It doesn’t take long for dreams to turn into nightmares when you fail to take care of business. This was absolutely the case on March 22, 1990 as No.1 seed UConn was looking at No. 5 seed Clemson as a speed bump on its way to the Final Four. The game began as planned, with the Huskies in control and stacking a 19-point second half lead. That is until Clemson decided enough was enough.
The Tigers went on a frantic run 25-8 run which reduced UConn’s lead to two with 3:38 left to play. The pace forced the Huskies into a series of uncharacteristic errors and offensive ineptitude. With 17 seconds to go and the Connecticut lead down to 69-67, the Huskies committed their 19th turnover when losing the ball out of bounds. Five seconds later, David Young, a Clemson sophomore who had missed the only previous shot he had taken, drilled a 3-point shot from the wing, giving the Tigers their first lead since the beginning of the game.
After a Connecticut timeout, senior guard Tate George would miss a shot attempt from the top of the key with four seconds to play. Clemson forward Sean Tyson came down with the rebound and was immediately fouled by UConn’s Scott Burrell. The clock showed 1.6 seconds to go. With Clemson in the bonus situation, Tyson missed the first foul shot, and Burrell took the rebound and called timeout. The clock read 1.0 second.
With the coaches and fans yelling, “It’s not over,” Connecticut set up in a play they had run regularly in practice, a play called “home run.” With the entire crowd at the New Jersey Meadowlands on their feet, the stage was set. Clemson placed 6-foot-11 inch Elden Campbell on the baseline with his long extended arms to prevent Burrell – the inbounder – from getting off a good pass. As the whistle blew, the moment can be described as the longest second in college basketball history.
Burrell proceeded to launch a near 90-foot bomb to the other end of the court hoping for a landing that would fall into the hands of star guard Tate George. While the Clemson players did as instructed which was to back off and avoid a decisive foul, George corralled the pass in the right corner of the court, 16-feet away from the basket, squared himself up, and knocked down the jumper that would give the Huskies one of the most improbable victories in NCAA Tournament history. Truly. March Madness at it's zenith.