Austin Rivers, Mike Krzyzewski and the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils squeaked by the Virginia Tech Hokies, 60-56 in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday. Duke advances to Saturday's semifinal round.
Tyyler Thornton scored a career-best 13 points and Austin Rivers hustled for a clinching three-point play that carried the sixth-ranked Blue Devils to a 60-56 victory over cold-shooting Virginia Tech in the ACC quarterfinals Friday night.
Duke's Austin Rivers lead the Blue Devils with 17 points, including the final basket to seal the win.
Updated 10:54 p.m.
ATLANTA – As Duke moved the ball around the perimeter in the second half of its 60-56 win over Virginia Tech on Friday night, Tyler Thornton saw that Seth Curry was going to catch it with what looked like enough space to get off an open 3-pointer from the wing.
“Shoot it, Seth,” Thornton yelled.
At the last second, a Virginia Tech defender lunged at Curry, forcing him to pass to a wide-open Thornton in the corner. With the Hokies showing little inclination to close out on him, Thornton squared up and let fly with another 3-pointer.
That attempt splashed through the net.
DURHAM – After former Duke point guard Kyrie Irving said Monday that Mike Krzyzewski would coach the U.S. Olympic team in 2016, the Blue Devils coach said Tuesday that such a decision has not been made.
“While Kyrie and I have discussed his potential role with USA Basketball in the future, my focus right now is on the remainder of our Duke team’s season and the 2012 Olympics,” Krzyzewski said in a release provided by Duke.
“Jerry Colangelo and I have not discussed anything beyond what is ahead of the USA national team this summer as we pursue a gold medal in London.”
DURHAM – Duke forward Ryan Kelly sprained his right foot in practice on Tuesday and will miss the ACC tournament.
The junior will be monitored over the weekend and re-evaluated Monday.
Without Kelly, the Blue Devils will have to take care to avoid wearing the Plumlee brothers out, especially if they get to Sunday’s championship. Beyond Mason and Miles, Duke’s only other frontcourt options are Josh Hairston and Mike Gbinije.
After Duke’s players indicated that they thought their offensive struggles against North Carolina affected their defense on Saturday, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday that he’s not sure it won’t happen again this season.
“That’s just who we are,” Krzyzewski said during the ACC teleconference. “You can tell them not to do that, but I tell ‘em to block out and they don’t always block out. It’s going to happen. It’s reoccurred through the season and hopefully during this postseason, we can eliminate that.”
The Blue Devils shot 26.5 percent in the first half on Saturday against the Tar Heels while UNC shot 52.6 percent on the other end. The discrepancy helped the Tar Heels build a 24-point halftime advantage.
DURHAM -- About five minutes after North Carolina put the finishing touches on its 88-70 win over Duke on Saturday night, the Blue Devils players made their way back onto the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Miles Plumlee addressed the remaining crowd, thanking the Duke students for their support during his career. He then said the Blue Devils would make amends for its disappointing performance against the Tar Heels by reaching the Final Four.
Such a promise required a bit of a leap of faith after Duke’s miserable effort in the first half against UNC. But if the fourth-ranked Blue Devils (26-5, 13-3) have shown nothing else this season, it’s that they have the ability to defy expectations in both directions.
See vidoe highlights of the North Carolina Tar Heels' 88-70 win over the Duke Blue Devils to capture the ACC regular-season crown.
Updated 10:42 p.m.
DURHAM -- Ever since it beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Feb. 8, Duke has played Austin Rivers’ dramatic game-winning shot on its video board before each home game as a way of inciting the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
From Roy Williams to Kendall Marshall, many of the Tar Heels’ coaches and players took a long look at the highlight when it was shown Saturday.
Rather than stew silently, Marshall told his teammates what he thought.
“When they showed the big-time shot Austin hit, I just brought my team together and told them I thought it was extremely disrespectful,” Marshall said.