Walk-on Barlow unlikely hero for Butler
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS – Butler has a way of creating its own fairy tales, so its latest should have come as no surprise.
Of course, the unranked Bulldogs would hand No. 1 Indiana its first loss of the season. Of course, Butler would do it without two of its best players, who’d both fouled out during a 17-second span late in the second half. And then without a third player, who’d picked up his fifth foul midway through overtime.
Of course, the game-winning shot – a floater that bounced off the backboard and around the rim not once, not two or three but four (!!) times – would come from a sophomore walk-on who averaged 0.8 points per game in his career entering Saturday.
“You grow up in the backyard with your hoop, and you dream that you’re playing the No. 1 team, last-second shot, shooting it,” Butler guard Alex Barlow said. “Not in my wildest dreams did I think that would be a reality.”
Barlow brought the subject up with his dad, Tom, on Saturday morning, when the two talked on the phone about four hours before the game. The ritual phone call between father and son veered off to a subject they hadn’t discussed before – the younger Barlow’s opportunity to play against the nation’s top-ranked team on national television.
“He told me, ‘Don’t get nervous. Don’t try to do too much. Just play the game and be who you are,’ ” Barlow said.
So, with six seconds left in overtime, Barlow had the ball at the top of the key. He drove to the basket, did a little spin move so he could shoot with his right hand, and then he released the ball. And it bounced. And bounced again. And bounced some more – until it fell.
“When it was hitting around the rim, I was just hoping,” Barlow said. “I didn’t feel like I extended completely on the floater, so I thought it was a little short. I got that luck, that shooter’s roll, and it bounced in.”
And that’s how the unknown walk-on who looks more like a shortstop than a Division I basketball … [For more on Walk-on guard Alex Barlow the unlikely hero for Butler, click here.]