Duke escapes Texas Tech and advances to the Elite Eight 78-73
With Coach K retiring after the season concludes, this years' Duke team has that grit and determination not to fail their coach. After a couple wobbly losses heading into the tournament, the Blue Devils got back to playing Duke basketball and earned themselves a a ticket to play Texas Tech in the Sweet Sixteen. Prior to the match-up, Charles Barkley written Duke off by saying they were too young and could not match-up with the length and hunger of Texas Tech..
In the first half Duke had six crucial turnovers that turned into nine fast-break points for Texas Tech. On the offensive end, they had trouble hitting from down town. The Blue Devils went 3 out of 11 from behind the arch. Outside of Paolo Banchero, who had a huge half with a 11 points, there was barely signs of contributions from other teammates. Despite shooting around 37% majority of the half, Duke was hanging tough with Texas Tech and were down 33-29 at the end of the break.
Early in the second half the paced picked up for both teams. The Blue Devils were making the shots that they were missing in the first half and they were getting more into their sets early on, instead of late in the shot clock. Despite Duke getting easy money buckets they were too relaxed on the defensive end. It seemed like each time they had an answer for Texas Tech, Texas Tech would go right at Duke's zone and score like Casper the Ghost was guarding them.
The Dukies went on a 9-1 run at the 11 minute mark and took the lead. It was the first time in the game that it looked like the Blue Devils looked confident that they could beat Texas Tech. Back and forth both teams went scoring bucket to bucket. Down the stretch, the Blue Devils seemed to be cursed with butter fingers. On two straight trips, they turned the ball over, which started a 5-0 run for Texas Tech at the four minute mark.
With under two minutes left, Duke went on to score six straight points to escape the claws on Texas Tech to advance to the Elite Eight.