Some moments are bigger than basketball. And sometimes those moments happen to occur on a basketball court.
Colby Jones had one of those moments on Sunday.
After the freshman guard drilled a game-winning 3-pointer in the final second to give Xavier a 74-73 win over Providence at Cintas Center, Jones looked and pointed to the sky as his teammates hugged him.
Jones was clearly emotional, and it wasn't because he'd won the Musketeers a Big East game, it was deeper and far more important than that.
"My grandfather passed away two days ago, just to hit that shot for him, it meant a lot to me," Jones said. "I definitely wanted to play. I knew he'd want me to play. He hasn't missed a game since I probably started playing basketball. I knew I wanted to play this game and make him proud."
Xavier head coach Travis Steele shared that emotion.
"Very emotional," Steele said. "He had a family member pass away, a family member that he's really close with, due to COVID-19.
"It's surreal ... I know he's going through a lot. His teammates have been there for him, our staff has as well. Just couldn't be happier for him."
Jones' heroics came at the end of an utterly wild game that featured 24 lead changes.
Trailing 66-62, Providence went on an 11-0 run to take a 73-66 lead over the Musketeers with 1:13 to play.
"I knew even in the huddle when we were down by seven, I felt good about our team," said Steele. "I just told them, focus on the execution.
"... Take it one possession at a time. We drew up a play, got Nate (Johnson) a wide-open 3 against the (Providence) zone. Nate knocked it in. We knew they were gonna be in a two-three zone, their two-three zone was affecting us in a big way, I thought."
After Johnson made it 73-69 with a minute left, Xavier went to its full-court press which forced a Friars turnover with 51 seconds left.
With possession, Steele told his team to run the same play it had just run.
"I told them I think Zach (Freemantle) will be open on a slip this time ... and he was, got another good look," said Steele.
Freemantle's floater in the lane off an Adam Kunkel assist made it a 73-71 game with 45 seconds left. Providence called a timeout, during which Steele said he and his staff discussed whether they should start fouling to try and extend the game.
"(Providence) had went on a run and it seemed like they were scoring on every single possession," said Steele. "So it was like, do we trust our defense to get us a stop? I just said, 'Hey fellas, listen, if we can't get a stop here then we don't deserve to win the game.'
"Our guys toughened up, got it done and allowed us to make a big-time play on the offensive end."
Xavier's final stop forced a baseline turnover when Providence's Jimmy Nichols Jr. stepped out of bounds late in the shot clock, which gave the Musketeers the ball with 16 seconds left.
Steele said the final play was called for Kunkel and he decided to substitute Jones back into the game to give Xavier a little more space on the floor.
"It was just a simple action," said Steele. "A little DHO (dribble hand-off) to create a driving lane for Adam and I felt like that action had worked a couple times throughout the game and I told Adam, 'Just make the right play out of it, if it's to kick it (out), you got Paul (Scruggs) over there in that right corner, you got Colby in that right slot area and Nate in that left corner, so you got a lot of space and Zach putting pressure on the rim."
Kunkel took it and attacked the rim. When it wasn't there, he sailed it to Scruggs in the corner and Scruggs took one dribble and filtered it back out to Jones at the top of the key, and the rest is history.
"How about the IQ and the wherewithal Paul had?" said Steele. "Paul catches the ball over there in the corner. He knew where Colby was because we had really good spacing on the floor, but he also had an awareness of where the clock was, and Colby made a huge shot."
Jones said when he got subbed into the game late, he was thinking about the final shot.
"I just felt like it was good when it left my hands," said Jones.