Jeff Kolpack, Published March 09 2014
Woodside's shot still echoes for Bison assistants
It’s starting to stand the test of time, a signature league moment that has also been getting a rerun on ESPN.
“The best call I ever made in my coaching career was no call at all,” said NDSU head coach Saul Phillips. “Don’t call a timeout.”
With the game against Oakland University (Mich.) tied, Woodside took the inbounds pass, raced upcourt before stopping just outside the free-throw line for a floating jumper that went in. After an Oakland 3-point attempt hit the rim and bounced off at the buzzer, the Bison bench erupted toward Woodside.
Two current Bison assistant coaches, Freddy Coleman and Josh Vaughan, were the first to reach him. What happened depends on who you ask, but the general consensus is Coleman, a standout high school football player, tackled Woodside. Not so, he said.
“Woody to this day thinks I tackled him,” Coleman said, before NDSU practiced on Sunday at the University of Sioux Falls in preparation for tonight’s tournament semifinals. “I grabbed him, but I got tackled from behind and I just kind of took him down. Saul said he would have had my neck if Woody got hurt.”
It makes for a good banquet speech story. Jokingly, Phillips said Coleman should have been flagged 15 yards for clipping and was intentionally trying to hurt Woodside to get more minutes in the NCAA first round game.
“A blatant cheap shot,” he said with a laugh.
Vaughan was on the bench when he went racing after Woodside. He said he was about to be one of the first players to reach Woodside until Coleman knocked him to the ground.
“Then I get pushed by another fan, I get up and me and Freddy tackled Woody,” he said. “Kind of funny.”
The fact NDSU is on a push to duplicate the 2009 feat has made for some good banter over the course of the season. Which team is better? Coleman said the current team is better defensively and is more athletic – something that showed up in the first-round NCAA loss to Kansas at the Metrodome.
When the Bison needed a stop against the Jayhawks, they couldn’t get it.
“We had to almost outscore them to win that game,” Coleman said. “This team doesn’t have to play its best offensive game to win. It’s definitely a different team, but the ’09 team could fill it up.”
Woodside was the leader in filling it up. This year, that role belongs to Taylor Braun, who leads the Summit League in scoring. Both teams had/have proven leadership and both were/are veteran teams. The biggest difference was the 2009 squad was new to the Summit, being in its first year of tournament eligibility following an NCAA reclassification.
The current Bison have been through a few rounds, including reaching the conference title game last season.
“For us, it was all new to us,” Vaughan said. “These guys have been here before and know what to expect. … It’s a very different team, but it would be a fun little series if we played.”
About as much fun as watching Woodside’s winning shot. It may be around for a while.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found