Gordon Hayward throw a half-court shot at the buzzer as the crowd holds their breath when the ball went to the backboard and into the rim and then out. The Duke Blue Devils escape with a precarious two point win against heavy underdog the Butler Bulldogs. “I said yesterday that when you coach these guys, you can be at peace with whatever result you achieve from a won-loss standpoint because of what they gave — they gave everything we had, we just came up a bounce short. There’s certainly nothing to hang your head about. I told them in there, what they’ve done, what they did together, will last longer than one night, regardless of the outcome.” Said the 33 year Butler coach Brad Stevens. Butler had only 4,200 student s with a very tiny basketball program compared to Duke’s 13,457 students and has a huge basketball culture having gone to numerous NCAA tournaments grabbing 4 National titles for the past 30 years under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. It was another epic battle between David and Goliath but this time Goliath followed a different script. The big three John Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith delivered the decisive offensive blow but in the end it was the Blue Devils defense that won the game. They hold Butler to only 34 percent shooting but most importantly it was Brian Zoubek’s defense disrupting a driving Hayward with only 3.9 seconds remaining for a potential game winning shot.
When the going gets tough Duke relies on their defense the defense that took them from 35-5 and back to the National Championships as the number 1 seed.
We all love underdogs and it could be a fitting ending to a remarkable season Butler has been through. Nobody expected them to go that far and when they beat Michigan State by only two points everybody thought they couldn’t match Duke’s high intensity basketball level. The national finals ended as what I expected the Duke will win the game because of their defense but Butler’s resiliency will give them a tough time. In fact the game was only decided on the last second on a half court shot by Hayward.
Defense wins games but resurgence wins the hearts of many.
A round of applause to both teams they gave us one helluva game.