WASHINGTON -- No. 1 seed Duke escaped a close call for the second consecutive NCAA Tournament game as the Blue Devils defeated No. 4 seed Virginia Tech 75-73 on Friday in the Sweet 16.
After Duke held off a feisty UCF squad with a 77-76 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Blue Devils were challened again in the East Regional semifinals, this time by the Hokies, who upset Duke earlier this season.
With Duke up by two points and less than 30 seconds left, Tre Jones got fouled missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Hokies got the rebound and had three chances in the last 15 seconds to tie or take the lead, but came up just short on their final attempt when Ahmed Hill missed an open look right in front of the hoop off of an inbounds play with 1.1 seconds left.
"You know, Hill kind of did a loop, and I'm not even going to lie to you, when he caught it, I said, ah, we're about to go to overtime," said Duke's Zion Williamson, who had a game-high 23 points. "I mean I don't know what happened. Like just kind of went our way with that play."
RJ Barrett responded with a quick but accurate description: "He missed."
Virginia Tech had a four-point halftime lead and the game was back-and-forth until Duke took a 53-52 lead with just over 12 minutes left and held it for the remainder of the game.
Duke's three freshmen scored 63 of the team's 75 points. RJ Barrett, who struggled scoring the ball in the first half, found his rhythm and scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half. He was still active in the first half, dishing out seven assists. He finished the game with a career-high 11 assists. Tre Jones also hit career-highs in the game. The freshman point guard recorded 22 points and hit five 3-pointers. Jones had not hit more than one 3-pointer in a game since November. And of course, Williamson performed as he normally does, with aand a block that most basketball players are not capable of.
Duke will now play No. 2 seed Michigan State in the Elite Eight. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski is 3-1 vs. Spartans coach Tom Izzo in the NCAA Tournament, with the most recent meeting resulting in a Duke 81-61 win in the 2015 Final Four.
Cam Reddish surprisingly missed the game for the Blue Devils due to a knee injury. His status for Sunday's game was not immediately known.
"Right before the game -- we didn't know until right before the game that he was not going to be able to play," Krzyzewski said. "He went out. He just had something wrong with his knee. He was limping. But we didn't find out until right before the game."
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Duke vs. Virginia Tech live updates
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