There was 7.8 seconds remaining. 

Illinois State led by two and was about to inbound the ball. Missouri State junior Keandre Cook tipped the ball and it was knocked towards center court, where nine of the 10 players scrambled for the ball. 

Senior Jarred Dixon emerged with the ball with 1.7 seconds left on the clock. 

Dixon took two dribbles and launched a shot from half court as the clock hit zero. 

“As soon as I let it go, I was like, ‘this has a chance to bank in or bank out,’” Dixon said in the press conference after the game. “It was on target.”

The ball banked in and helped the Bears beat Illinois State in dramatic fashion on Feb. 10. 

That shot went viral from being the top play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 highlights to perhaps the most memorable play of the 2018-19 college basketball season. 

Dixon said that shot is easily his fondest memory from playing at Missouri State.

“There is some other good stuff that happened in my career, but that is definitely No. 1, and nothing will ever take that place,” Dixon said. “That is still unreal to this day to me.”

Now Dixon, who averaged 9.7 points per game over his four-year career with the Bears, is set to graduate next month with aspirations of taking his game to the next level.

The guard said his collegiate career was humbling. Through all the ups and downs he had throughout his collegiate career, he called it a “blessing” to play at Missouri State in front of a fanbase that loves watching basketball. 

“I enjoyed every single second of it,” Dixon said. “I probably wouldn’t change anything that happened in my career here. I feel like each year I got better and better. I learned a lot which will help me down the road in life. I definitely grew a lot as a person on the court and as well as off the court.”

Although he coached Dixon for only one season at Missouri State, head coach Dana Ford believes he has a bright future wherever his career takes him. 

“I don’t think Jarred had a bad practice all year, and he’s very coachable,” Ford said. “I think his future is whatever he wants it to be — on and off the court.”

Dixon hopes that next step is playing professional basketball. 

It helps that his brother, Michael, who was a standout college basketball player at Mizzou and Memphis, has played professionally overseas since 2014.

“It has definitely been a dream,” Dixon said. “I’m going to get my degree first because basketball won’t last forever. Definitely going pro playing at that level is going to be a fun experience. I’m looking forward to the process of it. 

“Having an older brother that plays professionally right now, who tells me all the ins and outs of it, just makes me even more excited to try and perform at that level.”

Dixon said if it wasn’t for his brother, he wouldn’t be where he is at today. 

“His motivation and him making a lot of money today motivates me to try and perform at a higher level than maybe he does,” Dixon said. “I’m excited to take that step.”

Michael has also passed along knowledge to his younger brother about playing pro basketball — mainly, the differences in the competition from the college game to the pros. 

Dixon said the NBA and Europe are “full of grown men.” At the college level, most players are going up against competition that is a few years older versus up to 10 years at the pro level. 

“I’m going to have to continue to get stronger physically and mentally,” Dixon said. “I will have to work on my game in each and every aspect. I have to be physically ready and mentally.”

Dixons said he has not heard from any professional teams yet, but three weeks ago he signed with David Pick, a well-known basketball agent in Europe who knows his brother. So far, he is too early in the process to know where he will start his pro career. 

He also said ideally he would like to play in the NBA, but that is a tough task to accomplish. If he goes to Europe, Dixon said he wants to play somewhere “that is nice, has good food and pays pretty good money — somewhere that I can enjoy my time when I’m not playing basketball.”

If his pro basketball career doesn’t work out, Dixon would love to fall back in to coaching basketball. 

“I don’t know if I will get into that right now,” Dixon said. “Definitely from being around my coaching staff — just playing basketball and watching college basketball — that is something I would want to do.”

His major is in sport and park administration, which produces many coaches, Dixon said. He said it is not a popular major at Missouri State, but one that will serve him well down the road. 

Dixon said his biggest goal in the future — whether he is playing professional basketball or enters the real world — is to have success wherever his path may take him. 

“I want to do the best I can,” Dixon said. “I’m not going to say make the most money I can, but I want to get the most out of each experience whether that is playing professionally in Europe, the NBA or becoming a coach at some level. 

“I just want to try to climb each ladder and get to the top.”

Derek Shore is a Sports Reporter at The Standard. He is a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in communications. He started writing about sports for The Standard during the fall semester of 2018.