RJ Barrett scored off a rebound with 12 seconds remaining, and Duke made a final defensive stand to pull out a 77-76 victory against Central Florida in the NCAA Tournament’s second round Sunday in Columbia, S.C.
Central Florida’s BJ Taylor missed a runner in the final seconds, and a tip-in attempt by Aubrey Dawkins barely rolled off, allowing top-seeded Duke to advance in the East Region. Duke (31-5) will meet Virginia Tech on Friday night in the Sweet 16 in Washington, D.C., after the Hokies downed Liberty later Sunday.
Ninth-seeded Central Florida was up 74-70 with the ball with less than two minutes to play before a turnover. Breaking the other way, Duke’s Cam Reddish hit a 3-pointer, and then teammate Javin DeLaurier missed two free throws with 1:09 to play.
Taylor made two free throws with 45.2 seconds to play for a 76-73 lead.
After Zion Williamson missed a 3-pointer, DeLaurier grabbed the offensive rebound. Williamson drove for a layup and was fouled with 14.4 seconds left, with UCF 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall fouling out on the play. Williamson missed a chance for a three-point play by leaving the free throw short, but Barrett rebounded and laid it in to put Duke ahead.
Central Florida called timeout with 8.1 seconds remaining to set up the final sequence.
Williamson finished with 32 points, Barrett scored 16, Reddish had 13 and Tre Jones posted 11.
Sunday’s game included Central Florida coach Johnny Dawkins, a former Duke star, going against his alma mater. The coach later was an assistant coach under Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
Aubrey Dawkins, the coach’s son, poured in 32 points for the Knights (24-9), while Taylor and Fall both had 15.
Down eight at the break, the Knights scored the first seven points of the second half, resulting in a Duke timeout.
Later it was tied at 57-57 when Fall was called for his fourth foul. Duke went up 64-59 on 3-pointers from Jones, who missed his first six 3-point tries, and Jordan Goldwire.
Reddish, who had 10 points in the first half, was called for his fourth foul at the 13:48 mark.
Central Florida went up 70-68 on Taylor’s 3-pointer with just under four minutes left.
Tied at 34-34, Duke scored eight straight points in 34 seconds late in the first half and took a 44-36 lead to the break.
Duke shot 54.5 percent from the field in the first half, hitting five of its 11 3-point attempts.
Fall picked up his second foul with 10:56 to play in the first half. From there, Duke went on a 12-2 run for a 25-21 lead.
Dawkins had 10 points as part of Central Florida’s early 19-13 lead.
—Field Level Media