And still grabbed the crown.
On its last four possessions, the Blue Devils scored a single point, a FT by Brian Zoubek with 3.6 seconds on the clock. One. A lonely number.
And, frankly, an insignificant one. They didn’t need it. The Dooookies won by a deuce. 61-59.
Nolan Smith hit the second of two charity tosses at 3:16 which gave Duke its 60th point, the one they needed to win. It was the first time in the tourney Butler had given up a 60th point.
Between that FT and Zoubek’s FT, here’s what Duke did. Kyle Singler traveled. Nolan Smith left a driving lay up on the front of the rim. Kyle Singler, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, airballed a fifteen footer.
And Coach K, who now has as many NCAA titles as any coach not name Wooden, airballed a call. He had Zoubek purposely miss the second FT that would have given Duke an overtime-assuring 3 point lead.
During that three minute stretch, at the other end of the court, Butler got a wide open lay up from Matt Howard on an assist from Gordon Hayward, and another on an assist from Shelvin Mack after Howard kept the possession alive with an offensive board.
With ten seconds to play and Butler still down but a digit, Hayward missed what would have been an improbable fadeaway over Zoubek’s considerable reach.
You know what happened at the end. Hayward grabbed the board after Zoubek’s coach-ordered blunder, drove to mid-court and launched the shot that coulda woulda shoulda turned this into the greatest American sporting moment . . . ever.
Duke won the NCAA championship.
Butler won the season.
– Seedy K