Student upgrades his ride after hitting miracle shot at halfcourt

Evan Pflugradt

Wichita State junior Alex Durano stood watching a crowd of more than 10,000 as his heart rate raced.

Durano had been selected Saturday to participate in “Shock My Ride,” a contest sponsored by Mel Hambelton Ford.

Durano was challenged to make a free throw, three-point basket and a half-court shot all in under 60 seconds to walk away the owner of a 2016 Ford Mustang.

Nerves set in quickly, Durano missed four free throw attempts.

“I missed a lot of my free throws,” said Durano. “Once I saw my free throw go in I had a little more confidence.”

A boost of confidence after the free throw Durano felt like he might potentially make something of the contest.

After hitting the three-pointer Durano dashed to halfcourt, his nerves running at an all-time high. With under 15 seconds, Durano didn’t have much opportunity. His first attempt grazed the side of the rim.

“It was a beat the clock type of situation,” said Durano. “I was just trying to get as many shots up as I could.”

Trying to race against the clock he launched another, the second caught nothing but the air.

With five seconds left, enough for one final shot Durano aimed and fired and turned around. Durano reached for another ball hoping to pull in one more attempt, but he didn’t need to.

The ball hit the back of the net and went in, a perfect swish.

Durano stood in disbelief and raised a hand to the sky in celebration.

“It didn’t feel like it happened,” said Durano. I tried to embrace the moment, though I couldn’t really process it.”

Durano will be given the keys to a 2016 Ford Mustang on a two-year lease.

“The weirdest thing is knowing I’m going to drive a brand new car for a couple of years,” said Durano. “This is one of those things you dream about.”