Virginia Tech
Duke
69 - 67 Final - OT
  for this game

Washington helps Virginia Tech earn revenge vs. Duke

Jan 7, 2007 - 12:40 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Deron Washington made sure that Virginia Tech would not get stung by another last-second miracle by Duke.

Washington hit a pair of free throws in overtime and blocked the last-ditch attempt by Greg Paulus as Virginia Tech exacted some revenge with a 69-67 upset of fifth-ranked Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.

One of the five returning starters from last season's team, Washington witnessed the Hokies' bid to upset the Blue Devils here last season end in heartbreaking fashion as Sean Dockery sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from half-court for a 77-75 victory.

"It'll never erase last year," Virginia Tech senior guard Jamon Gordon said. "I'm always going to see that shot before I see anything from this game. But it's certainly good payback."

Virginia Tech (11-4, 1-0 ACC) once again had to deal with another late 3-pointer by Duke, as DeMarcus Nelson tied the score at 64-64 with 18 seconds left in regulation.

"DeMarcus hit a huge shot for us to give us an opportunity to go into overtime and that kind of saved us," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They were better than we were in the last couple minutes of regulation."

Zabian Dowdell, another one of the Hokies' returning five, was unable to answer as his jumper from the right wing in the closing seconds fell short, leading to overtime.

"I told the guys going into overtime that it doesn't get any better than this," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. "This is fun. This is what it's all about. This is the time you've got to step up and get a stop and execute, and that's what we did."

In the extra session, Josh McRoberts scored quickly inside for the Blue Devils, but Washington tied the score at 66-66 on two free throws with 4:28 remaining.

"In the overtime, it was back and forth," Krzyzewski said.

After Duke went back ahead on a free throw by McRoberts, Gordon and A.D. Vassallo both made 1-of-2 free throws in the final minute to put Virginia Tech ahead, 69-67, with nine seconds left.

Unsure of how to attack for the final shot, the Blue Devils' Paulus took a pass off the side of his head from McRoberts before recovering to race up the left sideline to take the final shot. However, the 6-7 Washington tracked the Duke point guard from half-court on, getting a hand on the final heave and grabbing the ball near the left corner as time ran out.

"I just tried to get a hand up and I was lucky I got the block," Washington said. "We were switching everything on defense. McRoberts screened Zabian, so I switched off. I waited for him (Paulus) to leave his feet and then I jumped."

Krzyzewski, who absorbed his first setback in 11 ACC openers, was very critical of his team's final possession.

"I don't know if you coach anybody to do that," he said. "You have to know time and score. If you're down by three, you're going to take a three, if you're down by two you should drive it to the basket. We didn't do that. You have to drive hoping you get two points and we didn't do that."

Washington finished with 11 points and eight rebounds and Dowdell scored 20 for the Hokies, who beat the Blue Devils for just the seventh time in 39 all-time meetings.

Gordon scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and helped lead a Virginia Tech attack that shot 43 percent (26-of-60) from the field and committed just seven turnovers.

In contrast, Duke finished with a season-high 22 turnovers that Virginia Tech turned into 20 points.

"The key to the ballgame really is the differential in turnovers," Krzyzewski said. "We were fortunate to be in a position where we might win and I think a lot of that had to do with our defense."

"We didn't deserve to win," McRoberts said. "We played the worst we could've played." Nelson scored 22 points and McRoberts added 16 and 10 boards for Duke (13-2, 0-1), which had a nine-game winning streak snapped.

McRoberts also had six turnovers along with fellow sophomore and point guard Paulus, who finished 0-of-3 from the field in going scoreless for the first time in 23 games dating back to last season.