A game between No. 5 seed Saint Mary’s and No. 12 seed Indiana in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament had to be paused near the start of the second half after the ball got stuck behind the backboard. The officials met with players from both teams and did everything they could to get the ball down, bringing out a chair and mop, with no success.
That’s when the Indiana cheerleaders stepped up to the challenge.
A cheerleader from the Hoosiers lifted another cheerleader above his head so she could rescue the ball. The moment drew huge applause from the crowd in Portland and an excitable call from announcer Andrew Catalon who was calling the game. Watch the moment here:
"THE CHEERLEADER SAVES THE DAY!"— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 18, 2022
When hope was lost, a hero emerged. pic.twitter.com/8fjEydjr2j
“She’s done it! What a play!” Catalon exclaimed. “The cheerleader saves the day! And that’s her ‘One Shining Moment.’”
Here’s another view from the stands:
This photo from courtside reporter Brian Hamilton is terrific.
The ladder and stick couldn’t reach.— Brian Hamilton (@_Brian_Hamilton) March 18, 2022
So they used an Indiana cheerleader to retrieve a stuck ball. pic.twitter.com/Xr4NcGk2A7
It probably would have been better for the Hoosiers if the ball stayed up there all game. Saint Mary’s ran away with a blowout victory, 82-53, to advance to the round of 32. This was Indiana’s fifth game in seven days after reaching the Big Ten tournament semifinals and then defeating Wyoming in the First Four.
You never know who is going to emerge as a March Madness hero. These Indiana cheerleaders were among the biggest on day one of 2022.