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Indiana Cheerleaders Come to Rescue When Ball Gets Stuck Between Backboard, Shot Clock

Indiana cheerleaders Nathan Paris and Cassidy Cerny became national heroes Thursday night when they performed a stunt to get the basketball dislodged from the top of the backboard. "It worked, it was good. It was pretty easy,'' said Cerny, who said they practice that move ''every Tuesday.'' Their move went viral.
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PORTLAND, Ore. — When no one else could figure it out, Nathan Paris and Cassidy Cerny sprung into action.

That's just what they do.

During Indiana's basketball game with Saint Mary's in the NCAA Tournament Thursday night, the ball got stuck between the backboard and shot clock early in the second half, and there was a problem getting it down.

Saint Mary's center Matthias Tass, who's 6-foot-10, couldn't reach it with the short mop stick, and Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis thought about it, but couldn't reach it either.

Referee Kelly Pfeifer grabbed a chair, but he couldn't reach it, either, with the short mop handle. Tass tried stepping up on a not-so-secure folding chair, but the referee wouldn't let him.

To the rescue came the Indiana cheerleading squad. Nathan Paris, a senior cheerleader from Floyds Knobs, Ind., hoisted partner Cassidy Cerny, a sophomore from Avon, Ind., up on his shoulders, just like they do in many of their routines, and he lifted her into the air with his hands. She stood up and grabbed the ball off the board, and the game continued.

That's getting the job done. Two smart kids from Indiana.

"It was too high to get for the grounds crew and they didn't want anybody on the steps, so I grabbed Cass and we're like, ''alright push up and we'll see if it works,'' said Paris, a Finance and Information Systems major at Indiana's Kelley School of Business "It was just another stunt.''

"It worked, it was good. It was pretty easy,'' said Cerny, a pre-medicine student who's studying psychology and neuroscience, according to her social media account. She said they practice that move ''every Tuesday.''

Here's the full video of the magical moment.

Thousands of fans throughout the arena gave them a huge cheer, and the entire thing was broadcast to a national TV audience on TBS.

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“What a play!” TBS play-by-player Andrew Catalon shouted while he did play-by-play of the rescue. “The cheerleader saves the day! And that is her one shining moment!

“This place is on its feet!”

The whole thing went viral, and even made SportsCenter at the end of the night. And it most certainly will make its way into CBS' ''One Shining Moment'' video at the end of the day.

It was one shining moment for sure.

There are several more photos of the event and the game itself in the photo gallery linked below.

UPDATE: Paris and Cerny also appeared on "The Today Show'' on Friday morning. Here's their appearance. CLICK HERE

  • INDIANA FALLS TO SAINT MARY'S: Indiana finally ran out of gas on Thursday, and the No. 12-seeded Hoosiers' 82-53 blowout at the hands of Saint Mary's was the worst defeat in IU's storied NCAA Tournament history. They ended the season with a 21-14 record in Mike Woodson's first year at the helm of his alma mater. CLICK HERE.
  • HOOSIERS VS. SAINT MARY'S PHOTO GALLERY: Look at 30 photos from Indiana's NCAA Tournament first round matchup versus Saint Mary's inside the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. CLICK HERE.
  • WHAT JACKSON-DAVIS, GERONIMO SAID: Forwards Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jordan Geronimo talk about the Hoosiers' 82-53 loss to Saint Mary's in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night. Read their full transcripts, or just watch the attached video of the press conference. CLICK HERE
  • HOOSIERS VS. SAINT MARY'S LIVE BLOG: Indiana plays its fifth game in eight days on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament, and during that time, their opponent, Saint Mary's hasn't played a single game. Lots of great storylines tonight, so follow along in our live blog, with news and views right from center court at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. CLICK HERE. 
Indiana cheerleader Cassidy Cerny grabs the ball off the top of the backboard. 

Indiana cheerleader Cassidy Cerny grabs the ball off the top of the backboard. 

Indiana cheerleaders.

Indiana cheerleaders.

Nathan Paris is a senior from Floyds Knobs, Ind.

Nathan Paris is a senior from Floyds Knobs, Ind.

Cassidy Cerny is a sophomore from Avon, Ind.

Cassidy Cerny is a sophomore from Avon, Ind.

The stars of the game, Cassidy Cerny and Nathan Paris.

The stars of the game, Cassidy Cerny and Nathan Paris.