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The jam-packed Madison Square Garden crowd erupted as the two winningest coaches in NBA history met up center-court to celebrate. Coach Mike Kryzyzewski had just passed his long-time mentor, former coach and good friend, Bob Knight, in the record book as the coach with the most wins in NCAA history.
Carlos Boozer, Grant Hill and with several former Duke Blue Devil basketball stars came out to watch Coach K grab win number 903, and enshrining himself as the greatest coach to ever step foot on a college basketball court. But Tuesday night’s win wasn’t a joyride.
The Michigan State Spartans gave Duke a run for their money, rallying back from double-digit deficits several times. Cutting the lead down to single digits, Sparty kept Duke on their toes to the very end. But the high-powered Blue Devil offense overpowered Michigan State, as G Andre Dawkins put up 26 points, five rebounds and two steals, leading the his team to a 74-69 victory.
Duke G Seth Curry, brother of sharpshooting NBA PG Stephen Curry, had a great game, as well, dropping 20 points (10-12 FT, 2-4 3PT), five steals, five rebounds and three assists. For Michigan State, G Keith Appling gave his all to keep Sparty in the game. Scoring State’s final four buckets, Appling cut the lead down to five points, but couldn’t do it all on his own.
Finishing with 22 points, Appling was extremely efficient at 8-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from downtown. With win number 903, Coach K is on pace to crack 1000 wins within the next few years. An astonishing accomplishment, one can only speculate as to how many wins he’ll retire with.
Boston Celtics’ Head Coach, Doc Rivers, came out to watch his son, Austin Rivers, play, but he struggled from the field. Rivers shot 1-of-7, scoring five points and dishing out three assists. As sweet at win 903 was, Coach K must prepare to take on Jared Sullinger and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes on November 29 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. And that game will be much more of a challenge than Michigan State.
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