Duke rallies in final seven minutes to stun North Carolina, while Texas Tech upends Oklahoma and Penn State shocks Iowa
“Trouble Is My Name”, by The Dum Dum Girls
Found on the 2015 album, Too True from Sub Pop Records
When the chips were down, Duke came through on the defensive end when it mattered the most.
Even with Matt Jones injuring his left ankle landing awkwardly on North Carolina star player Brice Johnson (who only scored 2 of his 29 points in the final 12 minutes) after going up for a shot nine minutes into the game, Duke made the key plays defensively and came out of the Dean Dome with a stunning 74-73 win.
This was the fourth consecutive season that the Blue Devils entered Chapel Hill as underdogs according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers, and each time they came away with the W. Grayson Allen calmly hitting two free throws preceded the final defensive stop in the waning seconds as more than 21,000 fans left in near stunned silence. The key to this game was rebounding, as Duke scored 14 of the final 19 points in the final 6:54 of action. Although North Carolina dominated in the first 10 minutes, Duke dominated during the final ten minutes. An already tight ACC race is getting tighter indeed, as both in-state rivals are separated by one game.
At Texas Tech…Buddy Hield looked like he was a man possessed in the first five minutes, but was nowhere to be found the rest of the game. Aaron Ross led the charge with 17 points, while Keenan Evan nailed three free throws in the final 30 seconds as the Red Raiders won their third straight game against a Top 25 team (Baylor and Kanss State were the other victories) in a stunning 65-63 upset. The bench was the key in this game, as the Red Raiders bench outscored the Sooners bench by a whopping 25-7 margin.
At State College…Happy Valley again turns into a nightmare for a Big Ten opponent. Just like Oklahoma, kiss Iowa’s chances for a number one seed good-bye after giving up way too many second chance opportunities to Penn State in a rather lackluster 79-75 loss. The telling stat in this particular game was the Nittany Lions shooting 46 percent overall from the field (26 of 56) compared to only 21 of 51 for Iowa (41.2 percent).
Another key upset of note early on Wednesday night was St. Joseph’s knocking off Dayton 79-70 in Philadelphia. Many ESPN commentators have both of those teams possibly making another Elite Eight run come late March. Only time will tell if that prediction comes true.
The only true certain thing about this night was Villanova still has the inside track on being the overall number one seed after sweeping the Big 5 as they easily upended an undermanned Temple squad 83-67.