WASHINGTON – For the second time in six days, Duke’s players thought they had given up a last-second, game-changing basket.
But once again, the other team just missed, as top-seeded Duke squeaked past fourth-seeded Virginia Tech 75-73 at Capital One Arena to advance to the East Region final.
On Sunday, Aubrey Dawkins missed a last-second layup that would have given Central Florida a bracket-busting victory over Duke (32-5). This time, Virginia Tech (26-9) had an inbounds play near the basket with 1.1 seconds remaining.
Justin Robinson found a wide-open Ahmed Hill in front of the rim. Hill leaped for the pass but somehow missed the short shot.
“Hill kind of did a loop, and I’m not even going to lie to you,” Duke freshman star Zion Williamson said. “When he caught it, I said, ‘Ah, we’re about to go to overtime.’ I mean, I don’t know what happened.”
Robinson said he made a bad pass on what should have been an alley oop.
“One of our coaches, Jamie, drew up a great play,” Hill said. “… This was our first time running it this year. … Justin threw a great pass, and I just came up short.”
Before that final shot, Virginia Tech had two other chances at a go-ahead three-pointer on its final possession but missed both — one by Hill and the other by Ty Outlaw. That sequence came after Blue Devils freshman Tre Jones (Apple Valley) missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 29 seconds left.