Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Duke and Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski are back on top of the college basketball world again, surviving an incredible effort from Butler, winning the NCAA Tournament title, 61-59, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In one of the best championship games ever played, the Blue Devils nearly blew a five-point lead with under two minutes left but held on.
Gordon Hayward had a chance to give Butler the lead in the final seconds, but his high-arching jumper from the right baseline over Brian Zoubek caromed off the rim. Zoubek grabbed the rebound and made the first foul shot with 3.6 seconds left. He then intentionally missed the second.
Hayward grabbed the rebound and dribbled to midcourt, received a crushing screen from teammate Matt Howard, but his desperation shot hit off the backboard and rim as the little school from Indianapolis came up just short.
Duke (35-5) won the title for the fourth time in school history and for the first time since 2001 when the Blue Devils upended Arizona.
"I love this team and it's our last day together," said Krzyzewski, who joined John Wooden and Adolph Rupp as the only coaches to win at least four NCAA championships. "What a way to celebrate on the last day together."
The glass slipper fit well for Butler (33-5) until Monday night when the Bulldogs, playing less than six miles from their campus arena, lost their 25- game winning streak and failed at giving the mid-major Horizon League a coveted national championship.
It was an incredible effort for the Bulldogs, led by 33-year-old head coach Brad Stevens, but the title was not to be against the powerhouse from the ACC.
With a packed crowd watching on TV at Hinkle Fieldhouse, home of the Bulldogs, a school with an enrollment of nearly 4,000 was ready to go into a frenzy in the final minutes.
Duke junior forward Kyle Singler scored 19 points, had nine rebounds and was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. Jon Scheyer added 15 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Nolan Smith scored 13 for the Blue Devils.
Hayward and Shelvin Mack each scored 12 for the Bulldogs, while they also received 11 points from Howard and 10 from Avery Jukes.
Smith hit two foul shots with just over three minutes left to provide Duke with a 60-55 lead.
Howard, who was questionable for the game after suffering a concussion against Michigan State Saturday, made a layup with less than two minutes left. Smith then missed on a drive to the hoop.
Mack missed a three-pointer at the other end, but Howard came up with the offensive rebound and eventually powered inside for a bucket with 54.8 on the clock.
Singler was well off the mark on a jumper at the other end, and the ball caromed off Zoubek's foot and out of bounds, giving Butler the ball with 33.7 seconds left.
Zoubek deflected a pass out of bounds, giving Butler 13.6 seconds to go following a timeout, when the final dramatics took place.
The Blue Devils raced to an early 6-1 lead, but the tenacious Bulldogs eventually pushed to a 12-11 edge courtesy of a Zach Hahn three-pointer.
A tip-in by Willie Veasley provided the Bulldogs with a 20-18 edge, but then the game had a couple of big shifts of momentum. The Blue Devils scored eight in a row, capped by a Singler drive to the basket with just over five minutes left.
Stevens called a timeout, and the Bulldogs put in the ensuing seven points, moving ahead on a Jukes three-ball from the left corner.
Smith then scored in the lane for Duke and Scheyer followed with a jumper. The teams traded three-pointers in the final minute, with Jukes getting the final bucket to trim Duke's lead to 33-32 at the half.
Ronald Nored hit a three-pointer to give Butler a 43-42 edge with 13 1/2 minutes left, but the Blue Devils came back with the next five points.
Duke's Lance Thomas picked up his fourth foul with 5:07 left in the game. Hayward received a long outlet pass and cruised in for a possible layup, but Thomas reached for the ball and pulled down Hayward as he landed under the bucket. Hayward made both foul shot to get the Bulldogs within 56-55.
Butler, which took down No. 1 seed Syracuse in the West regional semifinals before topping Kansas State and then Michigan State, was the smallest school to reach the national title game since the tournament expanded in 1985...Duke, which was coming off a Final Four win over West Virginia, received eight points and 10 rebounds from Zoubek...Duke ended 5-of-17 from three-point range, while Butler was 6-of-18 from long distance...The Blue Devils ended at 44.2 percent from the field to Butler's 34.5 percent mark...Hayward made all eight of his foul shots and ended with eight rebounds.