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This Day In Sports: Laettner’s legacy shot beats Kentucky

1992: Duke’s Christian Laettner hits a buzzer-beater for the ages in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

BOISE, Idaho — THIS DAY IN SPORTS…March 28, 1992, 30 years ago today:

One of the most famous shots in NCAA Tournament history sends Duke into its fifth consecutive Final Four. With the Blue Devils trailing Kentucky by one point in the final seconds of overtime, Christian Laettner took a long inbounds pass and buried a 15-foot turnaround buzzer-beating jumper to give Duke a 104-103 overtime victory. Almost forgotten is the fact that Laettner was 10-of-10 from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line as part of a 31-point performance. The Blue Devils would go on to win their second straight national championship with a 71-51 rout of Michigan.

Laettner would be named NCAA Player of the Year, catapulting him onto the Dream Team for the 1992 Summer Olympics as the only collegiate player on the squad. He was selected 13th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and had a serviceable but well-traveled NBA career, playing for six teams over 13 seasons.

Laettner’s shot has been part of CBS NCAA Tournament show opens for three decades since. Tyus Edney’s game-winner in Boise in 1995 has been seen almost as much over the years. It came in a second-round game between UCLA and Missouri in the BSU Pavilion. With 4.9 seconds left, Mizzou held a 74-73 lead when Edney took an inbounds pass and drove the length of the floor, sinking a high floater at the buzzer to win the game, 75-74. UCLA would go on to win its 11th national championship—and its first in 20 years—two weeks later.

Mike Krzyzewski was in his 12th season as head coach at Duke in 1992. Krzyzewski is now in his 42nd and final season, of course, and will wrap up his career in the Final Four beginning this Saturday at the Superdome in New Orleans. Since the Blue Devils lost two of their last four games prior to the NCAA Tournament, his players seem to be willing him to victory. They did it again Saturday in the 78-69 victory over Arkansas in the Elite Eight. Krzyzewski will finish with an NCAA record 1,129 career victories. Or 1,130. Or 1,131.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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