AUBURN, Ala. – In a game where Auburn struggled with its 3-point accuracy, the best long shot of the afternoon by far belonged to a student in the stands.
During a timeout in the second half of the game against No. 3 Alabama on Saturday, sophomore Craig Noyes made a full-court, 94-foot putt to win a new car.
Not bad for someone who said he's not a golfer.
“Honestly, my main goal was just not to whiff or shank it into the bench,” Noyes told The Associated Press.
“It was so loud when I stepped up to the ball. Once I hit it, I completely zoned out. I couldn't hear anyone," he said. “It wasn't until the announcer put a hand on my shoulder and said I'd won a car that I believed it.”
The sold-out crowd at Neville Arena erupted when he became the first person to win the contest since 2014. Noyes, who writes for the student-run paper The Auburn Plainsman, high-fived fans in celebration.
Noyes went baseline-to-baseline with his winning putt, rolling the ball through a small hole in a poster at the opposite end to win a car in the contest sponsored by a local Toyota dealership.
The 20-year-old Noyes, from Kensington, Maryland, said he and some friends camped outside the arena for about 24 hours to get prime seats for the game against the in-state rival Crimson Tide. Around halftime, he was randomly picked as the day's contestant to shoot during an under-12 TV timeout.
“I was in the tunnel for about 15 minutes, swinging the club and trying to stay loose and relaxed,” he said. “I was so nervous.”
Noyes instantly heard from a lot of people after the winning shot, saying his phone ran out of juice on the way back to his campus house.
Auburn players, meanwhile, weren't nearly as successful from long distance. The Tigers made just 7 of 24 shots from 3-point range in a 77-69 loss to Alabama.
Noyes, by the way, said he didn't own a car. But thanks to a lucky putter, he'll soon be a driver.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25