INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A last-second half court heave from Butler's Gordon Haywardrattled out allowing the Duke Blue Devils to hang on to win thenational championship Monday night. Duke beat the Bulldogs in a61-59 thriller.
The Blue Devils maintained the lead throughout the secondhalf but the Bulldogs were never far behind.
Butler forward Gordon Hayward had two shots to steal the leadfrom Duke late in the game. His first shot came with Butler down byone with under 10 seconds to play. His baseline shot clanked offthe rim.
Butler then fouled Duke center Brian Zoubek, who hit one oftwo free throws giving the Blue Devils a 61-59 lead with threeseconds left to play. Hayward dribbled to half court and tossed upa last second shot that caromed off the backboard, hit the rim andbounced out.
Duke forward Kyle Singler kept the Blue Devils on top hittingseveral key shots and making important plays on the defensive end.He played all 40 minutes and finished with 19 points and ninerebounds. He also added two blocks and a steal.
Not surprisingly, Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward led theBulldogs in scoring with 12 points each. Butler forward Matt Howardstruggled early in the game but was solid in the final minutesputting up 11 points and gathering key rebounds.
Duke and Butler found themselves just about even at halftimeof the NCAA championship game Monday night. The Blue Devils held aslight edge with the score 33-32.
While the Blue Devils were able to score consistentlyunderneath the basket with their size advantage, the Bulldogsfought back out-rebounding the Blue Devils 24-17 in the firsthalf.
The Bulldogs also received a lift from senior forward AveryJukes who scored 10 points in the first half including five thatcame after a timeout called by Butler coach Brad Stevens when theBlue Devils ran off six-straight points.
While the Bulldogs relied heavily on Shelvin Mack and GordonHayward for scoring against the Spartans in the semifinals, theoffensive production was more evenly spread for Butler in the firsthalf against Duke.
Duke's Kyle Singler was tied for the team lead in reboundsand points in the first half (five and nine, respectively). TheBlue Devils also blocked five Butler shots in the first half.Butler had zero blocks.
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