If you’re a fan of the Duke University basketball and suffer from hypertension or any form of cardiac-related medical diagnosis, you might have to get a refill on your heart medication because the Blue Devils continued to put many of their fans and hopeful bracket owners in cardiac arrest after they barely squeaked out a slim single digit 77-76 victory over UCF.
After putting a scare in the hearts of the Duke faithful on Friday when they stumbled out of the blocks against a lowly 16th seeded North Dakota State, only to turn up in the second half for runaway win, they were taken down to the wire on Sunday before taking the final lead of the game in the final minute.
The Blue Devils were down by three points with less than 20 seconds on the game clock when freshman phenom Zion Williamson decided to drive hard into to the paint for a layup with hopes of drawing the foul and he did. While the bucket tied the game, he still needed to sink his shot from the charity stripe to take the one-point lead. Williamson didn’t put enough on the shot and it would bounce off the rim and into the grasp of his fellow first-year star in RJ Barrett, who would convert the putback bucket to put his team up for what would be for good.
The Knights of the University of Central Florida put forth a valiant effort and were a missed put-back layup away from advancing to the second round of the NCAA East Region of the Division I Men’s Basketball tournament. Coming into this contest all the talk was surrounding the potential matchup in the paint between Mount Zion and the Towering Tacko Fall, it was guard Aubrey Dawkins who had the game of his life as the son of Head Coach Johnny Dawkins was 12-of-18 from the field for 32 points. Williamson also had monster game as he tied Dawkins for the game high in points with 32 of his own and registered another double with 11 rebounds.
Hawkins’ heroics weren’t enough to lift the ninth-ranked Knights over the Blue Devils as their season comes to a heartbreaking end. As for Duke, they have shown tremendous amounts of grit, mental fortitude and toughness in the first weekend of the tournament as they fend off all who try to get in the way of their pursuit of the Sweet 16 and ultimately a national title.