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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