No matter how successful a team is, there are always those moments where pride must be swallowed and tears fought back. With very few exceptions, seasons rarely end with a win, and losses come in a variety of flavors—from heartbreaking losses down the stretch to out-and-out tail kickings.
With a team who has seen as much success as the Blue Devils, the losses are often met by explosions of glee from Duke haters online.
Here’s a look at Duke’s 10 lowest moments of the 2010s, and we start with two games that the Blue Devils actually won.
10. Duke 91, Vermont 90:
Led by a pair of new Blue Devils in freshman Jabari Parker and transfer Rodney Hood, who had sat out the previous season, the 2013-14 Blue Devils opened with a 4-1 record, losing to Kansas in the Champions Classic and beating FAU, UNC-Asheville, Davidson and ECU.
Then came Vermont.
The Catamounts came to Cameron Indoor Stadium and very nearly knocked off the No. 6 Blue Devils before losing 91-90 on a phantom foul on Vermont, leading to the game-winning free throw by Hood with five seconds left.
Things started off well, Duke led by 15 in the first half and by 10 at the under 16 time out in the second half.
Vermont simply couldn’t miss, however. Despite dressing only nine healthy players, the Catamounts shot 66.7 percent in the first half, 63.8 percent in the second.
A livid Coach K challenged his team afterward.
“They were terrific, and we were awful,” he said. “This was an unacceptable performance, and we were lucky to win … You are going to have questions and you are going to pick parts of the game, and I am going to just tell you we were awful. Then you are going to say what are we going to do to correct that, and I am going to say we are going to try not to be awful. It is really as simple as that.”
9. Duke 72, Elon 61:
The 2016-17 Blue Devils headed to Elon for a December game. No. 5 Duke cruised to an 11-point win over the Phoenix in the Greensboro Coliseum, but the real news came with four minutes left in the first half.
Team captain Grayson Allen tangled with Elon’s Steven Santa Ana and tripped him as he tried to head back up court. Allen was tagged with a technical foul. When the magnitude of what he did hit him, Allen had an emotional reaction on the bench, erupting in a tantrum on the bench. Allen had been involved in two other incidents where he tripped opponents the previous year, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back in the eyes of many fans and media. Allen was ripped by ESPN commentators, stripped of his captaincy by Coach K and suspended indefinitely. He spoke to the media in a tearful postgame press gathering.