The Greatest Series: Last Second Shot No. 3

Jimmy Rayl capped off a night when he scored 56 points with a long shot at the buzzer against Minnesota. Read about a shot here that was made more than 50 years ago.

Each day, has a new installment in “The Greatest” series that will chronicle some of the top players, teams and performances in Indiana basketball history.

The first top 10 countdown looked at some of the top individual performances in IU history. The second list focused on last-second shots. Here’s the first installment for today, the No. 3 shot in IU history. Check back later today for No. 2.


Ask Indiana basketball historians to name the greatest shooter in Indiana basketball history and you’ll hear some contemporary names like Steve Alford or Randy Wittman or players like that.

The first name you may also hear, however, is Jimmy Rayl.

The former Mr. Basketball from Kokomo could shoot with the best of the them.

The most points ever scored by an IU player is 56 and it happened twice. Both times by Rayl.

In researching a book I have coming out this fall called Hoosiers Through and Through, I was able to speak to Rayl about his heroics. Here is an excerpt of that interview.

On Jan. 27, 1962, Indiana faced Minnesota at home. The Gophers were up 11 points with 10 minutes to play in regular before Rayl got hot and hit some shots to send the game into overtime.

IU led 103-102 with 7 seconds to play in overtime when a Minnesota player had two free throws.

Here is what happened next.

With 7 seconds to play in overtime, a Minnesota player had two free throws with IU clinging to a 103-102 lead. The first free throw was good and Rayl remembered telling one of his teammates and fraternity brothers, Jerry Bass, that if the player made the second one to call timeout. Rayl figured that McCracken would want to set up a final play or something.

Instead, when the free throw went through, Bass quickly handed the ball to Rayl and told him to go.

“He handed the ball to me and I knew the clock was moving and so I started racing down the floor, weaving in and out past players,’’ Rayl said. “I got to the 10-second line and I figured there couldn’t be much time left. I took two or three steps at the most and I knew I had to shoot it. The worst thing that could happen would be to let the buzzer go off without getting off a shot.

“So I stopped and took a shot. It had to be a 30-35 foot jump shot and it went right through the bottom of the net. It was unbelievable.’’

Rayl finished the day with 56 points on 20-of-39 shooting from the field and 16-of-20 free throws.

Stay tuned for No. 2 later today.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Top Stories