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Thursday, February 9, 2012
Brennan: Austin Rivers lives up to moment

By Eamonn Brennan

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Six … Five …

The seconds melted away. Austin Rivers kept dribbling.

Mason Plumlee was under the rim, another among the nearly 22,000 people crammed inside the Dean E. Smith Center, as helpless as each and every one. Later, he'd admit it: He was a little worried. He trusted Austin. It's just, well, those seconds were vanishing, and there Rivers was, dribbling them away. What if he missed? Would Plumlee have a chance to get a rebound?

"What is he doing?" Plumlee thought. "Is he going to shoot it?"

Four …

Seth Curry wasn't going to stand by and wait. He screamed at Rivers: "Shoot it! Shoot it!" It was futile. The crowd was too loud. No way Rivers could hear him. Would he get it off in time?

Three … Two …

That's when Doc Rivers knew. He'd seen it before. His son had set things up this way: He had forced UNC center Tyler Zeller into an uncomfortable switch, and now he had the big man right where he wanted. Doc's son was hesitating on purpose, waiting for the seven-foot Zeller to back up -- just enough to see the rim, just enough to give it a chance.

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For Eamonn Brennan's full column, click here.