Coach K on why he told Zoubek to miss the second free throw

In his post game press conference, Mike Krzyzewski was asked about why he told Brian Zoubek to intentionally miss the second free throw, giving Butler an opportunity to win the game with a half-court shot. Here’s his response, via

On the last thing, they didn’t have any timeouts left. And if he missed, I thought it would take a miracle shot, you know. Well, it almost did. But we were set up to guard it. And Pat made a good point. Really, they’re not gonna call it at that time. But Kyle got killed at halfcourt, you know. So they wouldn’t have got it without that, ’cause Kyle was on Hayward, which is pretty good for a press guy to see that stuff.

But they would have to take a halfcourt shot. And we were set up to guard that. And, you know, what the hell, it worked. You know, there are many things that you do during a ballgame. Whatever the consequences are, you take it.

The general consensus is that Zoubek should have made the free throw, giving his team a three-point lead. That way, the worst-case scenario is overtime. Butler was out of timeouts, so there wasn’t an opportunity for Brad Stevens to draw up a play — they would have to go with whatever play they ran in practice. With 3.5 seconds on the clock, there was enough time for Gordon Hayward to get off a decent attempt.

But hey — it worked. If Zoubek hits the free throw, it’s possible that Butler completes a long pass and someone gets a good look at a game-tying three. Now the game is in overtime and Duke could very well lose.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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