We’re counting down the top moments of Duke basketball from the decade of the 2010s. Our countdown started in the first installment with
10. 2018 comeback against Texas in the PK80
9. Ryan Kelly’s return against Miami in 2013
Today, we move up to the next two spots on the list with another epic comeback and a postseason title.
8. The comeback against Louisville:
Coach K gathered his team in a huddle and told them one simple line. “I don’t coach losers.”
At the time, losing seemed inevitable. No. 16 Louisville, playing at home, was laying it on the No. 2 Blue Devils, leading 59-36 with 9:58 to go.
It turned out Duke had the Cardinals right where it wanted them. The Blue Devils finished the game on a 35-10 run and clinched the win with a pair of Cam Reddish free throws with 14 seconds to go.
Freshman Zion Williamson, playing the final 12 minutes with four fouls, scored 11 points with four rebounds down the stretch as Duke tied a 21-year-old NCAA basketball record for largest second-half comeback.
7. Four games, four days:
No team had ever won four games in four days to take the ACC Tournament title, but the Blue Devils faced just that scenario heading into the 2017 tourney in Brooklyn. Entering as the fifth seed, Duke missed out on the coveted double bye and had to play on Wednesday, the first full day of games following Tuesday’s prelims.
The Blue Devils got past Clemson in the opener, 79-72, then beat four-seed Louisville by four. That set up a showdown with top seeded Carolina, one of just five times (a sixth would come the following year) that the teams had played outside of the state of North Carolina. Duke won by 10, setting up a title game against three-seed Notre Dame. The Blue Devils took that one by four.
Four days, three wins against higher-seeded foes, and an ACC title, the first for the Blue Devils since 2011.