AARON BARD The Associated Press

GREENVILLE, SC – Mike Krzyzewski’s emotions began to flow in the few seconds left on his watch when he was finally confident that Duke would extend his last NCAA tournament.

He turned to the section where his family was sitting behind him, and held out both hands to show them the way in celebration. He swapped fives and hugs with his players and then shared long post-game hugs in the middle of the court with Tom Iso of Michigan after defeating his friend in the bitter final fight of coaches from the Hall of Fame.

Krzyzewski’s resignation will be postponed for at least a few more days. The Blue Devils survived a tense finish, beating the Spartans 85-76 on Sunday, earning another trip to Sweet 16 and giving their coach his latest milestones.

Lagging behind by five about a 5-minute mark and a season in jeopardy, the Blue Devils (30-6) responded with one big hit after another, a steady game amid unusual pressure.

It was almost too much for Krzyzewski, who had a hard time finding the right words to start his post-game press conference.

MJ Hogard of Michigan (11) shoots Mark Williams of Duke (15) during the first half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Greenville, Karlovy Vary (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson )
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski hugs Michigan head coach Tom Iza after Duke’s victory in college basketball in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Greenville, SC (AP Photo / Chris Carlson)

“You guys were wonderful, man,” Krzyzewski told the players sitting next to him, his voice trembling with emotion. “I am – I am very proud to have become your coach.

“It had nothing to do with coaching in the last four to five minutes. It was all about heart and cohesion. They followed their hearts and God bless them – we are in Sweet 16 ”.

Star freshman Paolo Banchera scored 19 points and scored muscle in the gate ahead with 2:05 left, bringing the Blue Devils ahead to stay in a record 1200th victory in Krzyzewski’s career. Duke reached Sweet 16 for the 26th time under coach K., who announced last summer that his 42nd season in the Blue Devils would be his last.

These coaching milestones were against his longtime friend and frequent opponent. The 75-year-old Krzyzewski, who has five NCAA titles and 12 games in the final four, has improved to 13-3 against the 67-year-old Iso, who won the national championship in 2000 and reached eight final four.

Krzyzewski will continue his attempt to end his championship career when the second seeded “Blue Devils” head to San Francisco for the third seeded Texas Tech on Thursday in the Western Region semifinals.

The “Blue Devils” sketched 61% after the break and 57% in the game, and they needed every piece of that output to survive against the Spartans, who are seeded seventh (23-13) in an exciting fight until the last minute.

“This is the NCAA Tournament, our season in every game,” Banchero said. “That’s really all there is to say. … We said, “We have four minutes: we can either lie down or increase.”

Banchera, 6 feet tall and 10 years old, had the biggest basket, putting the ball on the floor and scoring in the drive against the smaller Joey Hauser, leading 75-74. Jeremy Roach then scored a three-pointer to replay an hour of throwing and brought forward four points with a score of 1:16, sending the already charged crowd into a full roar.

“I think they showed the truest colors,” Itzo said.

“The average team without a big soul could just swim in the sunset. And I thought they stretched down like Mike Krzyzewski, and did an incredible job, like getting us to do it. We just didn’t have enough. “

Even more impressive is that Duke did it all with freshman AG Griffin, who hit back the last 8:24 with an obvious left ankle injury. The Blue Devils ended the game by beating the Spartans 20-6.

Gabe Brown scored 18 points to become the leader of Michigan, while Tyson Walker scored all 13 points after the break. The Spartans threw 42% into the game and had only one goal from the game in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the possession struggle when Duke made his move.

“I want to be proud, but at the same time I’m angry that we’re not playing another night,” said Spartans, a big man Marcus Bingham Jr., who scored 16 points and 10 rebounds. “I think the guys came out and played tough from the first half to the second. We fought. Just some situations, we just could not stand.

The big picture

Michigan: Izo, who won the NCAA title in 2000 and has eight finals four in 27 seasons, has acknowledged all the “amazing emotions” that are sure to come to both teams in this game. His team gave themselves a chance, but failed to slow down the late Blue Devils push. Itzo came in 2-4 against Krzyzewski in the NCAA tournament.

“I’ll always pull for Mike,” Itzo said. “I think he did some things that will go down in basketball history. You can remember this game in different ways. My way of remembering it will not be so pleasant, but it will be respectful. “

Duke: Banchero, the NBA’s top prospect, and 7-foot Mark Williams (15 points, eight rebounds, five blocks) defeated the Spartans – who themselves are of great length – and demonstrated just how good the Blue Devils can be ahead of the court. Duke was balanced with five double-digit scorers, including Wendel Moore Jr. (15 points), Roach (15) and Trevor Kils (12) – all of whom scored key hits late.

“I knew as soon as we walked in the door,” Moore said, “there was no looking back.”

NEXT

The Blue Devils are meeting with the Red Raiders, who have KenPom № 1 protection in the rankings, giving away 84.6 points per 100 possessions this year.

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