No.1 overall seed Duke advances to the Sweet 16 after barely surviving as No. 9 seed UCF. The Knights were inches away from replacing the Blue Devils.
As a result, the Blue Devils will advance to the second weekend of March Madness after defeating the Knights, 77-76.
What Would’ve Been The Biggest Upset So Far
After a failed jumper for the Knights, Aubrey Dawkins grabbed the offensive rebound and saw a last-second layup rim out that would send the Blue Devils to the Sweet 16.
UCF was this close to winning. Duke was this close to losing.
Only in March. pic.twitter.com/Zqh8isZQSP
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 24, 2019
Dawkins, the coach’s son, was UCF’s hero of the night finishing with 32 points. But, the failed jumper became an enduring highlight from this tournament and matchup.
“Heartbreak. That’s the only way to sum it up,” Dawkins recalled after the game.
Johnny Dawkins gave an emotional speech to his UCF team after the heart-breaking loss. He led the Knights to a 24-9 record this season and was 13-5 in the American Athletic Conference as they smoked VCU in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, 75-58.
“We end in tears…that’s because we’ve invested so much in each other.
I love you guys. It’s been amazing coaching this group.” –@Coach_Dawkins pic.twitter.com/B58DbNZzWO
— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) March 25, 2019
Zion Williamson vs. Tacko Fall
The battle between Duke superstar Zion Williamson and 7-6 UCF center Tacko Fall certainly delivered.
After winning his 33rd opening tip in 33 games this season, Fall grabbed the rebound for an easy one-handed slam to give the Knights the first bucket of the game.
Likewise, Williamson would answer with a 3-pointer as Duke’s first bucket of the game. Williamson would work early as Fall vowed to not allow Williamson to dunk on him.
Fall would continue his dunking display in the second half with his fifth slam of the game as he finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks while hitting 7-of-10 field goal attempts.
Likewise, Williamson tailed with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists in the game that included the nerve-wracking finish for the Blue Devils.
Duke’s Familiar Sight
In contrast, seeing the ball hang on the rim was a familiar sight to Duke fans, as one year after Grayson Allen’s final attempt in the Elite Eight against Kansas hit every part of the rim without dropping.
Last year, Duke didn’t get the roll it needed against Kansas.
Against UCF, it was a different story. pic.twitter.com/La3jySYxQ9
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 25, 2019
Moreover, Duke basketball head coach Mike Kryzewski talked about the high level of play by his Blue Devils after Duke’s narrow win against the Knights.
In short, Duke still has some work to do to reach the Final Four, with a matchup against ACC rival Virginia Tech, who beat the Blue Devils last month, followed by a date if surviving with either No.2 Michigan State or No. 3 LSU.