‘Big Fella came in and dunked it’: Mark Williams redeems himself at home in Duke’s last-second win over Wake Forest

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 15: Mark Williams #15 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball in the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 15, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
By Brendan Marks Feb 16, 2022 13
DURHAM, N.C. — Sorry, will.i.am, but Mark Williams will not relent.

He might want to, sure. Wouldn’t you? But as the loudspeakers inside Cameron Indoor Stadium reverberate with electronic beats and pumping bass, then the rapper’s lyrics — I wanna scream, and shout, and let it all out — Williams doesn’t succumb. So, he doesn’t scream. Doesn’t shout. Nope. Just a smug, subtle grin that slowly turns into a (quite well-timed) head bop.

At present, there are 0.4 seconds left on the clock, and Williams is basically underneath Wake Forest’s basket. That precise positioning should not be lost on anyone because it is, more or less, exactly where Williams stood at the end of Duke’s last home game … when he lost track of his man, who promptly buried a game-winning 3 to deliver Duke its fourth loss this season. Ouch. Williams took the blame for that mental miscue — disproportionately so, if we’re being honest — and flat-out owned any postgame outrage.

Nice to be on the other side of that scenario, huh?

And though Duke’s last-second 76-74 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday — emphasis on the “last-second” nature of it — certainly was a 180-degree shift from the Virginia debacle, it also represented more. Like, say, Williams’ poetic page turn from scapegoat to GOATed and this team’s ability to get hit in the face, bleed out a 15-2 opponent’s run and then stitch up its lip before the shape is gone entirely. This was Duke, one week after arguably its sorriest moment of the season, flipping the script on what it takes to survive.