Tuesday, April 23

Duke pulls away from top-seeded Houston in gritty second half to advance to Elite Eight

Duke men’s basketball is back in the Elite Eight after outlasting a physical Houston with a 54-51 win in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Friday night. 

Houston’s top-ranked defense kept Duke at bay in the first half, but the Cougars suffered a tough blow when All-American guard Jamal Shead went down with an apparent foot injury while driving towards the basket with just a little over six minutes left in the half. 

After remaining on the ground visibly in pain, Shead was helped up and eventually walked back to the locker room. 

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According to reports, his X-rays came back negative, and he was diagnosed with a severely sprained right ankle. He would remain on the sidelines for the rest of the game. 

But without Shead, Duke managed to pull away in the second half. 

Kyle Filipowski had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the charge, but Jeremy Roach’s 14 second-half points kept the momentum going. 

“I’m really proud of these guys and really proud of the game tonight – that was a big time college basketball game,” Duke head coach Jon Scheyer said after the game. 

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Scheyer went on to compliment Houston’s fortitude despite the loss of Shead, and made a point to silence any criticisms about Duke’s own toughness after a loss to Tennessee in the second round last year. 

“Look, we started four freshmen last year,” he began, “I think for us, some of the criticism about toughness or whatever – try being at Duke as a freshman or sophomore and battling your ass off in the tournament, and then talk to me about being tough.” 

Duke now moves on to face Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina State for a spot in the Final Four.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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