The last time Duke played for a title, Butler almost pulled off a miracle

Monday April 6th, 2015

Duke plays for a national championship on Monday. The last time the Blue Devils made the NCAA tournament final, Butler's Gordon Hayward came within inches of the greatest championship game finish ever. 

Here's how SI's Tim Layden described it:

With seven seconds to play and Duke clinging to a 60-59 lead, Butler's gifted 6'9" sophomore Gordon Hayward missed a fallaway 15-foot shot from the right baseline. Duke's 7'1" senior center, Brian Zoubek, a central figure in his team's revival, clamped the rebound and was fouled with 3.6 seconds left.

Zoubek made the first free throw and then heard Krzyzewski tell him to miss the second. ("We figured with a rebound, and possession, it would force them to shoot from half-court," Coach K said later.) Zoubek threw the ball hard off the back rim. Hayward grabbed the rebound, pounded several dribbles to half-court—getting a crushing and possibly illegal pick on Duke's Kyle Singler from Matt Howard—and heaved a 46-foot shot. "Son of a gun looked good to me," said Singler.

The shot traced a sublime arc as the clock froze zeros. The ball hit the glass and the rim and fell away. The crowd of 70,930, second largest for a championship game in tournament history, seemed to gasp as one. Duke players tumbled into piles in celebration. "When it missed, this rush came over me," said Duke senior forward Lance Thomas. "Then Jon Scheyer tackled me."

And here's how it looked on television:

You can read Layden's full story here

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