10:07 PM EDT, March 21, 2013
Images of Lehigh's brown and white remain ingrained in the minds of NCAA men's basketball tournament fans nationwide.
From midcourt, John Adams took a few dribbles and threw it down to a huge roar of the crowd.
An outlet pass to Gabe Knutson, who took a dribble or two before another dunk received a thunderous ovation.
Moves, passes and shots in and around the lane from C.J. McCollum that made Barnum & Bailey proud left many among the 16,523 fans in Greensboro Coliseum with their mouths wide open in awe.
And, 14 players strong applauded their fans postgame after one of the biggest upsets in tournament history.
Lehigh, champion of the Patriot League, took down Duke, owner of nearly 900 wins and four national titles since Coach K arrived on campus, in the 2012 second round, 75-70.
The 15th-seeded Mountain Hawks picked up their first NCAA tournament win and etched their achievement in the minds of all who love March Madness.
Lehigh's victory is on everyone's list of top tournament moments and will be among the biggest upsets until a No. 16 seed does the unthinkable.
Everyone in the spacious Greensboro Coliseum last March 16 for the South Region second-round game either made the 56-mile trek from Duke's campus or was a Blue Devil hater.
It was a raucous atmosphere, especially in the second half when it became clear to everyone regardless of affiliation that the Mountain Hawks weren't going away.
McCollum had a national coming-out party with 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals. But his mates didn't just ride his Superman coattails. Knutson had 17 points and eight rebounds in just 27 minutes. Mackey McKnight added 11 points and was a defensive pest.
Adams, whose insertion into the starting lineup eight games earlier sparked Lehigh's postseason run, had seven points and eight boards.
And Jordan Hamilton, B.J. Bailey and Holden Greiner provided 42 combined quality minutes.
Meanwhile, Duke's heralded freshman backcourt of Austin Rivers, who mistakenly left for the NBA, and Seth Curry combined to shoot 6-for-23.
Instead of feeding the post monster that was Mason Plumlee (19 points on 9-for-9 shooting, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots), the Blue Devils continued to look to their guards.
Two days later, Lehigh blew a 15-point, first-half lead and lost 70-58 to Xavier. It made for a long, late-night plane ride home. But the presence of coach Brett Reed's club at the NCAA tournament was felt far and wide.
Lehigh University's computer server nearly crashed in the hours after the historic takedown of Duke. McCollum could barely stay awake the following day to fulfill national media interview requests. And the highlights from the epic upset will be a part of pre-NCAA tournament shows for years to come
So, Friday, all four No. 2 seeds, including Duke, are in action. None (the others being Georgetown, Ohio State and Miami) is expected to lose, but ….
I feel sorry for Norfolk State, which took down No. 2 seed Missouri a few hours before Lehigh's victory over Duke. However, the Tigers are not the Blue Devils and Frank Haith is no Coach K.
A lot has changed for Lehigh in the last year.
A season of promise, with more than 80 percent of their scoring and rebounding back, had the Mountain Hawks focused on even bigger things in 2012-13.
McCollum's season-ending injury Jan. 5 at VCU, nagging injuries to Knutson (early) and Bailey (all season) made it impossible for Lehigh to have any continuity.
The club also didn't find its defensive cohesiveness. The graduated Adams and Hamilton meant a lot more to the program than statistics.
Lehigh lost to rival Lafayette three times this season, including in the Patriot League semifinals, and a 3-pointer at the buzzer cost the Mountain Hawks a chance at a College Basketball Invitational title run.
But, like all great love stories, Lehigh will always have Greensboro.
Twitter: Follow @TomHousenick
Copyright © 2013, The Morning Call