Who can forget Sean Dockery’s biggest shot as a Duke Blue Devil? Remember when Virginia Tech’s Deron Washington jumped over Duke’s Greg Paulus? The Cameron Crazies also got to know former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg well during his tenure. Some of the Hokies’ best wins in their ACC tenure have come against the Blue Devils.
While not competitive enough overall to be considered a rivalry, some of Duke’s basketball games against Virginia Tech have been memorable since the Hokies joined the ACC for the 2004-05 season.
The Blue Devils own a 16-4 advantage over the Hokies in the head-to-head series over the past 13 seasons. Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-5 ACC) plays at Duke (20-5, 8-4) on Wednesday night.
Here are some of the highlights from the series:
Dowdell for the win
Duke welcomed Virginia Tech to the ACC with a 100-65 home blowout on Jan. 30, 2005. Blue Devils junior forward Shelden Williams and junior guard J.J. Redick dominated the Hokies so much that Greenberg got ejected late in the game. Few gave the Hokies much of a chance when the Blue Devils traveled 18 days later to Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
But the Hokies kept it close and took a two-point lead on sophomore guard Jamon Gordon’s putback with 32 seconds left. Redick then hit a 3-point shot with 23 seconds left for a 65-64 lead. Sophomore guard Zabian Dowdell hit one of the biggest shots in Virginia Tech history to that point, nailing a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
The Blue Devils got an open look from senior guard Daniel Ewing, but the shot bounced off the rim, and the court was stormed by happy Hokies.
Dockery stuns Hokies
In an early ACC opener, Duke hosted Virginia Tech on Dec. 4, 2005. While the top-ranked Blue Devils had Final Four hopes with Williams and Redick returning, the Hokies were trying to build on a successful first season in the ACC.
The Hokies gave the Blue Devils all they could handle, taking a 75-74 lead with 1.6 seconds left in the game on a tip-in by junior center Coleman Collins.
After a timeout, Duke senior guard Dockery took a pass from freshman forward Josh McRoberts, dribbled once and launched a running, 40-foot shot just inside the half-court line that rattled the rim and fell through, sending the Cameron Crazies into a court-rushing frenzy and the dejected Hokies on the way to a disappointing season.
Washington hurdles Paulus
Virginia Tech got revenge in its next appearance in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 6, 2007, but the game featured an athletic play that many still remember.
The eventual NCAA tournament-bound Hokies were clinging to a one-point lead with about three minutes remaining when junior forward Washington received a pass on the right side of the lane on a fast break. He took the pass and leaped completely over Duke sophomore guard Paulus and banked in a layup, giving the Hokies a 62-59 lead en route to a 69-67 overtime win.
Later, Washington blocked a potential game-winning 3-point shot by Paulus.
Greenberg gets ‘big’ win
On Feb. 26, 2011, the No. 1 Blue Devils invaded Blacksburg again having won the past four games against the Hokies, who were trying to get a substantial win to help their NCAA tournament chances.
Thanks to 18 points by senior guard Nolan Smith, the Blue Devils had a five-point lead with 5:20 remaining. The Hokies would then score nine consecutive points and play good defense at the end to preserve the win with ESPN’s College Gameday in attendance.
“It was everything it was made out to be,” said Smith, who scored 18 points. “You saw it in their emotion after the game. They’re going to make the tournament now. That’s what everybody was saying coming into the game. This was their chance to put a stamp on making the NCAA tournament. And they did it.”
Alas, it wasn’t enough. Greenberg and the bubble-busting Hokies were left out of the tournament.
Sam Newkirk: 919-829-4526, @samnewkirk64