By Ben Morse, CNN
(CNN) — You might think you’ve seen everything in sports. Well, that was until you saw the feat – or feet, if you will – that Rasheed Bello was able to achieve on Wednesday.
Midway through the game between the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons and the University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles, Bello lost his right shoe in the middle of a play.
Instead of stopping to put it back on and hampering his team’s efforts on defense, the guard picked up his fallen sneaker and remained in the play.
And when Southern Indiana’s Jack Campion rose up to attempt a shot from just inside the three-point line in front of Bello, the junior proceeded to use his stricken shoe – still held in his right hand – in the most unconventional way: to block Campion’s shot.
Extraordinarily, Bello’s size 12 shoe stopped the effort from going anywhere near the basket and allowed his fellow guard, Quinton Morton-Robertson, to recover possession for the Mastodons.
According to off-duty referee and University of Southern Indiana announcer Zane Clodfelter, per the Evansville Courier & Press, using a shoe to block a shot is within the laws of the game, as long as it isn’t thrown.
“The first player to ever record a block with a shoe?” the Mastodons’ official X – formerly known as Twitter – account hypothesized, before suggesting it be sent to Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Fort Wayne head coach Jon Coffman praised Bello’s quick-thinking and defensive effort, saying on social media: “We talk about ‘Whatever It Takes’ to get a stop!”
“I’ve never seen that before in my life, and even the referee said he’s never seen it before,” Screaming Eagles head coach Stan Gouard said, per the Evansville Courier & Press. “A first in my 25 years of coaching. Never saw it before.”
The shoe-block kick-started a late-game surge from the Mastodons who took a 70-57 victory to move to 9-1 on the season, with Bello himself contributing 12 points and five rebounds, as well as the unusual block.
Bello is known for his tough defense, having led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in steals last season during his time with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers.
Though he might not be encouraged to continue utilizing the ‘shoe block’ technique, in times of need, Bello knows he can turn to his unorthodox form of defense to help his team.
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