Coach K probably couldn’t have wished for a better birthday gift Tuesday night.
Cam Reddish hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 1:28 left and then converted go-ahead free throws with 14 seconds remaining, helping No. 2 Duke beat the No. 16 Lousiville 71-69.
“Give Duke great credit. Their kids never quit,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “They battled, they turned us over what seemed like a thousand times in the last four or five minutes. I’m stunned.”
The key may have been when Krzyzewski — who shares a birthday with former NBA great Bill Russell and another famous tall guy named Abraham Lincoln — told his players they would win even when they were far behind.
“I think our mentality changed,” Reddish said. “We didn’t want to go home with a loss. We had to fight for Duke, just give it our all for the name on our chest.”
Duke (22-2, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) then made nine of 13 shots and shut down the Cardinals over the final 9:54. Zion Williamson (27 points, 12 rebounds) made eight of nine free throws and added two three-pointers down the stretch.
It was the second-biggest second-half comeback in Duke history.
Reddish scored 22 and RJ Barrett added 13 for Duke, which won its eighth in a row despite shooting a season-low 37 percent from the field.
Jordan Nwora had 23 points and Dwayne Sutton 15 for Louisville, which dropped its second straight. The Cardinals shot 42 percent, but just 9 of 24 in the second half.