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YouTube Gold: Duke’s Narrow Escape vs...Vermont?

Yes, Vermont.

Vermont v Duke
DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils looks on during game action against the Vermont Catamounts at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

There were two games in Cameron in the last the last decade or so that were just agonizing to watch.

The most recent was Stephen F. Austin and as soon as Nathan Bains took off for his history-making layup we saw where that was going.

But in some ways that wasn’t as bad as the Vermont game in 2013. SFA was supposed to be a tough program. Vermont? Not as much so.

One of the hallmarks of the Krzyzewski era is that Duke has rarely been unprepared and almost always ruthless, regardless of how strong or weak the opponents have been.

Not this time.

Duke did not meet Vermont’s tenacity and the game was tied 90-90 with five seconds left when 85 percent foul shooter Rodney Hood was fouled on a drive.

He split on the line and Vermont got the ball on the inbounds. Sandro Carissimo bobbled the ball after getting the pass though and Quinn Cook pressured him, forcing him to cut across the court.

It was a costly error.

That came with 4.5 on the clock and Carissimo didn’t get across the center jump circle until 2.5 left and was under pressure from Cook with help from Rasheed Sulaimon.

The pair forced him to his right and cut him off with 1.5 left - he had to pass. So he hit Candon Rusin near press row. Rusin was completely alone.

Why was he alone?

Well partly because Jabari Parker, who was trailing the play, stopped running just after midcourt. If he had headed to the basket Rusin wouldn’t have been able to drive so easily.

As it turned out, it didn't matter.

Cook’s pressure in the backcourt, along with Sulaimon’s on Vermont’s end of the court, took enough time off the clock that when Rusin finally did shoot, it was after the clock had expired.

The Stephen F. Austin game was agonizing and watching that last dash was painful, but Vermont? That, in many ways, was worse.