ANAHEIM, Calif. - As the men's basketball team found out the hard way, all good things come to an end.
After leading by as many as eight with 17:57 left in a seesaw game, the Blue Devils saw their lead, their five-game winning streak and their domination of Kansas stop at a crashing halt, as the Jayhawks (28-7) capitalized on their inside presence - mainly Nick Collison - to carry them to a 69-65 win over Duke (26-7) Thursday night at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif.
"I've been to a lot of Final Fours and championship level games, and this was a championship level game" Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "This was a big time game, and I thought our kids were big time and [Kansas'] were too."
With 3:11 left in the game, Collison, who had helped Kansas take control near the end of the second half with a personal 9-1 run, put back his own miss to give Kansas a 65-59 lead.
On the ensuing play, after a half-court set where the Blue Devils had problems finding a good look, Chris Duhon took matters into his own hands, sinking a running layup to cut the lead to four.
After a Duke timeout, both teams went cold for a couple minutes exchanging turnovers, steals and missed shots.
Duke had a chance to cut into the lead, when freshman J.J. Redick drove into traffic only to see his short jumper rim in, then out - a problem he had all night long.
"When I took those shots, I thought they were going in, but they didn't fall," said Redick, whose only three-pointer was the first one he took, and shot a dismal 2-for-16 from the field. "My coaches kept telling me to shoot, I had a lot of opportunities I normally would knock down, tonight wasn't a night for them to go in."
Kansas finally broke the scoring drought with 52 second left when Duke center Casey Sanders was called for goal tending. The basket, credited to Jayhawk guard Aaron Miles, gave Kansas a 67-61 lead.
And, after a Blue Devils turnover, Duhon was forced to foul Michael Lee, putting Kansas in the double bonus. Lee, however, hit only his second shot, forcing Kansas head coach Roy Williams to take a timeout with 34 second left.
On Duke's next chance, Dahntay Jones, who led the Blue Devils with 23 points and seven boards, drained a jumpshot just inside the right edge of the paint. As Kansas tried to inbound, freshman Sean Dockery stole the ball right under his own basket and passed the ball to Jones who, after missing one, hit his second easy layup to cut the score to 68-65 with 18 seconds remaining.
The Jayhawks, however, were able to fend-off the last second surge, hitting one free throw and then stopping Duke on the opposing end.
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"Give or take a few misses it could have been a different outcome, and you'd be doing a different interview right now," Casey Sanders said.
The Blue Devils opened the first half on a torrid pace, knocking down a pair of treys and leading by as many as nine with 11 minutes gone.
Kansas then started going to Collison more, and cut the lead to two, before Miles hit the Jayhawks only three - a bomb from the right side - to give Kansas the lead with 47 seconds left in the half.
Ewing then hit the front end of a free throw attempt to tie the game going into halftime.
"Duke is a great program. It's the Sweet 16. You don't need any extra motivation...." Collison said. "But with it all on the line - you lose, your done - I think I'll be proud of this for a long time."
Until last night's game, Williams had never beaten the Blue Devils, losing to Krzyzewski's squad on three separate occasions, most notably the 1991 national championship game.
Duke was also riding a five-game winning streak, its longest since the start of the season, dating back the Blue Devils' win over Virginia in the opening round of the ACC Tournament.
The loss ended the Duke's season in the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years. Kansas will face top-seeded Arizona Saturday at 7 p.m. for a berth in the Final Four.
"It was a sensational college basketball game," Williams said. "We feel very fortunate to be the one with the most points when the clock stops."