“The First Shall Be Last and the Last Shall be First.”: Inside MSU’s historic upset against Duke (3/31/19)

As many of you probably know, Duke was arguably the best men’s basketball team in the NCAA this year. They started out by getting all top three high-school recruits: R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish, and Zion Williamson the beast. That is a very rare feat for a college team. They also happen to have one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, Mike Krzyzewski or “Coach K” who has taken the team to 12 Final Four appearances, 5 of which they took the national title.


Everything was going their way until the final minutes of playing Michigan State University today. Just under 5 minutes left in the second half, Duke was up until MSU’s Cassius Winston made a solid jumper. Then the score was 60-59 MSU. On the Blue Devil’s next possession Cassius stole ball from them and assisted Xavier Tillman in an awesome And-1 dunk. Tillman made his free throw.


Reddish from Duke responded and assisted Javin DeLaurier in a two point shot. The score became 63-61 Michigan State. Zion Williamson would eventually drive to the hoop and pass the ball to a wide open R.J. Barrett for 3. In another possession, Zion drove to the basket with a couple of skilled defenders on him and used his momentum to get the bucket. Now there was 1:21 left on the game clock with a tight score of 65-66. Duke kept the lead after Tillman (from MSU) made a decent layup. Then the dagger happened.
Xavier Tillman passed to an open Kenny Goins, who buried the shot! There was a complete shift in the noise at Capital One Arena. Duke had been close in other games before, but this time seemed quite different. R.J Barrett tried to answer, but he couldn’t. Luckily for them, Duke got the offensive rebound and Coach K quickly called a timeout 4 seconds later. Now there was 10 seconds left on the game clock. The score was 68-66, MSU in the lead.
Duke had two options: 1. Go for the conservative play and try and score a layup with one of their freak athletes, or 2. They could possibly win the game with a three point jumper.


Coach K took the easy route and had R.J. Barrett drive to the basket, getting fouled in the process by Tillman. Now, R.J. could tie the game and take it to overtime. All he had to do was make his two shots. He got up to the free throw line, did his dribble routine and shot…


MISS! Suddenly many Duke fans covered their mouths in utter shock. Next shot, Barrett tried to hit the back of the rim, in a last desperate hope for an offensive rebound and a put back. Sadly for them, this did not go as planned. He shot and hit the back of the rim, but it BOUNCED IN! Now it was guaranteed Spartans ball. Instantly, all of the Duke defenders came crowding in the front-half of the court during a last minute grind. Somehow the Spartan threw the ball in and got it to one of his teammates who was followed by a quick and smart foul from Cam Reddish. With 5 seconds left MSU threw the ball in, Hail-Mary Style. Cassius Winston saved the day for Michigan State and caught it. No one was there to guard him, who with an open lane, drove to the outside, showing great sportsmanship.


After this game one may have many questions like…


What NBA teams will Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson, and R.J. Barrett go to next year?


Will they be drafted in the same order they were recruited — as the top three recruits?


Are the star Duke freshmen hungry enough to stay with the school a year longer, in an effort to try and win national title?


Since MSU already beat arguably the best college basketball team this year, will they win the title in the final four?


What is Cassius Winston’s future? Because judging by his performance, it may seem that he should have had just as much spotlight as Zion this season.


Even with this uncertainty we can understand one thing…
Tonight will be remembered forever as one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.