Recently named Division 1 Play of the Year, Luke Nelson, added to the legend this weekend with a couple of impressive performances at the Final Four (where Reading would never have been if it wasn’t for his buzzer beating three against Leicester) – none more so than on Saturday against Essex in the semi-final.
With the game going into the last six minutes and Reading trailing, Essex were firmly in control; not to mention they had done a great job of shutting the 1995 born junior England international out of the game.
The Leopards had held Nelson to just 6 points through three and a half quarters, but he was far from done. Essex lead by nine, 57-48, with 5:45 left in the game. Enter Luke. First he hit a tough hanging floater off the glass in the lane, before getting a steal and a lay-up on the next possession, making it a five point game with 5 minutes left.
However, he felt cramp coming on. Checking out of the game he went over behind the bleachers to re-hydrate and re-focus – before coming back in with 3 and a half minutes to play and Rockets still trailing by 5.
He hit back to back threes (the second one, with under a minute to play, was ridiculous)to bring Reading within 1, hit the go ahead free throw in OT, as well as a key assist on a Robbie Parker three pointer and then two free throws to seal the game. Nelson finished with 13 points over the last 6 and a half minutes of regulation and overtime, adding 4 rebounds, an assist, and most importantly, the win!
His final game totals were 19 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal.