Christian Laettner’s shot against Kentucky has become iconic, something you see every March. Even then-President George Bush talked about it the next day. It has become a truly legendary play.
Of course it wasn’t the only great buzzer beater Laettner hit. In his sophomore year, as Duke worked towards its first game with UNLV in the championship game where UNLV embarrassed Duke, the Blue Devils met UConn in the Eastern Regional Finals.
Jim Calhoun had his UConn program on the rise and was the #1 seed in the East and Duke #3.
The game had gone into overtime and UConn was up 79-78 when Tate George took a long three from fairly close to the spot where he had hit a shot with one second left to beat Clemson in the previous game - and that on a full-court pass as well.
Not this time.
He shot an airball that came down in Alaa Abdelnaby’s hands.
On the other end of the court, George nearly intercepted a Bobby Hurley pass (Hurley had guarded him on his previous shot by the way) but lost the ball out of bounds with 2:6 left.
After a timeout, Duke called a play but seeing that UConn wasn’t defending Laettner, the inbounder, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski switched plays and called for “Special”.
After tossing it in Brian Davis, Laettner immediately got the ball back, got just inside the three point line and shot. It’s the only time we ever remotely felt bad for Calhoun. Why? Look at his face as he hugs Krzyzewski.