ST. LOUIS, Mo. Believe it or not, the biggest shot of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship Sunday didn't come from the hands of Jahenns Manigat or Doug McDermott.
That honor belonged to Alex Permann.
Permann, 24, a South Dakota native and a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, drained a half-court shot as part of a pregame promotion, sending the crowd of 16,659 at Scottrade Center into a frenzy before the game between Creighton and Wichita State even started.
One problem: He didn't hit a 3-pointer first.
As part of a long-standing Valley promotion, a fan Permann, in this case attempts to hit a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointe, and a half-court shot within 24 seconds. Nail all four, and you take home 50,000.
Permann got the first two, then ran to half-court and let it fly. There were two seconds left on the clock when the prayer was answered, and the optometry student thought he'd won the big one. And he was visibly disappointed afterward so was the crowd when told that he'd forgotten about the 3-pointer.
"Little bitter about that," Permann told FOX Sports Kansas City. "But oh well. Hopefully we can get enough press and pressure them into hopefully (handing over the money)."
Unfortunately for Permann, he signed away his rights to a prize before hitting the floor. Missouri Valley Conference officials showed FOX Sports Kansas City an affidavit, signed by Permann, that read, in part:
"I understand that in no way am I guaranteed any prize of any value, and that the only way I will win the grand prize is by successfully making a layup, free throw, 3-point shot and half-court shot in 24 seconds, as required by contest rules."
So, basically, the Valley is off the hook.
But league officials didn't want Permann to walk away empty-handed, either. So they gave him a lifetime all-session pass to the MVC Tournament; contest sponsor Casey's provided a year's supply of pizza and doughnuts.
The kid's grateful, don't get him wrong the estimated value of those lifetime tickets is around 155 per year.
One catch, though: Permann's a Creighton fan, and there are strong indications that this might be the Jays' last visit to Arch Madness. The MVC champs are expected to join the revamped Big East, perhaps as soon as this summer.
"That's what I'm kind of confused about, but oh well," Permann chuckled. "It was an awesome experience."
According to the MVC office, that was the second near-miss on the 24-second shot contest in six years. In 2007, a participant hit the layup, the free throw and the 3-pointer, but the 50,000 half-court shot popped in and out of the cylinder.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org