Indiana cheerleader saves March Madness game after freeing stuck basketball

(L) A cheerleader retrieves the ball after it became stuck on top of the backboard in the first-round game between the St. Mary's Gaels and the Indiana Hoosiers in the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 17, 2022, in Portlan

An Indiana cheerleader had the biggest rebound of the game on Thursday night against No. 5 Saint Mary’s after rescuing a stuck basketball between the backboard and the shot clock. 

Early in the second half, the ball became stuck and tall players from each team tried unsuccessfully to shake it loose. A ref even stood on a folding chair to try and poke it free, to no avail.

Then, Indiana's resourceful cheer squad came to the rescue with a cheerleader being hoisted up by a male counterpart. The pair was able to rescue the ball, prompting the arena to erupt with cheers. 

"What a play!" the announcer yelled. "The cheerleader saves the day! And that is her one shining moment!

"This place is on its feet!" he continued over the sound of screaming fans. "The cheerleader is the hero in Portland!" 

Indiana v Saint Mary's

Trayce Jackson-Davis #23 of the Indiana Hoosiers goes up for a shot against Matthias Tass #11 and Tommy Kuhse #12 of the St. Mary's Gaels in the first round game of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 17, 2022 in Portlan

Saint Mary's took advantage of No. 12 seed Indiana's grueling recent schedule and notched an 82-53 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tommy Kuhse added 19 points and six assists for the Gaels (26-7), the only team to beat top overall seed Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference this season. 

Saint Mary’s will next face No. 4 seed UCLA, which rallied to beat Akron 57-53, in a second-round game Saturday.

Get in the March Madness spirit with basketball docs streaming (free!) on Tubi

Hoop Innovators: The Pioneering Visionaries Who Changed the Game of Basketball (2020): A look back on the 60+ years of friendship between two basketball icons who innovated the sport while enduring countless highs and lows together. Featuring Dennis Murphy, Bill Sharman.

Life Without Basketball (2019): A controversial court ruling forces a Muslim American college basketball star to choose between her faith and her dreams to play professionally. Featuring Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Minky Worden.

FOX Sports College Basketball Classics: PAC-12 (2020): Relive some of the biggest Pac-12 basketball classic games from years past. Featuring Mike Hill, Steve Lavin, Doug Gottlieb and Guy Haberman.

More sports shows and flicks to catch on Tubi

Friday Night Lights (2006-2011): Peter Berg’s 2004 movie provided the inspiration for this beloved TV drama. But, trust us, you don’t need to be familiar with the film or a fan of football to fall in love with "Friday Night Lights." Kyle Chandler stars as Eric Taylor, new head coach of the fictional Dillon Panthers high school football team. Connie Britton is his fiery guidance counselor wife, Tami Taylor. And Taylor Kitsch, Zach Gilford, 2022 Oscar nominee Jesse Plemons and (in later seasons) a young Michael B. Jordan are among the teen football stars he coaches in this funny, moving and legitimately exhilarating sports drama about big dreams in small town Texas. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Rated TV-14. Five seasons, 76 episodes. Also featuring Minka Kelly, Brad Leland.

The Great Brady Heist (2020): If you’re a person capable of resisting a heist/sports/true-crime documentary, you’re stronger than we are. This doc from FOX Sports, which features previously unseen footage and exclusive interviews, looks at "the disappearance of Tom Brady's jersey in the wake of the Patriots’ 2017 Super Bowl victory." Rated TV-PG. 52 minutes. Documentary. Dir: Joe Zucco. Featuring: Chris Arone, Tom Brady, Mark Briggs, Brian Brusokas.

Domingo (2020): From Mexican director Raúl López Echeverría, this feel-good comedy follows Domingo (Eduardo Covarrubias), a 55-year-old man living in a poor suburb near Guadalajara. When his wife abruptly leaves him, Domingo decides to do everything in his power to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer commentator. Soon enough, his impassioned weekly commentaries on local amateur matches are changing lives throughout his neighborhood. "Domingo" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-MA. 95 minutes. Dir: Raúl López Echeverría. Language: Spanish. Also featuring: Martha Claudia Moreno, Jesus Hernandez.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.