Toledo's freshman center Nathan Boothe is one of the unheralded reasons this Rockets team has stayed competitive in games. They didn't have an effective post presence before him, and the difference has been felt. Thanks to averaging about eight points, five rebounds and a block per game. But he was basically a dormant volcano beyond the arc: just 0-for-4 on threes all season.
Down 64-62 to Miami at home, with seconds left and inbounding under their own basket, ther was just enough time to hurl it to somebody — anybody — and get a quick bucket for the tie, or a 3-pointer for the win. They probably wanted MAC leading scorer Rian Pearson to take the last shot. Or Dominique Buckley, their best 3-point threat. Or maybe Juice Brown, their capable point guard. None were open. For whatever justification, Boothe, admittedly the least desirable option on the floor, scooted to beyond the arc, and Miami's defense was caught off guard. Inbounder Matt Smith was resigned to pass it to the open Boothe, and he didn't disappoint. Toledo won 65-64.
(Suffice to say, Smith has improved on his last-second inbounding.)
There was no question the basket was in the air before time expired, but officials had to review if his toe was on the line. They confirmed it was good for three points.
Moments like these are what will keep this Rockets season relevant at all. They are now 6-3 in the conference and can still win the MAC West, even if the NCAA won't let them play in the postseason.