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Best Moment at Hinkle: Roosevelt Jones beats the buzzer and the Gonzaga Bulldogs

The historic field house has hosted its share of great moments, but maybe none were better than a prime time game-winner that thrusted mid-major basketball onto center stage.

Michael Hickey

It was billed as possibly the best non-conference game of the 2012-13 college basketball season, and it lived up to the hype.

What schools were involved?  You would probably guess Indiana, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky or at least one team from the almighty Big Ten.

Well, those guesses would be wrong. Instead for one night, Hinkle Fieldhouse, with all of its history and tradition, may have witnessed its finest hour as two basketball teams from traditionally small schools shared one of college basketball's biggest spotlights.

It was a January 19th, 2013 battle between No. 8 Gonzaga and No. 13 Butler. It was actually a surprisingly late game, and both teams had already begun their respective conference slates (both undefeated at the time).

And even at a basketball venue that has seen just about everything, there was a first that night, as Hinkle hosted its first top-15 matchup ever.

College Gameday had shunned other big-time matchups (such as No. 10 Florida vs. No. 18 Mizzou, No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 6 Syracuse and No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 11 Ohio State) to instead profile a matchup of two schools that usually receive ESPNU treatment on an average Saturday. It was also the first chance ever for the true charm of Hinkle to shine at Gameday

Instead, the two teams battled it out and didn't disappoint the viewers at home, the producers at ESPN or the sold out crowd that filled the field house 10 minutes before tip off.

The game was tight all the way through. Butler trailed by one at halftime and both squads fought back and forth like a heavyweight prizefight. In fact, neither team led by double digits at any point throughout.

Then, with 3.5 seconds left and Gonzaga with possession of the ball at midcourt, the game seemed over. The Zags were up by one, and it seemed like there was no hope for one more Hinkle miracle.

As destiny would have it, there was a little bit of pixie dust left in the floorboards. Roosevelt Jones stole a David Stockton inbounds pass (I thought his dad would teach him better) meant for the Kelly Olynyk Clinic, and takes five dribbles down the court before pulling up for a mid range runner.

The ball seemed to be in the air for ages, almost enough time to re-watch Hoosiers, before finally finding a home in the soft netting, as Jones' first ever buzzer beater sealed an improbable win for the Bulldogs.

The shot sent the fans into a frenzy rarely seen anywhere in the country, and caused a rare rushing of the court.

Even the great Dick Vitale was struggling for the right words, muttering "I can't believe it! Are you serious America?"

And while the game finished with what I deem the best moment in the long history of Hinkle, it marked more than that. It was proof that finally, mid-majors were making an impact on the national stage, and they were here to stay. It was the small schools' one chance to show that meaningful excitement exists outside of power conferences, and they came through in a way that helped reshape the future of college basketball as we know it.