Duke Blue Devils outlast Texas Tech as Mike Krzyzewski returns to Elite Eight

Duke Blue Devils outlast Texas Tech as Mike Krzyzewski returns to Elite Eight

Duke Blue Devils outlast Texas Tech as Mike Krzyzewski returns to Elite Eight

SAN FRANCISCO — Toward the end of Duke’s 78-73 win over Texas Tech on Thursday night in the Sweet 16, the Blue Devils fans who’d swarmed Chase Center were suddenly unsure if they were witnessing the continuation of a career or the end of one.

In a competitive game that featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes, the fans realized they might be watching the final minutes of Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure, with Duke battling a team that entered the night with the nation’s top defense.

But Krzyzewski listened to his players late in the game when they told him it was time to go back to a man-to-man defense after a zone had disrupted Texas Tech’s flow in the second half. His trust in them helped the program secure a trip to the Elite Eight and a matchup against Arkansas.SAN FRANCISCO — Toward the end of Duke’s 78-73 win over Texas Tech on Thursday night in the Sweet 16, the Blue Devils fans who’d swarmed Chase Center were suddenly unsure if they were witnessing the continuation of a career or the end of one.

In a competitive game that featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes, the fans realized they might be watching the final minutes of Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure, with Duke battling a team that entered the night with the nation’s top defense.

But Krzyzewski listened to his players late in the game when they told him it was time to go back to a man-to-man defense after a zone had disrupted Texas Tech’s flow in the second half. His trust in them helped the program secure a trip to the Elite Eight and a matchup against Arkansas.Throughout the season, schools around the country celebrated Krzyzewski’s career. But he admitted Wednesday that the weight of his farewell tour had impacted his young team. Duke had battled Michigan State in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16 and then needed a comeback in the second half of Thursday’s game.

With a minute to go, however, Banchero and his teammates slapped the floor in unison, a Duke tradition. Their energy had changed. And they used it to secure the win and a trip to the Elite Eight on Saturday.

Krzyzewski said it was a definitive moment for the team.

“The slapping the floor … what the hell? Why not?” Krzyzewski said after the game. “Our guys really wanted that because it’s kind of like a ‘cross the bridge to the brotherhood’ [moment]. They can now say they did that. Hopefully, they can say that again, at least, on Saturday.”

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