When Duke and Virginia Tech played in Durham earlier this month, the Hokies never had a shot.
The Blue Devils dominated from start to finish and ended up beating the Hokies 74-52. But Virginia Tech was having none of that in Blacksburg on Monday.
Duke, which had won five consecutive games and was playing some of its best basketball, struggled offensively and defensively at times during the game. And Virginia Tech just played hard.
Whenever the fifth-ranked Blue Devils went on a run, the Hokies answered back.
Duke (24-6, 12-5 ACC) led by nine points with five minutes left, but Virginia Tech ended the game on a 13-3 run to win 64-63. Virginia Tech junior wing Chris Clarke tipped in a miss with four seconds left in the game to give the Hokies the victory.
“They worked hard,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Virginia Tech. “They are a good basketball team, and they’ve got winners on their team. They stuck in there and they made a big play at the end.”
Senior guard Grayson Allen led Duke with 22 points, but also had six costly turnovers.
In his second game back from a mild knee sprain, freshman forward Marvin Bagley III struggled most of the game. He finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Duke led by as many as 15 points early in the first half, after going on a 10-0 run. But with nine minutes left in the first half, the Blue Devils went cold, and did not take care of the basketball.
Duke went scoreless for a six-minute stretch, missing six consecutive shots and turning the ball over five times. That gave Virginia Tech an opportunity to go on an 11-0 run, which closed Duke’s lead to 29-25 with about three minutes left.
Duke finally made a shot, but went 2-for-8 over the final three minutes of the half. At halftime, the Blue Devils led 33-27.
Duke went on a small run to start the second half. But again, Virginia Tech answered back. Junior guard Justin Robinson helped lead the Hokies’ run. He cut Duke’s lead to one point with a little more than 11 minutes to go, after he was fouled while scoring on a layup. He finished with 11 points.
But Allen and Duke freshman Alex O’Connell both hit three-pointers and Bagley hit a layup to put Duke back up nine points with about seven minutes left in the game.
The Hokies again cut the lead to one point with one minute remaining after a turnover by Duke.
On Duke’s very next possession, it turned the ball over again, and Virginia Tech’s Chris Clarke had a fast break layup, but Duke bothered the Hokies enough for him to miss it.
Duke freshman Trevon Duval was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one that would have put Duke up by at least two points. Duke and Virginia Tech battled for the ball, but Duke tipped it out with 23 seconds left in the game.
Virginia Tech had one final possession to win it.
Virginia Tech air balled its shot and Clarke tipped it in with four seconds left. Allen had one final shot at the buzzer but missed it.
“I thought it could have gone in,” Allen said.