- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2001

MINNEAPOLIS Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski does not concern himself with missed shots, as long as they are quality shots.

He understands how it works with shooters. You have to permit a shooter the luxury of a bad stretch, a bad night. You can't let your fears show around a shooter. They miss. You clap. They miss again. You clap harder. You tell them to keep shooting.

Mike Dunleavy was 1-for-7 shooting before he went on his 18-point tear early in the second half. He was in a position where, in a lot of programs, he might of been instructed to take a seat on the bench. Other coaches might have told Dunleavy, "Here, Mike, take a seat it's not your night."

But that is not how Krzyzewski sees the game. He identifies who his people are, and he goes with them. Dunleavy is a shooter, and darn it, even on those nights he is not shooting the ball well, Krzyzewski is going to stick with him.

You abandon your shooter in a game, and you just might loose him for the season. You just might have him looking over his shoulder every time he misses a shot, and that is the last thing you ever want a shooter to do.

You want a shooter to believe he is going to make his 11th shot attempt after he's missed his first 10. Or, if you are Dunleavy and 1 of 7 and struggling to find a place in the offense you believe you can snap out of it with the next shot.

For Dunleavy, the next shot was a 3-pointer with 17:02 left. It was the first of three consecutive 3-pointers for Dunleavy, and it was his show for close to seven minutes. His last 3-pointer with 10:07 left pushed Duke in front 61-51.

"It's about time," Dunleavy said. "I finally made my shots in the second half and was able to give us a little boost. It just feels great to be a national champion."

Dunleavy, son of the NBA Portland Trail Blazers coach of the same name, finished with a team-high 21 points and three rebounds. He converted five of nine 3-point attempts and helped Duke overcome the game-long foul problems of Jason Williams.

Shane Battier, selected the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, took over for Dunleavy down the stretch, capping his brilliant career with a monster dunk that gave the Blue Devils a 77-72 lead with 2:29 left.

Moments later, Williams hit a dagger shot, from the top of the key with 1:44 left, that increased the Blue Devils advantage to 80-72.

As Arizona coach Lute Olson pointed out, sometimes, with Duke it's the team's balance that gets you.

"You know the thing with Duke you pick your poison," Olson said. "Sometimes it's going to be one guy. Another time, it's going to be somebody else. Dunleavy, I mean, he's a streak shooter, and we knew that. This is something we had talked about before. He hit a couple in a row that really, really hurt us badly."

The two teams failed to establish any continuity in the first 20 minutes. Maybe it was because of the bright lights of championship night. Or maybe these two heavyweight teams, considered the best in the nation at the start of the season, were much too smart and too skilled to let the other have its way.

Williams, Duke's talented point guard, picked up two early fouls and had to leave the game. The Blue Devils staggered a bit without him. When Williams returned to the floor with 10:08 left in the half, he provided the team with a lift.

The Wildcats tried to exploit the Blue Devils underneath the basket with 7-foot-1 Loren Woods. The Blue Devils had no real answer for Woods. Battier, everybody's national player of the year, did what he could to deny Woods certain spots close to the basket. But Battier, who is 6-8 and five inches shorter than Woods, was hardly disruptive.

Woods ended up having his way with the Blue Devils, he finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

But Woods and the Wildcats could not hold up to Dunleavy's 3-point assault.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide