Blue Devils survive again, head to the Elite 8.
Ahmed Hill of Virginia Tech missed the game-tying alley-oop to send Duke to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row, winning 75-73.
A classic ACC battle, Virginia Tech won the previous meeting without their point guard Justin Robinson, but Duke was without Zion Williamson. This game, Zion Williamson made a difference. Williamson had a game-high 23 points on 11-14 shooting along with 3 blocks.
Duke has yet to play a game in the tournament at full strength as Cam Reddish sat out with a knee issue. Alex O’Connell took his starting position and only had 4 points.
At tip-off, Duke was favored to win by 7.5 points; any Duke or Virginia Tech fan, even any ACC basketball follower knew this game would be closer than 7.5 points. Virginia Tech started hot and carried their momentum into halftime, where they led 38-34. After halftime, freshman RJ Barrett for the Blue Devils took charge. Barrett went 1-6 in the first half with only 3 points. But in the second half, he had 15 and finished with 11 assists, the most by a freshman in Duke tournament history. A spark in Duke’s offense led to Tre Jones being constantly open from 3. Jones went 5-7 from 3 after a rough shooting performance against UCF in the Round of 32. Jones finished with a career-high 22 points and 8 assists.
For Virginia Tech, Kerry Blackshear Jr. made his presence known as he posted 18 points alongside 16 rebounds and 8 assists. 8 of his 18 points came from the charity stripe. Ahmed Hill also slated 15 points and was critical in Virginia Tech’s strategy. Virginia Tech edged Duke from 3 and on the boards, shooting 35% and grabbing 36 rebounds. Duke shot 30% from downtown with 30 rebounds.
The last 30 seconds of the game was a great summary of this game. A back and forth game all night that consisted of not great shooting and a lot of panic from both teams.
Duke moves on to the Elite 8, but Virginia Tech is headed home.
The Blue Devils will face the Michigan State Spartans for a trip to the Final Four on the line. Gametime is set for Sunday, March 31st at 5:05pm ET.