It’s halftime in Philadelphia, and Duke is clinging to a 35-26 lead against Albany, which at one point chopped the lead to five behind an 8-0 run. The Great Danes are looking to become the second straight No. 15 seed to spoil Duke’s party, after Lehigh did it in Greensboro, N.C., last season.

Even if the No. 2-seeded Duke gets things together and pulls off the expected rout in the second half, Coach Mike Krzyzewski has already won over his share of Albany fans.

Per ESPN, Krzyzewski is wearing a blue bracelet on his right wrist to honor Deanna Rivers and Chris Stewart, two high school athletes at Shenendehowa High School who were killed in a car accident one year ago after driving home from an Albany basketball game. Here’s Dana O’Neil:

In between the accident and this game, Krzyzewski reached out to the Rivers family by phone and invited them down to a game. While they were in Durham, Deborah and Brian gave Krzyzewski a few trinkets, including a bracelet.

He put it on that day and hasn’t taken it off since.

“I told them I would wear it,’’ Krzyzewski said. “So it’s an easy thing to do. It’s an amazing, amazing tragedy. I have three daughters and eight grandkids, and I can’t even imagine that. I can’t even imagine that.’’

Krzyzewski was reluctant to talk about the gesture, responding to a question from an Albany reporter by saying just that, “You know I’d rather keep it a private thing,’’ he said.

(h/t ESPN and @BuzzFeedSports)


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