Duke Pulls Off Narrow Victory Against UCF and Avoids Upset to Advance to The Sweet 16.

The Duke Blue Devils defeated the UCF Knights 77-76 in a nail biter classic game.  RJ Barrett grabbed the offensive rebound after Zion Williamson missed his free throw attempt and his putback put Duke up for good.  UCF still had a chance to win and came up short after B.J. Taylor missed his shot and Aubrey Dawkins missed the tip-in to give UCF the upset win.  Dawkins shot looked like he had the perfect angle for the tip-in and potential buzzer beater.  Tacko Fall fouled out with 14 seconds left in the game after fouling Williamson on a potential three point play.

That led to Barrett getting a easy rebound for Duke for the game winning bucket.  If Fall was out there, I don’t see Duke getting that offensive rebound.  Fall should have let Zion score or fouled him hard enough to not make that basket.  Fall finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.  Williamson finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.  Williamson made 12 out of 24 shots and was 7 out of 18 shots while Fall was on the floor.

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The Knights were up 74-70 with 1:55 left to play when Dayon Griffin threw Dawkins a wide open alley-oop and Dawkins wasn’t able to throw down the dunk.  That dunk would have put UCF up by six points, instead Cam Reddish hit a three-pointer on the next possession to cut the lead to one point.  UCF made 15 out of 20 free throws, compared to Duke 7 out of 12 free throws.  The Knights made 9 out of 18 three-pointers, compared to Duke 10 out of 25 three-pointers.  Williamson tied his career-high with three, three-pointers made.

Dawkins came to play finishing with 32 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds and made 12 out of 18 shots to go with 5 three-pointers.  Fall played the least amount of minutes out of all the UCF starters due to foul trouble, that limited him to 25 minutes.  UCF was the better team and gave the blueprint on how to beat Duke.  Duke will play Virginia Tech next in their Sweet 16 matchup.  Duke definitely should beat Virginia Tech and reach the Elite 8, most likely will lose soon or in the championship game.

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What a heartbreaking loss for UCF.  I knew it wouldn’t be a blowout game, I had Duke winning by no more than 10 points and this game will be a ESPN classic soon.

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