Duke's dynasty Cal-lapses, 82-77 Bears eliminate Blue Devils, end Hurley's career

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The dynasty is over. So is Duke's run of two straight national championships. And so is the marvelous college basketball career of Bobby Hurley.

They all came to a crashing end last night at the Rosemont Horizon against upstart, sixth-seeded California in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional in front of a screaming sellout crowd and a national television audience.

After storming back from a 17-point deficit with less than 14 minutes left to take a one-point lead with 2:21 to go, Duke ran out of gas, as freshman point guard Jason Kidd and the Bears continued their magical run with an 82-77 upset victory.

Two free throws by Lamond Murray with 19 seconds to go clinched the victory for Cal (21-8). The defeat, which broke a 13-game winning streak in tournament play for Duke (24-8), ruined a spectacular performance by Hurley, who scored 32 points. Murray scored 28 for Cal.

"I wished we could have advanced further, but we got beat by a team that deserved to win," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team had won 19 of its previous 20 NCAA tournament games. "We didn't lose this ballgame. Cal won."

Recently hired Cal coach Todd Bozeman said: "This is a great day in our lives, for the team and all the people involved in the California program. Duke is great program, and our guys wanted an opportunity to play them."

Cal made the most of its opportunity. The Bears won by making 10 of 17 three-point shots, including three of five by Murray and three of four byreserve forward Jerod Haase. They won because they built a 10-point halftime lead, stretched it to 18 early in the second half and held off one of the most remarkable, albeit ill-fated, comebacks in tournament history.

Trailing 70-53 with 13:25 remaining and playing without starting center Cherokee Parks -- the 6-foot-11 sophomore sprained his left ankle late in a mostly ineffective first half -- Duke went on an 18-2 tear. After a three-point play by Hurley tied the score at 76 with 3:39 to go, a free throw by Thomas Hill with 2:21 gave the Blue Devils a one-point lead. After both teams missed shots, Cal made the play that might have won the game. It came with 1:11 to go.

As Kidd drove the lane, he tried to find Murray along the baseline. But Hurley stepped in front. The pass bounced off Hurley's knee, and the ball rolled into a crowd. Kidd, a lefty, managed to pick up the ball and put it in with his right hand. He was fouled by Grant Hill and converted the three-point play to give Cal a 79-77 lead.

"It's just a loose ball, but he [Kidd] made a great play," Krzyzewski said. "I think it gave them the emotion they needed. We had seized the momentum and that play gave it back."

Said Kidd, who finished with 11 points and a school-record 14 assists: "It gave us a little more confidence."

Still, Duke had a chance. But after posting up against Cal guard Haase in the lane, Grant Hill got his feet caught with Haase's, and, as he tried to dribble, he was called for traveling with 49.4 seconds left. Kidd then was fouled with nine seconds left and made one of two free throws, opening the door for the Blue Devils.

"If I had gotten that call, maybe we would have won," said Grant Hill, who finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. "But we didn't. Things seemed to go their way."

Hurley, who seemed to run out of gas as well as magic down the stretch, fell short on another three-point shot. Murray was fouled and made both free throws with 19 seconds left. Hurley missed again, finishing 9-for-22 by missing his last four shots, all three-pointers.

"I don't think I choked on them, they just didn't go in," Hurley said after one of the most electrifying and courageous performances in recent tournament history. "But I think when he hit the three-point [play], it made it a lot tougher. The comeback took a lot out of us."

Said Krzyzewski: "That was an incredible performance [by Hurley]. In the first half, he kept us in the game because we were out of sync. I don't think we prepared for the high level of play Cal brought to the game. They knocked us back."

The loss, the first for Duke in the NCAA Tournament since losing by 30 to Nevada-Las Vegas in the 1990 championship game, ended the career of one of the greatest college point guards. Aside from his 32 points, Hurley added to his all-time assist record with nine last night, to only one turnover.

As the final seconds ticked down, Krzyzewski stood by his bench applauding his players, most specifically Hurley. Four years ago he handed a runty kid from New Jersey the reins of his team. All he delivered was two straight national championships and a lifetime of memories.

And, later, Krzyzewski cried as he spoke about coaching Hurley.

"Bobby had a storybook career, and I really was glad to be part of the story," said Krzyzewski, his eyes welling. "I was clapping for my team. "I've been a very lucky guy to have spent this time with these two young men [Hurley and Thomas Hill]. It's been unbelievable. Losing this game doesn't mean a damn thing. I will win for the rest of my life because of the experiences with these guys. We've had a good year."

While Duke's season, as well as its run, is over, Cal's magical ride continues into this week's Sweet 16. The Bears, who have won 11 of 12 games since Bozeman replaced Lou Campanelli last month, will play second-seeded Kansas (27-6) Thursday in St. Louis. The Jayhawks earlier defeated seventh-seeded BYU, 90-76.

Perhaps the game was symbolic in how the torch was passed from Hurley to Kidd. The 6-4 freshman made four of 11 shots, but as he did in the opening-round victory over LSU, he made the game's biggest play. After Thursday's victory, LSU coach Dale Brown said Cal didn't have a prayer against Duke.

"When we were leaving the locker room, those were Coach Bozeman's last words: Remember that we supposedly didn't have a prayer," said Haase, who came off the bench to score 13 points. "A lot of people didn't think we could beat Duke. But we did."

$ The dynasty is over.

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