basketball-men-d1 flag

Tyler Greenawalt | NCAA.com | January 20, 2020

40 years ago, Les Henson hit a full-court, game-winner for Virginia Tech

Here are the top March Madness moments of the decade (2010-2019)

What's more exciting than making a desperation half-court shot? Making a desperation, game-winning, full-court shot.

That's exactly what Virginia Tech forward Les Henson accomplished 40 years ago on Jan. 21, 1980, against Florida State in Tully Gym in Tallahassee, Florida.

With the game tied at 77 with five seconds left, Florida State's Pernell Tookes' foul-line jumper bounced off the rim into the arms of Henson on the left baseline. Henson turned and heaved the rock the length of the court and the shot miraculously went down to give the Hokies the improbable 79-77 win (the shot occurred before the creation of the 3-pointer).

"At first I thought it was going to hit the lights, but it kept going," Henson told the Wilmington Morning Star in a story published Jan. 23, 1980. "When it went through, I turned to a Florida State cheerleader and said, 'Can you believe that shot?' "

Upon further inspection by FSU officials, the shot measured 89 feet, 3 inches, to become the longest documented basketball field goal according to the Guinness Book or World Records. Henson's record was broken five years later by Bruce Morris of Marshall, who hit a 92-foot shot in 1985.

UNDEFEATED TRACKER: Keep up with San Diego State's pursuit of perfection

After the shot went down, the crowd erupted and Henson was mobbed at midcourt by the cheerleaders. Both coaches stood stunned, in awe of what transpired.

"I'll probably never see a shot like that again," VT coach Charlie Moir said after the game.

"It's the most incredible thing I've ever seen," Florida State coach Joe Williams said. "Henson hitting that miracle shot is like a golfer winning a tournament with a 100-foot putt over three mounds and two gulleys."

Henson finished with 20 points that night on 8-of-11 shooting. But the only score that will be remembered forever is his last-second, game-winning, full-court heave.

"It was a hope shot, one in a million," Henson said in 1980. "I'll never make a shot like that again."

UC Irvine knocks off UCLA, the last remaining undefeated DI women's college soccer team

We tracked every undefeated NCAA women's soccer teams in the 2021 season until the final unbeaten team fell in the 2021 NCAA tournament.
READ MORE

7 programs with strong cases to be college basketball's next 1st-time champion

These schools have never won a men's basketball national championship but they're in a good position to win one in the near future.
READ MORE

Sue Semrau is back at the helm of Florida State women's basketball, after taking last year off to help ailing mother

Florida State women's basketball head coach Sue Semrau missed last year to help out her ailing mother. She's back this season, but with a much different outlook.
READ MORE
Presented by
Presented by
Presented by

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners