Down 23 points with under 10 minutes to go in the second half, Mike Krzyzewski decided to give his little used backup backup backup PG some burn as the Devils went to a press. Goldwire was an immediate spark, even if it seemed ill-fated at the time. His steal and bricked layup looked to be a perfect encapsulation of Duke's futility for the night.
Little did we know at the time that some magic was being conjured up in the Yum! Center. Goldwire's final line -- zero points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals. He wasn't THE hero--far from it. But he was one of them. As Duke mounted its historic comeback, Goldwire stayed on the floor. Mike Krzyzewski had several timeouts during which he could've replaced him. As Duke grew closer, the temptation to replace him must've been there. Still, Goldwire stayed on, helping create the frenzy that engulfed Louisville down the stretch. Whatever he accomplishes in his hoops career from here on out, he'll have the memory of this comeback and his integral role in it.
No matter how superhuman Duke became in those final 9+ minutes, you can't come from 23 down against a good team without them ceasing to be good for stretches. Louisville certainly obliged: nine turnovers in the final stretch, numerous missed free throws and a complete mismanagement of the game situation.
None of that diminishes what the Blue Devils accomplished though. They were deader than dead in the water. They were the rotting husk of a fish washed ashore. Then, saddled with four fouls, Zion Williamson returned and added yet another chapter to his legend at Duke. His numbers down the stretch were absurd.
Zion came back in with 9:40 to go in the game, with Duke down 59-36. In that span he had— TS% Eliot (@Cosmis) February 13, 2019
3-3 from the field
7-8 from the line
And was a +25 (!!!)
We're watching a special player do special things. Duke fan or not, if you appreciate basketball, you have to be appreciating this. This miracle in Louisville was a team effort, but Zion was once again the engine. He sucks all the oxygen out of every arena he enters. Sometimes he even sucks the oxygen out of the basketball itself.
Asked about what K told them as the comeback unfolded, Zion cut to the chase:
"He said he don't coach losers, only coach winners."— ESPN (@espn) February 13, 2019
Zion shared how Coach K got his team to rally back from a 23-point deficit. pic.twitter.com/EtCtEzJTET
On this night, that never rung more true.