It’s a shot that will be cemented among the greatest shots in Liberty basketball history. The Flames were leading by 1 with 21 seconds left in the game as Coach McKay called a timeout. He dialed up a play featuring the Flames’ two first-team all-conference performers, Scottie James and Caleb Homesley.
The play never developed though as the inbounds pass for Scottie was nearly stolen by Lipscomb’s Kenny Cooper. Scottie made what Lovell Cabbil called a “winning play” by retaining possession. After the scramble for the ball from the inbounds pass, James got the ball to an open Cabbil who took a dribble towards the paint before kicking it to the corner and a wide open Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz.
“I saw Georgie out of the corner of my eye,” Cabbil recalled. “I thought he had a better shot than I would have taken. I just tried to take one dribble, deliver a pass where he could shoot it, and thankfully, Georgie, he was able to make it.”
ESPN’s Anish Shroff on the call – “Risky pass, James corrals. Cabbil thought about it. PACHECO-ORTIZ. FOR THE LEAD.”
GEORGIE PACHECO-ORTIZ CLUUUUTCH BUCKET FOR LIBERTY!!! pic.twitter.com/GGE70ghlko
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) March 10, 2019
And here it is with some Titanic music.
— Lee Cramer (@LeeCramer86) March 11, 2019
The defense put so much pressure on Homesley, Cabbil, and James that it left 1 defender on Elijah Cuffee and Georgie, both of whom are very efficient 3-point shooters. Georgie is the best in the ASUN in 3-point percentage, shooting 47.8% for the season. If he attempts 8 more three-pointers this season, he would qualify for the school record of 45.2% from 3 for a single season which was set by Ryan Kemrite last year.
The fact that Georgie was able to make that shot speaks volumes to his mental make-up. In last year’s Big South Championship game at Radford, Pacheco-Ortiz had one of the worst performances in his Liberty career. He failed to score a point, missing all 6 of his shots from the field including two from behind the arc. He finished with just 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 29 minutes. On Sunday, Georgie was 2nd on the team with 16 points, connecting on 6-of-11 field goals and 2-of-5 from 3.
“I was a little bit nervous, anxious to play, and I didn’t perform very well,” Georgie told ASOR last Friday about the Radford game. “This year, we have experience, we’ve been here before.”
McKay has always spoken highly of his point guard. “Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz has operated in a bit of obscurity and invisibility because he’s not a stat sheet stuffer,” McKay said Wednesday. “He’s just dependable. I think for him, down the stretch last year, he was worn out. We had a shorter bench, and he and Lovell logged a lot of minutes. I think he was fresher this year, but I also think he was more mature and realized the burden wasn’t just his own. I think, because of his teammates and their belief in him, I think he really did a good job of just staying in his lane. As a coach, the worst thing that happens during a game is you don’t know what’s going to happen next. Georgie, on most occasions, alleviates that worry.”
The experience and dependability helped Pacheco-Ortiz and the Flames vault to the conference championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance, and his 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds left in the game will forever be remembered among Liberty fans.