After a short tussle with the defender, Eduardo Alves finally tucked the ball home.
So simple, so elegant, so unique. There are some sports traditions that can be copied, mocked, mocked but ultimately can not be topped. Lambeau Leap, which dots “I” in Ohio State, Clemson’s walk down the hill from Howard’s Rock are all examples. None of these, however, hold a light against the adrenaline rush in the game, which is Duke basketball’s Cameron indoor floor.
The first time I saw it was when gravelly point guard Steve Wojciechowski did so in 1998. A simple plank smack galvanized the team and fired energy throughout the building like a firework.
Over the years, floor coverings have been a signal to everyone that it is time to protect the house. It’s time to take the emotions and the heart Mike Krzyzewski was brought to this school in 1980. It’s time for a defensive position on Coach K Court.
What was true 23 years ago at Wojo’s Senior Day was truly true Saturday night during the Duke’s 66-65 victory over No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers (15-5, 11-3 ACC).
READ AND: Duke has a star born against Virginia
Down one point with 2:40 left in the match, senior guard Jordan Goldwire hit the floor. The rest of the team followed. And what continued was subliminal happiness.
Virginia did not score the rest of the way.
The Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6 ACC) relied on J Gold’s energy – with good reason because the man had four thefts – and decided that the Cavaliers would not see anything else go through the arc.
They did not score after this 👊🔒 pic.twitter.com/piaV7F9M8h
– Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 21, 2021
Symbol of Duke basketball growth
You can point to many things for Duke’s improvement recently. Communication. The emergence of beginner centers Mark Williams. Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt decides that he just will not miss anymore.
But anyone who has seen a Blue Devil version of a championship knows that you can not win tournament games without a heart.
Defense can be taught and communication learned over time, but intensity and passion are things that only exist within. Hard times make strong men, and last night gave hope that these Blue Devils have learned from the hard times and can come out of the other side harder than a fortress made of Salisbury steak in the cafeteria.
Duke have lost seven games by seven points or less this season, and for a team that claws for its life in the March gala, they must start turning into victories at some point. Now the Blue Devils may have found their spark, and with four regular season games left to make an impression on the selection committee, a spark is as important as air.
While I feel confident that Duke has found a sixth gear and will play well into March, I can also truly say that even if it’s a little too late for hope after the season, the effort and passion that returns to every game will to be a welcome return to normalcy for all of us Duke basketball fans.
Bookmark Ball Durham for more Duke basketball news and opinions.
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