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Hokies Upset Duke 64-63

That didn’t have to happen

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Virginia Tech
Feb 26, 2018; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) looks to pass while being defended by Virginia Tech Hokies guard/forward Nickeil Alexander-Walker (4) and guard Devin Wilson (11) in the first half at Cassell Coliseum.
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

This was one of those games where the end echoed what Ernest Hemingway said about going broke: you go broke slowly and then all of a sudden.

Duke was going broke for a while before it sped up to all of a sudden.

Let’s just look at the last 5:00 and see how many small errors became magnified.

  1. 4:59: With Duke up 60-51, Carter turns the ball over and is called for a foul. Kerry Blackshear cuts the lead to seven.
  2. 4:33: Alex O’ Connell turnover
  3. 4:00: Marques Bolden misses a basket
  4. 3:35: Nickeil Alexander-Walker hits a three to cut the lead to four at 60-56
  5. 3:03: Grayson Allen misses a free throw
  6. 2:30: Marvin Bagley misses a jumper
  7. 2:23: Justin Robinson hits a pari of free throws to cut the lead to 61-58.
  8. 1:51: Grayson Allen steals the ball from Kerry Blackshear
  9. 1:33: Grayson Allen turns the ball back over to Virginia Tech
  10. 1:28: Chris Clarke gets a dunk
  11. 1:11 Grayson Allen turns the ball over again to Clarke
  12. 1:03: Clarke hits a layup to cut the lead to 63-62
  13. 0:33: Gary Trent turns the ball over
  14. 0:25: Trevon Duval misses the front end of a one-and-one.
  15. 0:04: Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed a jumper
  16. 0:04: Chris Clarke tips in the miss to put Virginia Tech up 64-63.
  17. 0:01: Grayson Allen shoots and misses then Bagley tips in after the light goes off.

That’s 17 plays. Pick one or two and the results is different. Start at the end and box out Clarke: game over.

Pick #14 and Duval hits two free throws. Game possibly over.

Pick #9 and #11 and the Hokies can’t win. You can play this game for a long time. Pick #5 and #14 and that might have been enough.

The point is that Duke’s lack of focus and intensity killed it in this game. And it’s not like Virginia Tech had it the whole way through either.

Duke had 18 turnovers but Virginia Tech had 12 and for a good bit of the game Duke’s defense made scoring difficult.

The Hokies, a dangerous three point shooting team, shot just 5-22 (22.7%).Duke shot slightly better at 8-28 but Gary Trent was just 1-7 with his only basket coming on a drive.

With the loss, Duke fall into a tie for third place with UNC and UNC has the tiebreaker. If NC State can take Georgia Tech and Louisville this week and if Duke loses to UNC, then State will get the coveted 4th spot.

Whatever happens there, Duke might have been able to wrap up a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s off for now too.

All things considered it was a costly loss for Duke and one they really didn’t have to lose at all. Coaches always say when you can bury an opponent then you should. In Duke’s case, they simply didn’t do that and as a result, have dropped a chance to mark down some major accomplishments.

It’s not a terminal loss, in other words, but it still doesn’t feel like a good one.


Player of the game vs. Virginia Tech

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Grayson Allen
    (342 votes)
  • 4%
    Wendell Carter
    (34 votes)
  • 2%
    Marvin Bagley
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    Gary Trent
    (6 votes)
  • 4%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (34 votes)
  • 2%
    Trevon Duval
    (21 votes)
  • 16%
    Marques Bolden
    (130 votes)
  • 4%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (32 votes)
  • 18%
    Jack White
    (145 votes)
767 votes total Vote Now

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