Duke’s first March Madness without Mike Krzyzewski didn’t go as the Blue Devils had hoped.
The fourth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers pulled away late to hand No. 5 Duke a round of 32 loss, 65-52, to advance to the Sweet 16.
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Duke led by as many as six, but the Vols built a 17-2 run to go up by nine early in the second half. The Blue Devils responded with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to two.
But Duke junior guard Jeremy Roach committed his fourth foul with 15 minutes remaining in the game, putting the Blue Devils in trouble with the Vols up five. With Roach in foul trouble, Tennessee took advantage and regained a nine-point lead.
The Blue Devils struggled and didn’t allow the lead to reach double digits for several minutes. But with just over four minutes to go, a Vols three-pointer gave them an 11-point lead that increased to 13 in the final minute of play.
Oliver Nkamhoua led all scorers with 27 points.
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Duke was never able to get the deficit back below five points after that streak by Tennessee.
The Blue Devils’ season started off slow, and they got dangerously hot and won the ACC Tournament. But March was too much for them.
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The Vols await the winner of No. 9 Florida Atlantic and No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson, who pulled off the biggest upset in March Madness history with her win over No. 1 Purdue.
It’s Tennessee’s first Sweet 16 trip since 2019.