Duke’s Fluke Spoils Tech’s Upset Bid 77-75

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#1 Duke escaped Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 77-75 victory over Virginia Tech thanks to a long three-pointer from near half court by Sean Dockery as the final buzzer sounded. The game was nip-and-tuck for the entire 40 minutes, with both teams overcoming deficits at various points. The Hokies ran off 12 consecutive points on the Blue Devils before Dockery’s miraculous shot, and also topped Duke in nearly every statistical category. The loss drops Virginia Tech to 5-3 overall and 0-1 in ACC play. Duke improves to 7-0 and 1-0 in the ACC.

The Hokies had the ball with just seconds to play, trailing the Blue Devils 74-73. Virginia Tech guard Zabian Dowdell drove down the lane, but missed a jumper. Fortunately for Tech, Coleman Collins was there for the tip-in with just 1.6 seconds remaining on the clock. On the inbounds, Duke threw a hail mary to the opposite end of the court, where Dockery put up his prayer from approximately 40 feet away from the basket.

The game featured a battle between two of the best big men in the ACC in Virginia Tech’s Coleman Collins and Duke’s Shelden Williams. Collins recorded a career-high 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. His tip-in with 1.6 seconds remaining nearly made him the hero of the game. Shelden Williams had a great game for the Blue Devils as well, scoring 21 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and blocking five shots.

J.J. Redick scored 18 points, but was held in check for the majority of the night. He hit just 6-of-19 shots from the field and 2-of-8 from three-point range. He also committed four turnovers.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, Sean Dockery stepped up in Redick’s place. Dockery entered the game averaging 5.2 points per game. He was shooting just 38.2% from the field and only 21.4% from three-point range. But in this game the senior guard scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He also hit four of his five three-point attempts.

Tech also got a good game from guards Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon. Dowdell finished with 15 points and four assists, while Gordon had 11 points and five assists. Sophomore forward Deron Washington had ten points and six rebounds.

Virginia Tech started freshman forward Cheick Diakite and senior guard Shawn Harris because Dowdell and Gordon missed class on Tuesday. Despite beginning the game with backups on the court, the Hokies were able to keep up with Duke in the early going because of Coleman Collins. Collins scored eight of Virginia Tech’s first ten points of the game.

Duke led by as many as six points in the first half, but the Hokies always seemed to battle back. The Blue Devils led 32-27 with 3:33 remaining in the first half, but Tech went on a 9-3 run and took a 36-35 lead into halftime. Zabian Dowdell hit a floater in the lane with ten seconds remaining before intermission to give Tech the lead.

The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the second half, but at one point it looked like Duke was going to pull away. Beginning at the 7:23 mark, the Blue Devils went on an 11-2 run that appeared to be the turning point in the game. Dockery capped the run with two free throws with 4:19 remaining to put his team up 74-63. It looked like the Cameron Indoor Stadium homecourt advantage was finally going to get the Hokies.

But Tech had one more run left in them. After the Dockery free throws, the Hokies scored the next 12 points of the game to take a 75-74 lead. Coleman Collins had two big dunks during the run, as Tech was able to get penetration on the Duke defense and find open shots underneath.

With 11 seconds remaining and Duke leading 74-72, Jamon Gordon was fouled by Sean Dockery. Gordon hit the first free throw, but missed the second. Shelden Williams grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately by Deron Washington. Williams missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Gordon grabbed the rebound for Tech.

With four seconds remaining, Zabian Dowdell put up a shot in the lane, and Coleman Collins tipped in his miss to put Tech up 75-74 with 1.6 seconds remaining. This set the stage for Dockery’s dramatic shot as time expired.

Virginia Tech outshot and outrebounded the Blue Devils, and also managed to win the turnover battle. Tech shot 51.6% from the field, had 34 rebounds and committed 13 turnovers. Duke shot 46.4%, grabbed 30 rebounds and had 15 turnovers. The Hokies outscored Duke 50-28 in the paint and 12-2 on fast breaks. The game featured 12 ties and 19 lead changes.

Virginia Tech returns to action on Wednesday when they host North Carolina A&T in Cassell Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm and the game will not be televised.

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