterfinal and semifinal, only Utah State stood between SDSU and its seventh conference championship in 11 seasons.

The Aztecs led by eight at the half and looked poised to come out on top. Merrill went on to score 17 of his 27 points in the second half including a three-pointer with three seconds left to secure the win.

2 – Southern Utah Advances Off Of Last-Second Trickshot

Cherita Daugherty hit the shot of her life to beat the New Mexico State Aggies in the 2023 WAC Tournament quarterfinals.

RELATED: Southern Utah Women’s Basketball Advances To WAC Semifinals On Buzzer-Beater

Down by two with 3 seconds left, Daugherty threw up a turnaround hook shot from behind the arc and drained it at the buzzer.

The Thunderbirds pulled out convincing wins over Grand Canyon and Cal Baptist in the next two rounds to become WAC Champions for the first time.


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1 – BYU Crowned Champions From Half-Court

Kevin Nixon capped off a memorable 1992 WAC Tournament run for the Cougars with a game-winner from half-court.

After narrowly beating Air Force in the quarterfinals, BYU stomped Utah in the semifinal.

The Cougars were left with one more challenger. The 2-seed UTEP Miners.

BYU trailed by one with two seconds left and no timeouts. Nixon threw up a prayer from beyond half-court and found nothing but net.

The shot made BYU WAC Champions for the second straight season. No team won in back-to-back seasons until Hawaii did it in 2001 and 2002.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Best Conference Tournament Buzzer-Beaters Of All-Time From Local Colleges