Monday, April 5, 2010

Duke does it, in 61-59 thriller over Butler

Duke's Miles Plumlee (21) and teammates celebrate after Duke's 61-59 win over Butler in the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Monday, April 5, 2010, in Indianapolis.

Duke's Miles Plumlee (21) and teammates celebrate after Duke's 61-59 win over Butler in the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Monday, April 5, 2010, in Indianapolis.


Duke vs. Butler

Box score

— The ball sailed from halfcourt with the buzzer sounding — bounced off the backboard, the rim, the floor.

Most of the 70,000 fans on Butler's side let out an "Ohhhhhh," and the Duke players piled onto Kyle Singler at center court. What a game! And what a way to end the season, even if America's favorite underdog came up a little short.

Duke beat Butler 61-59 for the national championship Monday night, a win that wasn't secure until after the buzzer sounded — when Gordon Hayward's half-court, 3-point heave for the win barely missed to leave tiny Butler one cruel basket short of the Hollywood ending.

Singler scored 19 points and Brian Zoubek rebounded Hayward's miss with 3.6 seconds left — a 15-footer while trailing by 1 — to end the overachieving underdog's try for a real-life "Hoosiers" sequel.

"We just came up a bounce short," Butler coach Brad Stevens said.

That bounce went in favor of the Blue Devils (35-5), who snapped Butler's 25-game winning streak and brought the long-awaited fourth national title back home to Carolina and the Cameron Crazies.

The "Big Three" — Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith — won the Big One for coach Mike Krzyzewski, his first championship since 2001 and the fourth overall, tying Coach K with Adolph Rupp for second place on the all-time list.

"First of all, it was a great basketball game. I want to congratulate an amazing Butler team and their fans," Krzyzewski said. "Fabulous year. We played a great game, they played a great game. It's hard for me to say it, to imagine that we're the national champions."

Nobody figured this would be easy, and it wasn't — no way that was going to happen against Butler, the 4,200-student private school that turned the tournament upside down and drove 5.6 miles from its historic home, Hinkle Fieldhouse, to the Final Four.

Butler (33-5) shaved a five-point deficit to one and had a chance to win it, when its best player, Hayward, took the ball at the top of the key, spun and worked his way to the baseline, but was forced to put up an off-balance fadeaway from 15 feet.

He missed, Zoubek got the rebound and made the first of two free throws. He missed the second one intentionally, and Duke's title wasn't secure until Hayward's desperation heave bounded out.

What a game to end one of the most memorable tournaments in history, the kind that could be history if the NCAA goes ahead with what an expansion to 96 teams — something very much on the table for next year.

"Both teams and all the kids on both teams played their hearts out," Krzyzewski said. "There was never more than a couple, a few points separating, so a lot of kids made big plays for both teams."

Nobody led by more than six.

Playing against the Bulldogs and working against a crowd of 70,930 with very few pockets of Duke fans, the Blue Devils persevered — never leading by more than six but never falling behind after Singler hit a 3-pointer with 13:03 left for a 47-43 lead.

The Blue Devils won with defense. Holding the Bulldogs to 34 percent shooting and contesting every possession as tenaciously as Butler, which allowed 60 points for the first time since February. Zoubek, the 7-foot-1 center, finished with two blocks, 10 rebounds and too many altered shots to count, but also came out to trap the Butler guards and disrupt an offense that was already struggling.

They won with some clutch shooting, including Singler's 3-for-6 effort from 3-point range and 6 of 6 from the free throw line in the second half until Zoubek's intentional miss.

They won with a mean streak, most pointed when Lance Thomas took down Hayward hard to prevent an easy layup with 5:07 left. The refs reviewed the play and decided not to call it flagrant — one of a hundred little moments that could have swung such a tight, taut game.

In the true team fashion that has defined "The Butler Way," the scoring was distributed almost perfectly even. Hayward and Shelvin Mack had 12 each. Matt Howard, coming off a concussion in the semifinal win over Michigan State, finished with 11, and 2-point-a-game scorer Avery Jukes kept Butler in it with all 10 of his points in the first half.

But Butler's 33-year-old coach Stevens was correct when he said his team couldn't endure another 15-for-49 shooting night — what Butler shot Saturday in the semifinals. The Bulldogs went 20 for 58 this time — 34.5 percent — almost every bit as bad. All the heart in the world can't overcome that.

"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," Stevens said. "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."

A disappointing ending to those who wanted to see the "Hoosiers" sequel play out in real life. In that movie, based on the high school championship won by tiny Milan High in 1954, Jimmy Chitwood hits the game-winner at the buzzer to win one for the little guys.

Despite losing, Butler may have proven its point nonetheless.

Mega-money and power conferences aren't the only ones with a chance in big-time college sports. Nothing proves that better than the NCAA tournament — March Madness, a great event that stayed good into April this year.


MGJayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Gordon F-ing Hayward!!!! That kid is a stud. Butler deserves mad respect from KU fans.

Next year Hawks! Hope that taste in your mouth is bitter. Get ready to go to the Final Four next year!!!

