A hard-earned celebration for the greatest possible finish to the greatest game.
The teams continued their toe-to-toe battle in overtime with incredible individual performances abound. Kentucky hit a three to open the extra session, and Bobby Hurley answered right back for Duke, knotting the game at 96.
They continued to trade baskets, until Laettner put Duke up 100-98. Mashburn attacked the basket for a three-point play to put Kentucky up by one. Laettner added two more free throws to give the Blue Devils the lead once again.
With 7.8 seconds on the clock, Kentucky inbounded to senior guard Sean Woods, who drove into the lane and made a miraculous floater off the glass to put Kentucky back on top 103-102 with just 2.1 seconds on the clock. Duke, down by a point, needing to go the length of the floor with just two ticks on the clock.
Grant Hill was left unguarded by Rick Pitino and unfurled a gorgeous pass that found the hands of Laettner on the opposite foul line.
Laettner made the catch with his back to the basket, jab-stepped to his right, then turned left and flicked a jumper at the rim. The ball left his hands with just three-tenths of a second remaining. The horn sounded just as the ball descended into the net. Duke had taken Kentucky's best shot and survived.
Christian Laettner scored 31 points, shooting 10-of-10 from both the field and the free-throw line. Hurley scored 22 and added 10 assists. Grant Hill showed his all-around game with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, including the biggest assist in the history of Duke basketball.
On the losing side, Mashburn had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Woods posted 21 points and nine assists and senior John Pelphrey added 16 points, including Kentucky's first five in overtime.
Great programs, great coaches and legendary players putting on legendary performances along with an incredible finish.
No college basketball game can live up to this one on any level. It is the greatest college basketball game ever played, and it was played during the greatest time of the year. March Madness.