VAUGHT: Lundquist remembers 1992 Wildcats

Legendary broadcaster Vern Lundquist has been able to see many special sports moments. He considers the 1986 Masters the "greatest sporting event" he ever saw because he was working the 17th hole when Jack Nicklaus made a birdie to win at age 46. However, Lundquist has no doubt about what was the greatest college basketball game he worked -- or might have ever been played.

It was the 1992 NCAA Tournament game between Duke and Kentucky in Philadelphia.

"That game was unbelievable," Lundquist said. "I worked that game with Lenny Elmore and both of us knew immediately that we had just seen something special. We were exhausted and exhilirated by it at the same time."

Of course, that was the game where Christian Laettner hit the miracle shot at the buzzer to beat Kentucky and send Duke on its way to a national championship.

I was in Salisbury, N.C., with Lundquist for a few days for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association awards ceremony. While I was thrilled to be honored from Kentucky along with Tom Leach and Ryan Lemond, it was humbling to be around Lundquist and writer Dave Kindred, the Hall of Fame inductees.

I got to spend several minutes talking with Lundquist about college basketball -- and that 1992 game. While he has enormous respect for Laettner and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Lundquist says he still remembers the class the Kentucky players showed after the bitter defeat.

"Those Kentucky kids played their hearts out. They were devastated, but they showed so much class in the way they handled the loss. They didn't make excuses. They didn't blame anyone. They congratulated Duke and never complained. There was no way they could have known immediately they were part of what still might be the greatest college game ever, but I will never forget how classy those kids were. You remember games for a lot of reasons, but as great as that game was, those Kentucky kids were perhaps more gracious in defeat than any group I've ever seen," Lundquist said.


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