'It can't get any closer than that:' Duke barely survives against UCF to avoid the biggest upset of March Madness

  • The No. 1 Duke Blue Devils defeated No. 9 UCF to advance to the Sweet 16 on Sunday.
  • The game came down to the wire, with freshmen superstars Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett playing hero for the Blue Devils with huge baskets in the final seconds.
  • Duke got two lucky bounces in the final moments, as the UCF Knights’ two final, go-ahead shots rolled off the rim and out as time expired.

March is officially mad.

On Sunday the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils barely survived against No. 9 UCF to reach the Sweet 16, winning a hotly contested game 77-76.

The win came thanks to a heroic effort from Duke superstar Zion Williamson. Williamson is widely projected to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, and proved himself worthy of the distinction on Sunday night, leading the Blue Devils with a whopping 32 points and 11 rebounds, including the biggest bucket of the game.

With the Blue Devils down 76-73, Williamson drove to the basket, sinking a layup and drawing the fifth and final foul on UCF big man Tacko Fall.

Williamson would miss the ensuing foul shot, but fellow future lottery pick RJ Barrett would pick up the offensive rebound and put in the go-ahead basket for Duke, giving the Blue Devils the lead with just 11 seconds left.

UCF had a chance to win in the final seconds.

B.J. Taylor drove right and pulled up for a jumper that looked hopeful, but bounced out. Aubrey Dawkins’ tip-in attempt came desperately close to putting the Knights through, but refused to fall.

“Duke survives, just barely!” CBS’s announcing team said as the final buzzer sounded. “It can’t get any closer than that!”

UCF came this close to the biggest upset of March Madness:

With the win, Duke advances to the Sweet 16 and keeps their hope of a national championship alive.

  • More March Madness 2019:

5 wild endings that swung millions for bettors on the first day of March Madness

CBS hired a special cameraman to work the ‘Zion Cam’ and record every move the Duke star makes in his NCAA tournament run

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo came under fire after he needed to be restrained while berating one of his players

The draft stock of a top NBA prospect is soaring after he shredded an opponent in one of the biggest upsets of March Madness so far

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