One of the great things about March Madness is that we get to meet guys who have worked their tails off all year in mid-major leagues while they get probably their only shot to achieve everything they've been working for since they knew what college was. Today's hero was Arkansas-Little Rock's Josh Hagins.
Hagins is a 6'4" senior guard who came into the game averaging 12.8/4.1/4.7. Those are good numbers, but not exactly world-shattering stuff. He was unquestionably his team's go-to guy, with an ORtg of 116.1 and a usage rate of 24.5%.
They went to him big today. He answered the bell.
His team was down 14 with five minutes left in the game, making people who picked Purdue feel pretty good about maybe grabbing some dinner. Then he ripped off 13 points in 5 minutes, leading his team all the way back in a burst that culminated with this:
Here's the Little Rock three that forced OT (h/t sportloop) https://t.co/0uGgDEXwqz— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 17, 2016
Hagins then added 10 more in the 10 minutes of overtimes the game entailed, ending the night with 31/7/6 plus 5 steals and 0 turnovers on 10-20/3-7/8-10 shooting. That is an insane game on the biggest stage as a senior. Hagins had what could rightly be call the game of his life, and Purdue's final heave going begging means that he can enjoy the memory fondly forever.
I hope he does. He earned it.