The shot was like an optical illusion. How could a buzzer-beater taken maybe 18 feet from the basket be a game-tying three-pointer? At first look, a clear two-pointer. Except wait a minute, run that replay again. Again. ... Again.

We’ll stay right there for the start of City 6 observations, Vol. 9.

Keep watching those replays and it begins to come into focus, how Ryan Daly’s feet were behind the three-point line before he got the pass, and, if you watch enough replays, you see they never hit the ground before the St. Joseph’s junior let go of the ball.

How crazy was this shot Saturday against Davidson? Top-level nuts. Daly’s own coach, Billy Lange, kept walking, shaking the hand of the opposing coach, acting like it was a two-pointer and the game was over. The telecast put up two points on its scoreboard. The refs had ruled it a two. Daly himself wasn’t sure, not sure if his left foot had hit the ground before the ball left his hand.

Slow-motion replays made it clear. Three-pointer. Going to overtime. When foul shots were being taken in the OT, a Davidson player said to Daly standing next to him, “You’re going to be on top 10.”

He meant ESPN’s top-10 plays of the day. Sure enough it was, at No. 1. Top sports play of the day, on a day when there were a couple of NFL playoff games.

“It didn’t seem as odd in the moment I was doing it,’’ Daly said over the phone the next day. “It seemed like something I could do again. But the way I got my toes down, I’m not sure I could repeat again.”

St. Joe’s lost the game in OT, but this play will outlive the result. If there’s an ESPY award for craziest play, this could be a finalist.

A couple of things about it: The pass didn’t actually look like it was even to Daly, with teammate Lorenzo Edwards set up alone behind the three-point line, as Daly went flying past him, practically intercepting the pass. Except Daly is pretty sure he was, in fact, the target.

“I was screaming to get me the ball,’’ Daly said. “I think it was to me.”

Also, it looked at a glance like Daly touched the ball with only one hand as he redirected it toward the hoop. Except a slower replay shows there was a guide hand, too. Still, not your normal shot by any stretch. By the time Daly’s foot hit the ground, it was 16 or 17 feet from the hoop.

“It was like a fluke, almost like somebody would throw an alley-oop,’’ Daly said of the motion.

Back in town, he watched ESPN with friends as SportsCenter unveiled its top 10 plays of the day. When the network got to like No. 3, he figured maybe it wouldn’t use his shot. Then it got to No. 1, and still hadn’t used it.

“All my friends went nuts,’’ Daly said, recounting how his face had been on those top 10 plays once before, for a different reason. “Derrick Jones dunked on someone [at Archbishop Carroll] and I kind of laughed in the guy’s face.”

He was on line at Dalessandro’s on Sunday afternoon, he said, when a guy wearing a Sixers jersey was talking about the play, not realizing the guy right behind him was the guy who had pulled it off.

All-transfer-home team

After former Imhotep Charter star Dahmir Bishop transferred from Xavier home to St. Joseph’s, radio talk show host Harry Mayes suggested coming up with an all-transfer-home team. Good idea.

Some ground rules: You have to be from here to come back here, so we’re not talking about transfers such as Eric Paschall to Villanova.

Here’s what I’ve got, going back only the last 30 years.

First team: Marc Jackson, VCU to Temple. Ramon Galloway, South Carolina to La Salle. Matt Maloney, Vanderbilt to Penn. B.J. Johnson, Syracuse to La Salle. Tyrone Garland, Virginia Tech to La Salle.

La Salle's Tyrone Garland.
Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
La Salle's Tyrone Garland.

Special awards go to Marvin O’Connor and Ryan Daly, since they didn’t go far or have to come back far, but O’Connor’s Villanova-to-St. Joe’s move and Daly’s Delaware-to-St. Joe’s transfer technically did get them closer to home. But we won’t officially count them.

Second team: Levan Alston Sr., New Orleans to Temple. Tasheed Carr, Iowa State to St. Joe’s. Earl Pettis, Rutgers to La Salle. Dominick Mejia, North Carolina State to Drexel. Bill Phillips, William & Mary to St. Joe’s.

If anybody obvious is missing, call Harry’s radio show to complain.

Starting slowly in the league

If good teams win on the road in league play, what do we call teams that lose at home? Because we’ve got a bunch of those teams around here right now.

January means the start of league play, and it hasn’t been too pretty locally once you get past Villanova. The Wildcats were 2-0 through the weekend in such games, while the rest of the Big Five was a combined 1-7. Add Drexel’s 2-1, and the City 6 was 5-8.

Or put it another way, through their first two conference home games, the City 6 schools were a combined 4-8. If that sounds historically bad, it is. We looked at the last decade, and the worst previous collective record was 6-6 a couple of times.

Performance of the week

Did anyone do better than Saddiq Bey’s 33 points Saturday for Villanova against Georgetown? When Bey or anyone else makes 8 of 10 threes for the Wildcats, they’re a little tough to beat.

Shocker of the week

Didn’t expect Penn to drop both ends of the Princeton season series. The Quakers now have to claw their way to the Ivy League tournament again, every game important.

No panic

Temple opponents know to try to get the Owls to beat them from the outside, since shooting is not a strength and doesn’t look like it’s going to turn into one.

As frustrated as Temple coach Aaron McKie sounds by the recent efforts, he also doesn’t sound like he’s looking around for a panic button. For instance, freshman guard Josh Pierre-Louis, expected to be the future at point guard, has been getting more minutes lately, but McKie isn’t just handing him the ball.

Temple guard Josh Pierre-Louis driving against Tulane defender Teshaun Hightower on Saturday.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Temple guard Josh Pierre-Louis driving against Tulane defender Teshaun Hightower on Saturday.

Asked for a progress report, McKie said, “He’s still learning. He’s got a ways to go. Like any other freshman, they’re going to have their ups and downs. But he’s up for the task. I just want to teach him how to run a team and position guys. He’s so electric; he wants to do everything right away. He lacks experience right now. It’ll come. The more we can get him on the floor and the more we can get him some meaningful minutes, he’ll benefit.”