Outside of what transpired at the end of the Pitt-Louisville game in Feb. 2011, there has likely never been another incident where a cheerleader nearly determined the fate of a college basketball game.
Kyle Kuric’s dunk made it 62–57 in overtime, and Cardinals cheerleader Jordan Alcazar — like many in the KFC Yum! Center — thought the game had ended. So when the ball bounced to him after Kuric’s slam, he grabbed it and threw it up in the air in celebration.
There was just one problem: Officials determined that there were still 0.5 seconds remaining, after which they assessed a technical foul on Louisville for Alcazar’s premature celebration. It sent Pitt to the line for two free throws (both of which Ashton Gibbs converted) and gave the Panthers the ball and a small chance to tie the game.
Thankfully for Louisville and Alcazar, the ensuing desperation heave at the buzzer was off and the Cardinals walked away victorious, 62-59. Alcazar was likely also thankful that he didn’t draw the ire of Rick Pitino.
“I’m sure it was unintentional,” the coach said in his postgame press conference while joking that “all good things must come to an end and the male cheerleader has come to an end.”
These days, you can follow Alcazar on Twitter at @NATTY_Champ11.
When Pitt visits Louisville again on Monday night, you can be sure that Cardinals cheerleaders will know that they’re to refrain from touching the ball at all times.