GREENVILLE, S.C. – After falling behind 70-65 with 5:10 remaining, second-seeded Duke closed the game on a 20-6 run to wrestle out an 85-76 win over Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament Second Round at Bons Secours Wellness Arena.
Freshman Paolo Banchero scored 19 points, including the go-ahead basket through contact with 2:05 left. The All-American then came up with a block on the other end, and a clutch Jeremy Roach three on the ensuing possession put the Blue Devils (30-6) ahead by four.
Duke shot .607 from the field in the second half after halftime and .571 for the game, and it needed every bit of that production to survive against the seventh-seeded Spartans (23-13) in a riveting fight to the final minute.
“That was a great game, and they knocked us back. So proud of my guys, and for a young group, they showed incredible guts,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said on the CBS telecast.
The win was the 1,200th in Coach K’s historic career and put him one shy of 100 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Devils led by as many as nine early in the second half, but Michigan State went on a 9-0 run that included a Tyson Walker three-pointer to give the Spartans their first lead since the 11:11 mark of the first half.
But Duke kept fighting, and with key defensive stops followed by timely shots and late free throws, the Blue Devils advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 28th time in program history.
Duke had five players score in double figures, with Wendell Moore Jr., Jeremy Roach and Mark Williams netting 15 apiece. Freshman Trevor Keels added 12, including a momentum-shifting three to tie the game at 72 with 3:24 left.
Gabe Brown scored 18 points to lead Michigan State, while Walker scored all 13 of his points after halftime. The Spartans shot .415 for the game and .500 (11-of-22) from behind the arc, but were held to only one field goal over the final 2:51 in a possession-by-possession fight.
The Blue Devils face the winner of Notre Dame and Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 on Thursday in San Francisco. Tip time and TV information has yet to be announced.