Duke escapes with 77-76 win over UCF to advance to the Sweet 16 | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / November 15.
  • Duke escapes with 77-76 win over UCF to advance to the Sweet 16

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Zion Williamson and Duke are headed to the Sweet 16 in Washington D.C.

    But only by the slimmest of margins.

    The Blue Devils, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, escaped with a 77-76 win over UCF in Columbia, S.C., but only after UCF had two chances for a game-winning shot to drop.

    R.J. Barrett scored on a go-ahead putback with 11 seconds remaining but UCF had one last chance to win it with 8.1 seconds left. B.J. Taylor’s initial jumper with 3 seconds remaining hit the rim and Aubrey Dawkins’ putback rolled around the rim and teased and taunted the basketball world before rimming out.

    “We made a couple big plays here,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said on air. “R.J. and Zion, they willed us. And then we were lucky.”

    It would have been a massive upset. The No. 1 overall seed would have gone crashing out, the careers of the projected top-2 picks in the NBA Draft would have ended and a million brackets would have been busted.

    Williamson finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists and Barrett had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

    Dawkins went for 32 points for UCF and Tacko Fall had 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.

    Photo: Duke

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.