The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament haven’t been as exciting as they usually are. No buzzer-beaters, lots of blowouts, and few big upsets will make that happen. Finally, March Madness gave us a thriller on Sunday evening. In a game that came down to the final second, top-seeded Duke held off No. 9 UCF, 77-76, Sunday in Round of 32 actions in the NCAA Tournament. Duke’s megastar Zion Williamson finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds. RJ Barrett chipped in 16 points, including the game-winner, for the Blue Devils.
Tacko Fall, UCF’s 7-foot-6-inch center, tallied 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks in the losing effort.
Duke was trailing by three with 14 seconds left when Williamson was fouled while finishing a layup. He could have tied the score but missed the ensuing foul shot. Barrett, however, corralled the rebound and converted a layup of his own, which gave his team a one-point advantage.
The Knights had the final possession and B.J. Taylor created a good look for the potential game-winner. His shot, however, rolled out and Aubrey Dawkins’ putback attempt also bounced off the rim and out, sealing Duke’s win.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
“These kids, my guys hung in there,” Krzyzewski told reporters. “They hung in there because just the momentum of the tournament, what’s going on, you could be defeated right there. And instead, they hung in there.
College basketball has its first rockstar in 15 years thanks to Williamson. If Duke would have lost to UCF, it would have ruined 99% of people’s brackets and it would have taken away the single best college basketball in a generation. For now, the NCAA is enjoying some of it’s best ratings in 20 plus years. Don’t kid yourself, the Williamson is the reason for those ratings boost, so the longer Duke is in the tournament, the better business it is for the NCAA.