SAN FRANCISCO — No. 2 Duke eliminated No. 3 Texas Tech from the NCAA Tournament with a 78-73 victory in the Sweet 16 Thursday.
The Red Raiders led for most of the way but after a back-and-forth second half, Duke made big shots late in the game to seize the lead.
Blue Devil guard Jeremy Roach made back-to-back jump shots in the game’s final minutes, giving Duke a 73-68 lead with 1:30 remaining.
A Duke missed free throw and an Adonis Arms 3-pointer brought Tech within two points, but four free throws from Wendell Moore Jr. and AJ Griffin effectively sealed the victory.
The win extended the career of Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has said he will retire after the season. It was the 100th NCAA Tournament win of Krzyzewski’s career.
The game’s coaches were much closer than age in experience. Krzyzewski, 75, is the sport’s all-time wins leader. For Mark Adams, 65, Thursday’s game was his third as a head coach in the tournament.
The game featured a Red Raider team loaded with experience against a Blue Devil team loaded with talent. Adams built his team through the transfer portal, plucking many players with a year of eligibility remaining who had cut their teeth at lower levels of college basketball. Krzyzewski built his off the list of the nation’s top recruits, landing ultra-talented, but young players likely ticketed for the NBA after the season.
Forward Paolo Banchero is the cream of that crop, a skilled, 6-foot-10 forward who is projected to go in the top three picks of the draft. Thursday, he played like it. Banchero scored a game-high 22 points and made two key 3-pointers in the second half.
Bryson Williams and Kevin McCullar were Texas Tech top scorers, scoring 21 and 17 points, respectively. Williams was Texas Tech’s most consistent scorer all year and was able to get to his spots against the lengthy, athletic Blue Devils. Still, he had a costly turnover with 1:56 remaining and missed a jump shot on the next possession.
Kevin Obanor scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, giving him a double-double for his sixth-straight March Madness game. Arms contributed in several areas, posting 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Texas Tech led 33-29 after the first half, in which it held the Blue Devils to 36.7 percent shooting. In the second half, that number skyrocketed to 70.8 percent. Duke made its final eight field goals of the game.
Banchero, Roach and big man Mark Williams all scored at least 11 points in the second half alone.
The game ends the debut season of the Mark Adams era at Texas Tech, which by all measures was still a complete success. With just five players returning from last year’s roster, Adams built a roster that proved it can beat any team in the country.