A Closer Look
The travel heard 'round the world
Posted: Tuesday March 30, 1999 03:22 AM
By Dan Shanoff, CNN/SI
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With the national championship on the line, Trajan Langdon wanted the ball.
Coming out of a timeout with 34.3 seconds left and UConn up 75-74, the Huskies had 16 seconds to shoot. Khalid El-Amin, who up until that point was having troubles with the game's high stakes, kept the ball to himself.
El-Amin dribbled three steps in from the 3-point arc at the left elbow and with six on the shot clock, hoisted a flailing shot that missed the bottom of the rim and fell into the hands of a well-positioned Chris Carrawell.
There were now 20 seconds to play.
The crowd was frenzied, but Langdon was cool. He was, after all, the team's only senior starter, its captain, a five-year man whose clutch touch had been the cornerstone of the team's success this season. The moment was his time to shine -- to win a title for his Duke mentors, for his beloved coach, for his teammates, for himself.
Langdon took possession of the ball and slowly brought it up the floor. Seconds slipped away. Everyone -- from Coach K to Jim Calhoun to Langdon himself -- knew that he would be assuming responsibility for the last shot.
Not Avery. Not Brand.
"I want Trajan Langdon to take that shot," Krzyzewski said. "I will walk down any road with Trajan Langdon."
UConn was preparing to make a champion's stand.
"We were confident," UConn's Kevin Freeman said. "We said we were going to win it with our defense. That's how we've been doing it the entire year."
At 12 seconds, Langdon went between his legs and began a move to the left side. The play was a high-screen roll, one that Duke had run successfully a number of times.
Langdon described the moments: "[Freeman] hedged on Shane Battier. I faked. Ricky [Moore] jumped on the fake."
His window of opportunity was down to six seconds.
"He recovered and I got stopped with the ball."
As the defensively brilliant Moore sealed off his path, Langdon spun into the lane, a move he had made countless times. This time, he just took a skitter-step too many. He was called for travelling and possession of the ball went to UConn.
"I felt good with the ball making moves," Langdon said. "Moore was on me the whole game. It was no different [on that play]. I thought Ricky made the right read. He played good defense."
On the ensuing inbound, El-Amin was fouled. He converted both free throws. Five seconds later, Langdon lost control of the ball in a crowd of three Huskies he said "felt like a hundred." Before he could even get a shot off, the game -- his Duke career -- was over, 77-74."If I could do it again," Langdon said, "all I'd do is maybe make a different move."
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