With 27 points and a rabid home crowd waiting to explode with the inevitable three-pointer that would break Duke's scoring record, J.J. Redick came off a high screen and... passed?
Redick, facing a double team, kicked the ball to Josh McRoberts, who swung it to a wide-open Greg Paulus. Paulus misfired on the three, but Shelden Williams got the put-back as his defender was late rotating back from Redick.
Although Redick needed only one deep shot to break Johnny Dawkins' career scoring record in front of the Cameron Crazies and several family members, you wouldn't have known it.
The All-American senior had 22 points at halftime, but did not force a single bad shot against Miami's high-pressure defense. Instead, Redick found open teammates when he drew double teams and showed the patience that has been the defining characteristic of his remarkable senior campaign.
"It opened up other areas, which he's fine with," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I wouldn't have expected anything different from him. I didn't even know where it was, that he needed one more three or whatever. We called one thing for him and he hit it, and then when everyone screamed, I guessed that was it because he's not saying anything like, 'get me the ball.'"
Redick did eventually get the ball and the record with 4:15 remaining in the contest. Coming out of a timeout, Duke ran a set play in which the senior came off a Lee Melchionni screen. Anthony Harris, who had blanketed Redick for the majority of the second half, cut to the high side of the pick, expecting Redick to curl off the screen as he often does.
Redick instead faded to the corner and DeMarcus Nelson delivered the pass, setting up Redick's picture-perfect shot to push his career point total to 2,557, one ahead of Dawkins.
Miami did everything it could defensively to stop Redick from setting the milestone in Cameron. After Redick's fast start that included two trifectas in 10 seconds, the Hurricanes switched to a zone defense that consistently shaded toward Redick and left open Nelson, who went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the first half.
"They went to that zone and it's tougher to find shots against a zone, it really is," Redick said. "Everybody thinks a shooter likes a zone, but with the way they extended and really shadowed me, it was difficult to find shots in that zone."
By the second half, Duke had figured out the Miami zone and head coach Frank Haith used Harris to cover Redick all over the court. In addition, Redick drew a double team nearly every time he touched the ball and scored his only two-pointer of the period on a fade away after he had split a Hurricane double.
"I had 27, and coach Haith called for a box-and-one, so I don't know," Redick said of the increased defensive attention. "It's all part of being competitive. I'm not saying he did that on purpose."
Despite their efforts, the Hurricanes could not stop history. Redick broke Dawkins' 20-year-old school record and is now just 31 points away from breaking the ACC record, which was set more than a half-century ago by Wake Forest's Dickie Hemric.
Senior Sean Dockery said he expects Redick to be 70 before his record is broken.
"As a very naive freshman, I thought maybe I had a shot to do this," Redick said. "But things didn't happen the way I wanted my first two years, and I pretty much lost all focus on this record and put it on the backburner. It's funny how things work out like that."
His willingness to give up the ball even with a chance to make history showed the record was truly not his focus Sunday evening. It's largely this unselfishness that has caused Redick's teammates to show genuine happiness for his accomplishments, even if they have had to stay on the court after two straight games as Redick has been presented with game balls.
"I feel like I did it-he is a brother of mine, and he really deserves it," Dockery said. "I was just telling him, 'We're not going to have any more balls to warm up with, you're taking all the balls.'"