Duke holds off Red Raiders 78-73

Texas Tech never stopped fighting but had its run in the 2022 NCAA Tournament come to an end with a 78-73 loss to second-seeded Duke in a West Region semifinal on Thursday at the Chase Center. 

"We just had a team that exceeded all expectations," Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. "The credit goes to these guys and our coaching staff for putting together the right guys that would fit here. They wanted to play defense and wanted to play for each other and sacrifice a lot of individual maybe goals for the betterment of the team. I thought it was an unbelievable year. It's just a team that just reached all kinds of heights no one ever thought was possible."

Playing in the program's third Sweet 16 in the past four tournaments, the Red Raiders (27-10) led 33-29 at halftime but saw the Blue Devils advance after shooting 71 percent in the second half including hitting their final eight shots. The game featured 13 lead changes and Tech owning the lead for 26 minutes. Duke will now play fourth-seeded Arkansas on Saturday in the West Region final after the Razorbacks earned a 74-68 win over No. 1 Gonzaga.   

Bryson Williams led the Red Raiders with 21 points, while Kevin McCullar added 17 points and Kevin Obanor had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season and sixth straight in NCAA Tournament play. Adonis Arms matched his season-high with seven assists and added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Terrence Shannon, Jr. finished with eight points for the Red Raiders who finished the game shooting 31-for-66 (47.0 percent) from the field 6-for-19 on 3-pointers.

Williams gave Tech a 65-64 lead with 4:04 on the clock before McCullar drilled a 3-pointer for a 68-66 lead with three minutes to play. The back-and-forth game saw Duke hit the next three shots, a 3-pointer from Banchero before a pair of jumpers from Jeremy Roach for a 73-68 lead with 1:30 remaining. Arms brought the game to within three at 73-70 with a dunk and then to 75-73 on a 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining but two free throws from AJ Griffin sealed the win for the Blue Devils. 

Duke shot 51.9 percent for the game, including going 17-for-24 (70.8 percent) in the second half where it outscored Tech by a 49-40 margin. Paolo Banchero led all scorers with 22 points in the game where he also had four rebounds and four assists, while Mark Williams went for 16 points and eight rebounds. Jeremy Roach added 15 points and five assists in the win.

"What a game. What a tremendous game," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "They're so good and strong. Obviously, in that first four minutes we weren't ready for that level of expertise on defense and their strength, but then after that I thought we played really well."

Williams was 8-for-16 from the field with two 3-pointers to leads the team in scoring for the 12th time this season. Tech finished the game with a 42-36 scoring advantage in the paint and a 33-29 rebounding margin, but Duke was 15 of 17 at the free-throw line while the Red Raiders were only 5 of 9 in the five-point game.

"When you're playing a team like Duke that has so much firepower on their offensive end and a lot of guys that can do a lot of great things on the floor one-on-one, it's always going to be hard to stop," Williams said. "Those guys had momentum going into it the end of the game, and they took fully advantage of it, so just hats off to them. They played great on the offensive end towards the end of the game."

Tech took a 33-29 lead into halftime with Obanor leading the way with eight points and eight rebounds, while McCullar had seven points. Shannon and Williams had six points each and Arms was at five rebounds and four points in the half that ended with the Red Raiders leading by four. Tech was shooting 15-for-33 (45.5 percent) from the field but just 2 of 9 on 3-pointers, while Duke was 11-for-30 (37 percent) and 3-for-11 on 3-pointers. Tech had a 20-14 scoring advantage in the paint, a 6-0 margin in second-chance points and had committed only five turnovers through the opening 20 minutes of play. Banchero had 11 points at halftime to lead all scorers.

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