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Penn State is still flying high from Tony Carr’s buzzer-beating shot

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The elation felt by the Nittany Lions won’t be fading any time soon

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Five Seconds.

Not a lot can happen in just five seconds.

You can blink a few times. You can safely consume food that’s fallen on the floor. You can bring Beetlejuice to life. And that’s about it.

But as the Nittany Lions and Tony Carr proved Thursday night in Columbus, sometimes five Mississippi’s can last forever.

Right after Keita Bates-Diop’s 30-foot game-tying heartbreaking tear-inducing rainbow 3-pointer fell through the cylinder, time somehow slowed down and speed up simultaneously.

So while the Nittany Lions sprinting up court to attempt a game saving prayer flew by in the blink of an eye, more than enough time remained to process the five stages of Penn State basketball grief I’ve come far too accustomed with when rooting for these perennial basketball bridesmaids.

This can’t be happening again. How the hell are we going to blow another double-digit lead? Dear God, just let us win in overtime. We’re never going to turn this program around. Welp, it’s on to Rutgers.

These thoughts weren’t eased in the slightest as the Lions forwent calling a timeout, of which they had two left, electing instead to have Tony Carr jack up what I’d cautiously call a 40-foot heave.

What is he doing!? Why aren’t we calling a timeout? I picked the wrong school to attend. Why can’t I quit you? When’s the blue-white game?

Even though the Lions were staring overtime in the face, and even with Ohio State’s two best players in deep foul trouble, I had seen this story more than enough times before to know that it didn’t have a happy ending for Penn State.

This was going to be the icing on the cake that is a frustratingly disappointing season, relative to Penn State basketball’s typically low expectations.

But sometimes something beautifully unexpected happens that helps restore your faith.

You find $20 dollars in an old jacket you haven’t worn in a while. You hit that one perfect drive in the midst of a truly awful game of golf. You get the last piece of pizza.

Or, in Tony Carr’s case, you bank in that 40-foot heave to silence an entire building expect for the handful of people wearing blue and white.

Over the next few days, you’re going to read a lot about how Carr’s buzzer-beater will kick start the Lions run to the NCAA Tournament. Or you might read about how it’s too little, too late for a team that’s failed to meet expectations.

Hell, you can bet I’m going to write a few articles along those lines myself.

Ignore those. At least for a few days. And just enjoy this.

The players sure did. James Franklin did too. And so did the Legion of Blue back in State College.

Thursday night was the type of game that reminds you just how fun being a basketball fan is.

Penn State is going to play more games this year. They’ll win some and they’ll lose some. They’ll make the postseason or they won’t. We can worry about that down the road.

For now just keep watching the highlights on loop. Use it as a panacea for the lingering headaches that are the NC State, Rider, and Wisconsin games. These types of finishes don’t come around often for even the bluest of the blue-blood programs, let alone for the Little Penn State Engines That Could.

The Nittany Lions are going to play some more games. But the emotions, feelings, and memories associated with those last few plays from Thursday night will stay with this program forever.

Five seconds isn’t much. But sometimes it can last a lifetime.