Duke’s had some epic buzzer beaters over the years. Gene Banks had his against UNC in 1980. Austin Rivers had a stone-cold buzzer beater in Chapel Hill that dropped through the net as time expired. And of course Christian Laettner had a huge one against UConn only to top it with the legendary shot against Kentucky in 1992.
Sean Dockery gets kind of lost in that shuffle but his shot against Virginia Tech in the 2005-06 season was a real stunner.
Let’s set the stage.
Duke was struggling in that game and Seth Greenberg was still new to the job. In his first visit to Cameron, he had clearly been upset by the Cameron Crazies. He was ejected and when he left the court some hands came very close to touching him. We can remember him jerking and looking at the students, obviously offended.
As far as Greenberg was concerned, it was on. Duke got no easy games from Virginia Tech after that and that included this one.
Duke didn’t play all that well and Virginia Tech cut an 11 point lead to nine before Coleman Collins tipped in a basket with 1.6 left.
You have to understand that Duke winning was a literal and figurative long shot. There was still 1.6 left, but how often do you get a play off with 1.6 left when you have to go the full distance of the court? People were hopeful but most everyone was pessimistic. Virginia Tech had beaten Duke in Cameron. The rest was just a formality.
Collins was sure too. We can remember seeing him taunt the Duke players under the Virginia Tech basket as the final play began to unfold.
Duke’s Josh McRoberts took the ball out of bounds and threw a perfect pass to Sean Dockery at half court, who took one dribble and launched. When you look at the video - we never noticed this before - after he shoots, he’s watching the trajectory of the ball and kind of hunches over in anticipation. He knew it was on target and it could go.
When it did, Cameron absolutely erupted. That place is prone to eruptions but this one was unique because that game was lost. Everyone was waiting but the general sense was...it was over.
So when the shot fell, the emotions were completely unique. We don’t think Cameron has ever had a finish quite like that before. The emotion, the relief, was incredible.
Anyway, if you saw it, here it is again. If you didn’t, and you’re a Duke fan, this’ll be a treat.