One round after top-seeded Duke survived UCF when an Aubrey Dawkins layup rolled off the rim, they got similarly lucky against ACC rival Virginia Tech.
With the ball underneath their own basket and just 1.1 seconds left on the clock, Buzz Williams drew up a beautiful out of bounds play to get Ahmed Hill a shot at the rim … and he missed it.
Look at this:
Hill had 15 huge points in this game, but this is the shot that he is never going to forget, and the Blue Devils hang on to win, 75-73.
Ending aside, there is plenty to talk about with this game.
Like, for example, Tre Jones picked a hell of a time to figure out how to shoot.
Duke’s five-star freshman point guard had not hit more than one three in a game since Nov. 19th heading into Friday night’s date with Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16. He entered the game having made all of 22 threes on the season, and he left the arena with five three-pointers, finishing the night with a career-high 22 points and eight assists.
It’s particularly notable because of how humiliating it must have been for the entire world to watch UCF just ignore him on the offensive end of the floor. Jones is used to teams sagging off and helping off, but what the Knights did in the second round of this tournament was the ultimate in disrespect. They used Tacko Fall to “guard” Jones, but the reality of the situation is that UCF didn’t even bother to pretend to be concerned about him.
That happened on national television, in one of the most-watched games of the season.
It says something about Tre that the very next time out, he bangs how five threes, a shooting performance that not only gave Duke some much-needed points in what ended up being a two-point win, but helped pull Virginia Tech’s defense out of the paint. Duke had to win this game short-handed, as their fourth five-star freshman — Cam Reddish — did not play. He was in uniform on the bench, but a knee injury suffered at some point before tip-off kept him off the floor.
Throughout the year, Reddish has more or less been Duke’s best and most dangerous shooter. Without him, Virginia Tech was running doubles at Zion Williamson before he even caught the ball in the post.
Williamson himself put on a show, going for a team-high 23 points on 11-for-14 shooting, while R.J. Barrett chipped in with 18 points, 11 assists and five boards.