Monday, November 25, 2013

UVM vs. Duke: What a game!

Thanks to my friend, Lynn, I was able to attend Sunday night's game between Duke and the University of Vermont.  On paper, this game should have been a rout for Duke; what happened is something entirely different.

Duke entered the game ranked sixth in the country. The only flaw in its 4-1 record came from a loss to fifth-ranked Kansas.  Its roster is one of the best in the country, thanks to the usual superb recruiting of Coach Krzyzewski and his staff.  Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the hardest places in the country for a non-ACC team to play; the last time Duke lost a non-conference game there was on February 26, 2000. 

Vermont walked into the building with a 1-4 record, a small section of fans, and the certain knowledge that everyone in the basketball world expected them to lose badly.

Then the game started. 

UVM hung with Duke but fell slowly behind in the first half, at times facing a 13-point deficit but ending the half down eight. 

In the second half, UVM simply outplayed Duke.  They out-rebounded Duke, out-worked Duke, and out-shot Duke.  The buzzer sounded a split second before a UVM player let go of a baseline lay-up that swished through the basket.  A fraction of a second was all that stopped UVM from winning.

The game was as exciting as it sounds.  I feel privileged to have been able to see it.  In many ways, it was the kind of game that makes college sports so exciting. 

I hope Duke's players learn from this game that they should never, ever, ever take any victory for granted and that they should respect each and every opponent. 

I hope the UVM players go home fired up, more confident, and more determined than ever to play their best, because on this night their best was enough to give one of the best teams in the country all that it could handle.


Lynn Bessette said...

I was hoping that we wouldn't lose by more than 50 points. Losing by one was just amazing. As I watched it via ESPNU, I screamed, shouted and applauded our team. When it appeared that we actually might have a chance to win, as at one point we were actually up by 4 points, I could not believe what I was seeing. The Cats were amazing. They went into the game knowing they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Duke, I think, were a little cocky and it bit them in the ass. Their first year phenom did an excellent job and it is clear their team is superior. But on this one night, underdog UVM came out to play with the big boys. They not only played, they played to win. I am so glad you were able to go to the game. This is why I love college basketball. Every dog (or Cat) has it's day. Go Cats!

Mark said...

The UVM team did a great job, no doubt.


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