KULA 11 years, 9 months ago

Worst version of "One Shining Moment" ever. Why all the shots of the singer (Jennifer Hudson)? Who cares who's singing? And NO Kansas. Thanks again Bill.

lovemyhawks 11 years, 9 months ago

WHAT A GAME!!!!! but yes, a horrible version of "one shining moment"....... that was not even close to what it has always been..... it DOES matter who is singing!! wish hayward would have made that long shot at the end!

should have been kansas...... seems a lifetime ago that they lost....

Theutus 11 years, 9 months ago

Zoubek got away with murder all night.... The officials pretty much raped Butler. Not that I really care about either team, but it was obvious Zoubek could get away with anything all night... Just more sad officiating.

Milhawkee 11 years, 9 months ago

That second to last shot Heyward had was a fadeaway because Singler pushed him!

Mike Skiles 11 years, 9 months ago

To sum things up.....Duke Sucks! We should give respect to the dukies for being the weakest NCAA champion of the past decade?? Why wallow in the mud? Duke sucks, and always will. Thanks to the tournament committee, for paving Duke's way by placing them in the easiest regional bracket. What a joke. For the few jayhawks who found themselves supporting Duke in the past week, just so they might earn a buck in their local tourney pool - do you feel properly dirty now? Be true to the blue!

1977kufan 11 years, 9 months ago

"What a game to end of the most memorable tournaments in history" and one of the tournaments that I wish I could forever banish from my memory. I am very glad that I did not waste my time watching this game. This is simply, "Duke does it" and KU BLEW IT (lower case and upper case intentionally placed). Finally, we have North Carolina in 2009 and Duke 2010 as the national champions. Anybody think this ACC (expletive purposefully not added by the author and you can fill in the noun - hint it is the short form of male bovine excrement) needs to stop. For everybody in and around Allen Fieldhouse, this next year is time to step up and let every college basketball fan and sports journalist (and many others) know which school in the Big 12 conference is the best basketball school (or you can look at it from cleaning up the "mess" of the male bovine excrement). Rock Chalk and take of business (now next year) and no stumbling around mid-Major programs (got it)!!!

1977kufan 11 years, 9 months ago

Follow up note - in my previous blog, KU was capitalized (when submitted) but was changed to lower case by the LJW website. WOW (let's see if that stays capitalized and let's see if KU remains capitalized in this note).

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 9 months ago

as an above note stated, i thought Singler pushed Hayward as well on the drive...he had his elbow into him.

Oh well...the Bobby Plump moment was right there..and Hayward couldn't hit it. a la Plump, he probably should have just popped up and shot it...who knows?

Hayward didn't make a three, and Veasley didn't make a three....SOMEBODY had to make threes for Butler...they had plenty of good looks. What a great season they had though....played Duke tougher than anyone by far.

This whole tournament boiled down to a darn good team...Kansas... who lost to a team they shouldn't have.....and we could have gone all the way to the Finals, playing no higher than a five seed. a big exclamation point to the disappointment of this year's tourney run.

as i've posted before, this is a hard lesson for our coaching staff to learn. we'll see how they react in the next year or two. Because next year, we have a chance to be darn good again.

and k-state will be the favorites and the media the spotlight will be off. We'll have no excuses of "pressure."

BCRavenJHawkfan 11 years, 9 months ago

Bottom line, Butler played in a 6 game tournament while Duke drew a 2 game tournament. The NCAA got the best of both worlds, a small school with local interest and the secure big market ACC. And the end result probably bolsters the idea of expansion for the tournament.

Joel Hood 11 years, 9 months ago

KULA - you are so right. The Jennifer Hudson version was an abomination of the original by David Barrett. Give me the extended 6 minute version they used to play - pre Luther Vandross - any day over that ode to Jennifer Hudson's "look how skinny I am now!" Seriously... when the song starts, "The ball is tipped...", shouldn't we see a ball being tipped and not her airbrushed face????????

Was anyone else thinking that the Duke foul on the late layup was intentional? I'm biased against Duke, but that foul had almost nothing to do with getting the ball and everything to do with stopping vertical motion. Also, shut up Clark Kellogg - stop telling us why you don't want it to be called an intentional foul...

(I'm not bitter or anything... when do the NBA playoffs begin?)

Joel Hood 11 years, 9 months ago

KULA - there was a shot of KU in the OSM montage... Mario Little on the floor with his head buried.

chaggs 11 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if Dick V had a thrill going up his leg last night! hmmm. Why is it so easy to hate Duke?

Last thoughts...

Bottom line...the best TEAM lost last night. The team with the better PLAYERS won. Barely.

Pros and cons regarding the expansion to 96. Pro = more stories like Butler Con = Big East might have had 12 teams in the tournament. Con = The regular season would be meaningless.

Hank Cross 11 years, 9 months ago

I hate Duke as much as the next person having personally witnessed Danny Ferry winning in Allen Fieldhouse, but enough about Duke's bracket. On paper they had a tougher 2nd round game than KU and would've had to gone through both UK and KU (the top 2 teams all year) to win it all. The fact is they got it done while the other No. 1s didn't.

