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The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball Hardcover – January 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press (January 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915857X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158575
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Almost 20 years later, the highlight still gleams. In the 1992 NCAA East Regional finals, Duke center Christian Laettner takes the overtime pass from the opposite end line, spins, and lofts a shot from the top of the key. Swish. Duke wins 104–103. Many consider it the greatest college basketball game ever. Wojciechowski builds to that momentous shot with a detailed history of both programs in the years immediately prior to the game. Kentucky, devastated by NCAA sanctions, hired coach Rick Pitino from the New York Knicks, and the volatile New Yorker instituted the killer conditioning program necessary to implement his full-court-pressing strategy. It worked. At Duke, Mike Krzyzewski had assembled a self-rejuvenating juggernaut that had yet to win an NCAA title, despite reaching the Final Four four times. The Blue Devils couldn’t get over the hump. In a jaunty, humorous, thoroughly engaging tone, Wojciechowski profiles the coaches, players, assistants, and trainers, offering fascinating portraits of group dynamics as the two coaches employ very different styles to guide their teams to the monumental showdown. This thoroughly enjoyable book will attract college basketball fans across the country, regardless of team loyalties. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

“[R]ecaptures the energy of one of sport’s greatest moments….A fitting, illuminating tribute to a game that many believe was the best ever.”
- Kirkus Reviews



“Wojciechowski offers a nice blend of past and present perspectives as he tells the story of how an unlikely classic came to be, how it played out, and how it lives on … [The Last Great Game] is both fun and thorough without getting tedious.”
- Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor


“[A] fascinating portrait ….This thoroughly enjoyable book will attract college basketball fans across the country, regardless of team loyalties.”
- Booklist



“You think you know all the stories? So did I. But I had not heard these.”
- Louisville Courier-Journal


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Now I just need a DVD copy of the game!
Bluegrass Dukie
It was very well written and the back story to both sides of this incredible game was so interesting that I read the whole thing in 2 days.
jbacholzky
This is a good book and worth reading for college basketball fans.
Bruce

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ronny on January 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished "The Last Great Game" and I enjoyed it tremendously. The story of the two greatest college basketball dynasties in America is touched on in the form of Coach K and Rick Pitino and the teams they led into one of the greatest games of all time.

Fair warning to UK fans, the Duke team is given a far more thorough and in depth examination than the Kentucky team. Now that is not to say UK is ignored or that there is a bias or the sense that Duke is more deserving, rather it could very well boil down to a case of "to the winner go the spoils" since Duke did win the game. I do think the author could have added 15-30 pages to discuss UK's team dynamic, the players, and the campus- as he did with Duke- but I suspect this might have more to do with a lack of access to the UK side rather than a lack of diligence.

For Duke fans, you might be disappointed to learn that Bobby Hurley did not fully participate in the writing of this book. Given the attention given to the contentious nature of the relationship between Hurley and Christian Laettner and Hurley's pivotal role in Duke's success, I really wanted to hear Bobby's take on his college career and the game vs. Kentucky. That being said the sections devoted to Duke are well written and very revealing, giving a great perspective on all the players, the dynamic of the team, and Coach K's influence on their success.

I am a UK fan and I hate (but respect tremendously) Duke, and aside from a few complaints, I can recommend this book to UK, Duke and college basketball fans of all stripes.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By SoCal on January 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book if you are a fan of college basketball or sports in general and remember the game.

I am a Duke grad so I loved it. Probably more Duke than Ky but still plenty for the Kentucky fans.

You get a real appreciation for what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of college sport. I came away with a much higher regard for Pitano.

My only gripe is that I got the Kindle version. No page numbers and sloppy conversion. For example a 6 foot 11 inch player is described as 611 in height.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
On the morning of March 28, 1992, the Duke Blue Devils needed three more wins to become the first team in 19 years to repeat as national college basketball champions. Very tough squads stood in their path, though, and the game they played against the Kentucky Wildcats later that day in the East regional final of the NCAA Tournament is the contest that author Gene Wojciechowski looks back on in "The Last Great Game."

Wojciechowski tells the story of the Duke and Kentucky programs for the few years leading up to their epic '92 clash. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke struggled for years with Final Four failure before finally winning a national title in 1991, and Rick Pitino was hired in 1989 to coach Kentucky back into elite status following crippling NCAA sanctions.

The author's history of the Duke and Kentucky programs of those years is excellent, as is his remembrance of the '91-'92 season and the 104-103 overtime classic itself. The author was able to get many interviews with players and coaches involved in the game, which was just unforgettable.

It's almost impossible to believe that it has been (gulp) 20 years since the game--I can still remember watching it and all who did watch it knew as soon as Christian Laettner's shot went in that they had just seen a game that would be talked about for decades. Wojciechowski's book is an outstanding recollection of a great game and a great era in college basketball.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Alexander on January 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
But with that said, it was a very interesting book. It is well written and gives insights about the game that I never knew. It also humanizes Laettner for me. I don't like him any more but do have an understanding of where he was coming from. I'm not sure how those 2.1 seconds changed basketball but do know that they were heart breakers for Kentucky fans. I also know that we have to endure them each and every year at tournament time. So maybe the 2.1 seconds did change basketball. For Duke fans, it's a wonderful tribute to your program.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David on February 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Big UK fan loved the book in spite of the ending....UK still lost. Really enjoyed the book. The history and background leading up to the rebirth of UK was very interesting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J Corbett on January 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Gene's writing on espn.com, but I was a little skeptical at first that he could stretch one college basketball game out into an entire book. However, the backstories leading up to the game are all very entertaining and interesting even for myself (I'm neither a UK or Duke fan). And the research that the author put into this book was extremely thorough.

I can still remember watching this game on tv so many years ago, Gene brought back some names and faces that I had almost forgotten about over time. I couldn't wait to read this book on the train on the way to work and back each day. This was one of those books that you are sad when it comes to an end. A great read for college basketball fans, especially those of us who remember when this game was played back in the early 90's - has it really been that long?
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