NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At Vanderbilt, it’s known simply as “The Shot”.
At Pittsburgh, it’s four seconds that everyone in blue and gold would have loved to forget.
During halftime of Pitt’s first visit to Vanderbilt in program history, the Commodores gave the Panthers an unpleasant reminder of the past by honoring the 1988 Vanderbilt men’s basketball team. As the teams broke down the 34-34 game in the locker room, Vanderbilt trotted out past players Will Perdue, Barry Booker and, most agonizingly to Pitt fans, Barry Goheen.
Proud to honor the '87-'88 Commodores at tonight's game ⚓️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Gv80TxQQl9
— Vanderbilt Men's Basketball (@VandyMBB) December 8, 2022
Goheen broke Pitt hearts at the end of regulation in the 1988 NCAA tournament, drilling a 24-footer at the buzzer to force overtime. Up to that moment, the Panthers seemed to have the game wrapped up, holding a 69-66 lead with Perdue having fouled out of the game. But Pitt coach Paul Evans didn’t order the Panthers to foul, and Goheen got a clean look to tie the game.
⚓️ In honor of our celebration of the 1988 Sweet 16 team on Wednesday, here's THE SHOT by Barry Goheen.
— Vanderbilt Men's Basketball (@VandyMBB) December 5, 2022
Vanderbilt won 80-74 in overtime, bringing a shocking end to the season for a Pitt team that won the Big East title and earned a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional. To make matters worse, Vanderbilt’s season ended the next game. The Commodores went out to “Danny and the Miracles”, losing 77-64 to Kansas in the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks won the national title that season, leaving many Pitt fans to wonder what might have been.
Up to that point, the 1988 Pittsburgh team appeared one of the best in school history. The Panthers won 24 games and the Big East’s regular season title, and Evans seemed to be building a power. But Evans’ Pitt teams never recovered from Goheen’s dagger. Instead of becoming a perennial Big East power, the Panthers floundered in the remainder of Evans’ time. Over the rest of Evans’ eight seasons at Pitt, the Panthers won just one NCAA tournament game and finished no higher than third in their conference.