BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Beach's Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate School) scored Virginia Tech's final six points - including a game-winning basket with four seconds to play, in a 64-63 Hokies upset victory vs. No. 5 Duke Monday.
With the win, Virginia Tech (21-and-9, 10-and-7 ACC) likely secures its second straight NCAA tournament berth. For the game, Clarke scored eight points - none until the 6:25 mark of the second half.
"I knew when I came in, I needed to be the most energetic on the floor, because I was definitely going to bring energy," Clarke said. "I was definitely trying to get in position for an offensive rebound. I saw Nickeil [Alexander-Walker] missed it long, and I just put it back in."
For the second straight season, Tech takes down the Blue Devils. Duke fell to 24-and-6, 12-and-5 in the ACC.
“I mean this respectively, and they should have the following they have, but in the three times we’ve played Duke since I’ve been here in Blacksburg, with each passing game, there’s less and less of a percentage of Duke fans in attendance,” Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. “That speaks to the fact that there has been a groundswell of our group and how we’re trying to do it. There’s been a lot of good things that have happened this year that I’m very thankful for.
Clarke's resounding dunk cut the Duke lead to 63-60 with 1:24 left. Duke’s Grayson Allen turned the ball over on the Blue Devils’ next possession, and Clarke then scored again, receiving a nice pass from Justin Robinson for a layup with a minute to go to cut the Duke lead to 63-62.
Duke turned the ball over again with 33 seconds remaining, but Clarke missed a layup that would have given the Hokies the lead. Forced to foul, the Hokies put Trevon Duval on the free-throw line, and Duval missed the front end of a one-and-one.
That set up Tech’s final possession. Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed a short jumper with 6 seconds left, but Clarke got the rebound and laid it in to give the Hokies their only lead of the second half. Duke pushed the ball down the court, but Allen’s 3-pointer didn’t hit the iron. Wendell Carter Jr. got the rebound, but time expired before he laid it in, setting off a wild celebration in which Tech fans stormed the court.
“I thought we played with great poise,” Williams said. “It’s kind of a clip tape that we show our guys randomly throughout the year, not of us, but of other teams. It’s never the first shot. It’s always the second shot. Obviously, that came true with Chris’ put-back.”
Allen paced Duke with 22 points. The Hokies held the Blue Devils to just 40.7 percent shooting and forced 18 Duke turnovers.