Throwback Thursday: The Miracle Minute
As we patiently await the 2017-2018 College Basketball season, I figured I would have a little fun with a series of “throwback Thursday” posts. For starters, I chose “The Miracle Minute”. Best described by the man himself, Jason (Jay) Williams (posted in the video below). This was definitely a historic moment for Duke basketball. While I’m sure most of you already know the story, here is a little refresher. Enjoy!
It was in the year 2001, Duke was playing Maryland, at Maryland’s home court. A little history behind Duke vs. Maryland: Jay Williams was a Maryland native and heavily recruited by Maryland, which made things a little more intense when playing them. Duke was currently ranked second in the nation, and had won 43 of the last 44 ACC regular season games. Ironically, the only loss was to Maryland AT Cameron. So basically, this was their redemption game. Both teams started off pretty strong. Duke lead 25-24, when Maryland went on a 20-4 run that put them up 44-29, with about 3 minutes left in the half. Coach K even stated, “Maryland is an incredibly difficult place to play, so its start was not surprising.” As the game was coming to an end, it wasn’t looking too good for The Blue Devils. Little did everyone know, Jay Williams would be the hero of this game, doing the unthinkable. He took the game to a final score of 98-96 in overtime, from being down 12 points, with 65 seconds left on the clock. In the words of Coach K, “up to that point in the Maryland game, he had one of the most horrendous games that a kid of his ability could ever have.” This was shocking for most to hear because of his amazing comeback. The Blue Devils were trailing behind Maryland by 10, as the clock ticked down to the one-minute mark. Williams stole the ball and got a successful shot up with 53.5 seconds remaining, which then made this an 8-point game. ESPN’s Mike Patrick best described the situation. “Duke can no longer stop the clock. They need a miracle”, and right as he said this, Jay stole the ball yet again and drained a 3-pointer with 48.7 seconds left. The miracle they needed was just about to become their reality and Maryland fans were not happy about it (they even trashed the court once they lost). Especially when their player, Drew Nicholas, an 80 percent free-throw shooter on that season, missed back to back shots when they needed it most. Long story short, Duke’s Chris Duhon, rebounded the ball, passed it to Jay, who then hit another 3-pointer to make it a 2-point game. The clock was now at the 40 second mark, and I could only imagine the excitement and the pressure that the players were feeling at this point... Jay ends up on the free-throw line, making both shots, which tied the game for overtime. It was in those moments that Duke realized they could easily win this, and they did just that.
Once March Madness approached the season, Duke met Maryland again in the final four, and beat them once more to advance to the championship game. I think we all know how that one turned out, Duke’s third championship title in the books and a question of a new rivalry (against Maryland). This was painted by many fans as a definite rival, and some thought otherwise. According to Coach K and Jay Williams, it was indeed one of the biggest rivalries, at least of that season. The chant (still chanted by the Cameron Crazies today) “not our rival” apparently originated from these games. The chant is still carried on today, from the fact that Maryland is no longer a part of the ACC. I think it’s pretty cool that us Duke fans still carry on the tradition of these chants and the history behind it. Pay close attention if you’re ever at a Duke vs. Maryland game, you may just hear it! Oh and watch out for the trash throwing, they tend to do that when they lose to Duke. 😉
Hope you all enjoyed this “throwback Thursday” memory, stay tuned for more next week! Much love,