There is also no doubt in my mind that either Duke or Butler would've beaten KU. They executed better and played with more desire.

trueblue9 11 years, 9 months ago

At least take heart that its the last time you'll ever see One Shining Moment (at least until CBS gets the tourney back in 10 years, maybe), and that it wasn't Dickie V announcing Duke's victory (which it probably will be on ESPN next year).

Joel Hood 11 years, 9 months ago

trueblue9 - don't count your chickens re CBS. They have entered into a partnership with Turner Sports to accomodate greater coverage, especially if the Dance moves to 96 teams. I know ESPN w/ the Mouse has deep pockets - but CBS really wants to keep the tourney.

FYI - here is a link to the original version of One Shining Moment. Sorry, that I could only find the version from 1987 & not one from 1988. The intro to the song and the actual song still give me goosbumps. Jennifer Hudson's version was sans goosebumps.

BCRavenJHawkfan 11 years, 9 months ago


I'm currious about your view of Duke's 2nd round game. They played Cal but could have played Louisville. I take it you viewed either of those as tougher than UNLV or Northern Iowa?

Something happened in last nights game that I am surprised didn't get Butler's coach very upset. Duke won the opening tip but the first possession arrow went Duke not Butler. Am I wrong about how the possession arrow should have been after the opening tip? Duke scored off that extra possession. Don't remember if it was a two or a three; regardless, it looked pretty important to me.

Dirk Andrews 11 years, 9 months ago

It makes me sick to my stomach to see Singler and Scheyer get it done and not Cole and Sherron. I know that KU was great this year, but all these teams that made it deeper than we did, had something that we just didn't have. That thing missing, I have no idea what it was; but we didn't have it. KU can't expect to win off of just playing 4 good minutes of basketball the whole game. Worked through the Big 12 ( I have no idea how), but blew up in our faces in the Tourney.
However bad the officiating, (which I thought was horrible on a charging call in favor of Scheyer and Zoubek raping Butler down low) it doesn't mean anything. Duke got the calls, and made the most of them. Butler missed a ton of "bunnies" and even a few FT's that could've sent the game the other way. Not Duke's fault.
And who cares about the bracket? Duke won their games, and we didn't. There was nothing special about it, no biases, nothing. They won their games. As much as I hate Scheyer, he can really manage a game well, and who came up with all the big shots they needed last night? Singler. There was no smoke and mirrors about Duke this year. They didn't have the flashy one and done freshman, and they didn't play in the best conference. Oh well. They won. Stop being haters. I hate everyone but KU, but give respect where respect is due.

KULA 11 years, 9 months ago

Duke always gets the benefit of the foul call. Refs don't call a foul on Duke unless there is an actual advantage created by contact. This becomes obvious when the refs blow the whistle late on contact, waiting to see if an advantage is created. And even then, they don't call a foul if they can call something less harmful (to Duke), like Zoubek's out-of-bounds after slamming Howard to the ground. On the opposite side, any contact with a Duke player gets an immediate whistle, advantage or not, like Howard's collision with Duke on the rebound late in the game. On one end, it's "No advantage, no foul." On the other end, it's "Well, there was contact--I have to call a foul." You see this over and over again when you watch Duke games. Dickie V's wife was probably well satisfied last night.

jayhawkerjoel--thanks for the correction, but that doesn't make it any better, haha. And once again, thanks again, Bill.

lovemyhawks 11 years, 9 months ago

jayhawkerjoel.... thanks for the site for the 1987 shining moment..... that's the way they should be. i look forward to that song each and every year, no matter who wins....... it gives me goosebumps and makes me teary eyed. but NOT THIS YEAR....... i thought that was horrible...... too much jennifer, too much cheerleaders and not the voice at all for the song......

IF you find anything for 1988, let us know!! THANKS!

lovemyhawks 11 years, 9 months ago

ok..... i just went back and watched last nite's one shining moment..... in fact i watched several from the past on youtube then watched from last nite and it's not so bad today. i don't think we needed to keep seeing jennifer at all but maybe i was too hard on her. it's NOT the same and i prefer luther and the others, definitely, but it was more tolerable the 2nd time around.......

Don Whiteley 11 years, 9 months ago

This has to be the worst outcome to the worst NCAA tournament in recent history. Not only did KU urinate all over itself losing to its third unknown (Be very, very afraid of Slippery Rock next year), Duke has to win the whole, shameful mess. It makes you want to just put your head in a toilet and vomit your way into oblivion..

kcbest 11 years, 9 months ago

I agree with distant_voice. Profuse vomiting induced by Puke's win of this messy messy tourney. For me it's easy to hate Duke because of their overly smug guards. From Booby Hurley to Scheyer, I can't stand their arrogance. I shared a plane with Bill Self a few days ago. We spoke briefly. He voiced his discontent with KU's performance in very a genuine manner. Typical Self. That is a remarkable quality in a person under his level of stress and scrutiny. I have all the respect in the world for him; I think we have one of the best coaches in the NCAA. I'm done with the blame game. I just want to see a KU sneaker hanging out of every Duke players butt!

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