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Tyrik Dixon on ankle-breaking crossover going viral

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Erik Bacharach, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Published 5:50 p.m. CT Jan. 30, 2018 | Updated 8:03 p.m. CT Jan. 30, 2018

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Members of the MTSU men’s basketball team share their reactions to the play that made Tyrik Dixon a viral sensation.
Erik Bacharach/DNJ

Millions of views across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Coverage by ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report.

“Social media, man,” MTSU guard Tyrik Dixon said. “It’s amazing.”

Thanks to social media, Dixon’s ankle-breaking crossover of UTEP’s Evan Gilyard on Saturday went from a head-turning moment at Murphy Center to a must-see highlight nationwide.

SportsCenter posted a clip of the play to its Instagram account on Sunday. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had received more than 2.5 million views. The caption: “Ankles. Taken.”

Here’s how Dixon, teammates and others described the play that made him a viral sensation.

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MTSU guard Tyrik Dixon breaks the ankles of UTEP’s Evan Gilyard with a crossover during their game at Murphy Center on Jan. 27, 2018.
Stadium

The crossover

With less than four minutes to go in a 73-43 game, Dixon’s shifty move put Gilyard on skates. The UTEP freshman was already stumbling before Dixon’s crossover sent him to the ground near half-court.

Dixon: It was really just like a simple behind-the-back crossover, but I guess I might have changed pace or something. I didn’t really try to do too much.

I’ve made some people fall, but not like how he fell. Not in a game.

Forward James Hawthorne: I was in the game so I was running down the court … Next thing I look back and bam! I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness.” I was in a state of I-don’t-know.

Guard Donovan Sims: When I saw Tyrik make the move, the first time (Gilyard) stumbled, I sat up a little bit, because I didn’t know what was going on. And then he made the next move and he fell and it kind of froze my mind. I was like, ‘Did that really just happen?’

Forward Nick King: The bench went crazy. We knew it was going to blow up on social media.

Guard David Simmons: I haven’t seen somebody’s ankle go that bad before.

Fox Sports analyst Doug Gottlieb on Stadium’s broadcast: That’s one where you go to your manager and you say please destroy the tape so we don’t have to watch it over and over and over again.

The point

After Gilyard fell, Dixon pointed at him. The gesture sent an already hyped crowd at Murphy Center into an even deeper frenzy.

Guard Antwain Johnson: Me and Ed (Simpson) were sitting beside each other. We just kind of start laughing because right before that play happened, the guy was talking smack to Tyrik.

Dixon: I wouldn’t have even done it but just because he was talking trash. It was just like instinct at that time.

Johnson: That’s just Tyrik. He’s a real good competitor.

King: After you cross somebody like that, you’ve got to do something like that. If it was me, I would have shot the ball, but I know it was a half-courter. Obviously he knew he wasn’t going to shoot the ball, so he just had to point.

Hawthorne: My reaction was like (mouth wide open).

CBS Sports analyst Jon Rothstein on Twitter: Only in Murfreesboro.

MTSU coach Kermit Davis: I was talking to somebody on the bench so I kind of missed the play. I did see him pointing at the guy. I didn’t really like that a whole bunch, but it’s amazing how social media just has a life of its own. It really does.

Great for the program. I wish he wouldn’t have pointed, but it’s one of those things that he’ll learn from it.

The reaction

Dixon: My phone’s been buzzing a lot.

Sims: It’s a lot of recognition for the school, for the program. And Tyrik got a whole bunch of followers.

Dixon: Like a few thousand. I had like 5,000 followers before the game and then before practice (Tuesday), I had like 14,000 on Instagram.

Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to blow up like this. It was just simple, competitive nature, and it just took off, I guess. 

Simmons: It’s great to get the national recognition for the program. I tell ‘Rik all the time that he’s famous.

Hawthorne: It was great. Brings a lot of publicity to our team.

That attention, we need all that attention because in this conference, we’ve got a target on our backs. But as far as other conferences, we’re the underdogs. So we need all that publicity.



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