NCAA

The ball keeps bouncing Duke's way, and the Blue Devils keep winning

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The ball keeps bouncing Duke's way, and the Blue Devils keep winning

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Duke survived and advanced, again. A week after narrowly escaping UCF in the Round of 32, the No. 1 seed Blue Devils narrowly escaped the No. 4 seed Virginia Tech Hokies, 75-73, in the East Regional Semifinals at Capital One Arena on Friday night.

Not only did Duke escape again, but they escaped thanks to an eerily similar finish to a week ago.

Instead of Aubrey Dawkins watching his desperation putback attempt roll in and out of the basket, it was Virginia Tech's Ahmed Hill who watched his heroic attempt rattle out and on to the cutting room floor.

The Hokies did have three good looks at the very end.

A Hill 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left bounced off the rim and into the hands of teammate Kerry Blackshear. Virginia Tech called timeout and got Ty Outlaw a great look at the game-winning 3-pointer, but the ball caromed off the rim and out of bounds, sending the arena and the officiating crew into a frenzy over whether or not Blackshear was out of bounds when trying to corral the miss.

After the lengthy review, Virginia Tech got the ball back on the far sidelines with 1.1 seconds remaining and a another chance to to tie or win the game. Justin Robinson delivered a picture-perfect pass to a streaking Hill, who had just two feet between he and overtime.

But like Central Florida a week ago, the iron was unkind.

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. For the second straight game, Duke was both lucky and good, and a bit more lucky.

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UVA's Tomas Woldenstae's game-winner stuns Tar Heels in Chapel Hill

UVA's Tomas Woldenstae's game-winner stuns Tar Heels in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Tomas Woldetensae scored 18 points and made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to lift Virginia past North Carolina 64-62 on Saturday night.

Mamadi Diakite added 15 points for the Cavaliers (17-7, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won for the fifth time in six games.

Woldetensae's winning shot came after North Carolina's Christian Keeling made three free throws to give the Tar Heels a 62-61 lead with 10.3 seconds left. Keeling had been fouled by Woldetensae while attempting a 3-point shot.

Casey Morsell and Kihei Clark each scored 10 points for Virginia. The Cavaliers won back-to-back games against North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the first time in program history.

Garrison Brooks scored 20 points to lead North Carolina (10-15, 3-11), which lost its fifth consecutive game.

Cole Anthony added 17 points for the Tar Heels, but his half-court heave at the buzzer wasn't close. Keeling scored 11 points.

North Carolina lost despite shooting 50% from the floor against the Cavaliers, who entered the game with the nation's top scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers have returned to their winning ways just in time. Virginia's NCAA Tournament chances were fading a month ago during a three-game losing streak, but the Cavaliers have gone 6-2 while grinding out five wins by five points or fewer since then.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels remained winless in February, starting off their second month in a row with five consecutive defeats. They are one loss away from clinching their first losing record for a regular season since 2001-02.

UP NEXT

Virginia: The Cavaliers host Boston College on Wednesday night, looking to avenge the Eagles' 60-53 win in the teams' first meeting on Jan. 7.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels play Monday night at Notre Dame, which they defeated 76-65 on Nov. 6 in each team's season opener.

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P.J. Horne's career night carries Virginia Tech past Pittsburgh

P.J. Horne's career night carries Virginia Tech past Pittsburgh

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- P.J. Horne scored a career-high 18 points to lift Virginia Tech to a 67-57 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Horne hit 6 of 9 from the floor, including a career-high four 3-pointers for the Hokies (15-10, 6-8 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a five-game losing streak. Jalen Cone added 12 points and four 3-pointers for Virginia Tech, which hit 12 3-pointers in the game.

Au'Diese Toney and Justin Champignie scored 12 points each to lead the Panthers (15-11, 6-9), who lost for the fifth time in the past seven games.

Horne, who came into the game averaging 7.1 points per game, made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions in the final 3:30 to help the Hokies hold off the Panthers. Virginia Tech led by as many as 19 in the second half before Pittsburgh cut the lead to 59-53 on a layup by Abdoul Karim Coulibaly with 3:21 remaining.

Horne, though, hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:06 to go to push the Tech lead to 62-53, and after another Coulibaly layup with 2:51 remaining, Horne connected again, hitting a 3-pointer from the same spot to give the Hokies a 65-55 lead. Pittsburgh got no closer.

Xavier Johnson finished with 11 points for Pittsburgh, which shot just 35% (21 of 60) in losing its fifth straight road game.

BIG PICTURE

Pittsburgh: Securing an NCAA Tournament berth is probably a bit much to ask of this young squad, but an NIT bid is certainly an attainable goal. However, the Panthers need to find a cure for their first-half woes, particularly on the road. Pittsburgh entered the game shooting 32.4% in the first half of its previous five road games (four losses) and continued the trend Saturday, shooting 26.9% in the first half in falling to the Hokies.

Virginia Tech: A week off certainly did wonders for the Hokies, who desperately needed a win after dropping five straight games. Like the Panthers, the Hokies probably aren't going to make the NCAA field unless they can make some noise in a brutal upcoming stretch. Tech plays Miami on Wednesday, then takes on Duke (road), Virginia (home) and Louisville (road).

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