Numerous time this season Blue Devils fans witnessed amazing team play, heroic individual efforts, and gut-wrenching games that have come down to the final possession. In honor of the eventful 2011-12 season, BallDurham has compiled the three best moments of the season.
3. Duke rallies from 20 down to beat NC State 78 – 73
Down by 20 with eleven and a half minutes left at Cameron Indoor to in-state rival North Carolina State, Duke staged a furious comeback behind Seth Curry’s 26 points to win 78-73. Duke was down 16 points at halftime, the largest halftime deficit overcome under Coach K’s tenure as head coach.
2. Duke wins the Maui Invitational by beating #14 Kansas
A day after beating then #15 Michigan, an unlikely hero stepped up for the Blue Devils to beat the eventual runner-ups. Sophomore guard Tyler Thornton, known better for his defense than his scoring ability, hit an off-balance three-pointer with twenty seconds left to let the Blue Devils hold on to a 68-61 win for its fifth Maui Invitational title. Ryan Kelly chipped in 17 points to win MVP honors for the tournament.
1. Austin Rivers hits the game-winning 3 pointer to beat UNC at the Dean Dome
Austin Rivers did what no other Duke freshman has ever done: scored 29 points at the Dean Dome, including the game-winning three pointer as time expired, to propel the Blue Devils to an 85-84 victory over the Tar Heels. Following a defensive switch placing Tyler Zeller on Rivers, Rivers took a few dribbles, sized up his defender, and released a high-arching shot over the outstretched fingers of Zeller that hit nothing but nylon to give the Blue Devils an unlikely come-back victory over the Tar Heels.