The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball

The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball

4.3 21
by Gene Wojciechowski
     
 

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The definitive book on the greatest game in the history of college basketball, and the dramatic road both teams took to get there.

March 28, 1992. The final of the NCAA East Regional, Duke vs. Kentucky. The 17,848 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the millions watching on TV could say they saw the greatest game and the greatest shot in the history of

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Overview

The definitive book on the greatest game in the history of college basketball, and the dramatic road both teams took to get there.

March 28, 1992. The final of the NCAA East Regional, Duke vs. Kentucky. The 17,848 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the millions watching on TV could say they saw the greatest game and the greatest shot in the history of college basketball. But it wasn't just the final play of the game-an 80-foot inbounds bass from Grant Hill to Christian Laettner with 2.1 seconds left in overtime- that made Duke's 105-104 victory so memorable. The Kentucky and Duke players and coaches arrived at that point from very different places, each with a unique story to tell.

In The Last Great Game, acclaimed ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski tells their stories in vivid detail, turning the game we think we remember into a drama filled with suspense, humor, revelations and reverberations. The cast alone is worth meeting again: Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Bobby Hurley, Jamal Mashburn, Christian Laettner, Sean Woods, Grant Hill, and Bobby Knight. Timed for the game's 20th anniversary, The Last Great Game isn't a book just for Duke or Kentucky or even basketball fans. It's a book for any reader who can appreciate that great moments in sports are the result of hard work, careful preparation, group psychology, and a little luck.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The 1992 NCAA East Regional final between Duke University and the University of Kentucky is considered one of the best basketball games of all time, one that ended with the improbable. With just over two seconds left in overtime, Grant Hill threw a perfect 80-foot inbounds pass to Christian Laettner, who made the game-winning basket over two defenders as time expired. As compelling as this historic game was, so were the backgrounds of the teams involved. Kentucky was thought to be years away from a Final Four berth, but head coach Rick Pitino and his punishing game plan resurrected a scandal-plagued program. Duke, coming off a national championship, was a perennial powerhouse whose driven players were convinced another title was theirs. Wojciechowski, a senior reporter for ESPN.com, traces the two teams’ path to each other and the game’s impact on its participants, but little space is devoted to the hypothesis promised in the title. We never learn how this legendary tilt influenced college basketball or why it’s the defining game in an intensely popular sport. Though fans of both colleges will lap up the locker room tales and glory day remembrances, Wojciechowski’s effort reads too much like a prodigiously reported magazine article. 16-page color insert. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Thorough chronicle of the legendary 1992 NCAA basketball tournament clash between Duke and Kentucky. Duke's last-second triumph over Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA East Regional is one of the most indelible moments in the history of college sports. Most college-basketball fans remember where they were when Duke's Christian Laettner sank the miracle game-winning shot. Veteran ESPN columnist Wojciechowski (co-author, with Jerome Bettis: The Bus, 2008, etc.) tells the story of the game, and the two teams' seasons leading up to it, with a newspaperman's eye for detail. Arguably college basketball's most iconic program, Kentucky, under new coach Rick Pitino, wasn't even supposed to be a threat for the championship, just two seasons removed from crippling NCAA sanctions over widespread rules infractions. Duke, the defending NCAA champions, were on their way to becoming a modern dynasty under coach Mike Krzyzewski. The author explores the backgrounds and personalities of the opposing coaches and key players including, Kentucky's freshman superstar Jamal Mashburn and Duke's Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley. Wojciechowski neatly deals with the problem of a book-length exploration of a single game by retelling it twice, once from each team's perspective. Though it obviously cannot compare with the excitement of watching the action, the book ably recaptures the energy of one of sport's greatest moments. In Laettner, a villain to everyone except Duke fans, including some of his own teammates, the author finds a surprisingly complex protagonist, and the story's most intriguing character. A fitting, illuminating tribute to a game that many believe was the best ever.
Sean Callahan
The Last Great Game is entertaining, and, in [Christian] Laettner, Wojciechowski has found a character worth building a book around.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
“A compelling narrative about the people who produced the most spine-tingling moment in modern college basketball history.” -Sports Illustrated

“[R]ecaptures the energy of one of sport’s greatest moments….A fitting, illuminating tribute to a game that many believe was the best ever.” -Kirkus

“Wojciechowski offers a nice blend of past and present perspectives as he tells the story of how an unlikely classic came to be, how it played out, and how it lives on.” -Christian Science Monitor

"It's Wojciechowski's eye for the people on the edges that make the account especially compelling." -The New Yorker

“[A] fascinating portrait ….This thoroughly enjoyable book will attract college basketball fans across the country, regardless of team loyalties.” -Booklist, starred review

“You think you know all the stories? So did I. But I had not heard these.” -Louisville Courier-Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399158575
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
01/05/2012
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher
“You think you know all the stories? So did I. But I had not heard these.”
- Louisville Courier-Journal

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