Things aren’t looking bright for the Duke Blue Devils without Zion Williamson. The No.3 seed lost last night at Cassell Coliseum to No.20 Virginia Tech 72-77 and probably continued its fall in the AP Poll.
The absence of the big power forward and one of the best prospects in the last decade opened up numerous possibilities for Duke’s opponents to attack Mike Krzyzewski’s team, and furthermore, to be productive while doing that.
Though the game was close, the Hokies were up most of the time, and they were the side which dictated the tempo on the floor.
After an opening in which both sides subsequently changed lead, the home team pulled away minimally and kept that difference until the end of the halftime, 37-34.
The same thing was seen in the second part of the game until 6:43 left. In the next two and a half minutes Duke couldn’t score, and Virginia went to a 5-point lead. However, when Marques Bolden slammed the ball into the basket with 1:52 to go, the result was tied, and the guests had the momentu. But all that vanished when Ty Outlaw made a game-deciding three at 1:30 left, to lift his team to 73-70.
Cam Reddish missed from deep on the other side, and with one offensive rebound and two free throws made, Kerry Blackshear Jr. brought the win to the hosts.
Blackshear Jr. had a team-high for the Hokies, 23 points, with 10 rebounds, five of them offensive, and was shooting 7 of 11 from the field.
Ahmed Hill scored 17, Nickeil Alexander-Walker 13, while Ty Outlaw added 11.
Virginia Tech beat Duke 77-72 and former Aquinas star Ahmed Hill scored 17 points in the win. pic.twitter.com/zmN7YXTrtv
— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) February 27, 2019
For the Blue Devils, RJ Barrett dropped 21, Cam Reddish 17. Bolden posted 14 off the bench.
Duke (24-4, 12-3 ACC) is now third in the conference, with No.5 North Carolina and No.2 Virginia, jumping over them. The Hokies (22-6, 11-5) are fourth.
They played tonight without their starting guard, Justin Robinson, who’s been averaging 14.4 points this season. It was the 8th straight game without him.
Duke heads back home now, to meet with Miami this Saturday afternoon. The situation regarding Zion is still not clear, and there are no indications about him playing anytime soon.
Virginia Tech will face No.18 Florida State Seminoles next Tuesday, on the road.