Duke Texas Tech game: NCAA tournament Sweet 16, West Region

Mike Krzyzewski is in the Sweet 16 for the 26th time as Duke’s head coach.

Tonight at the Chase Center, the Blue Devils coach of 42 years will try to lead Duke to a win in a West Coast regional semifinal for the first time in his career. The No. 2 seed in the region, the Blue Devils face No. 3 seed Texas Tech for a chance to advance to Saturday’s Elite Eight game against No. 4 seed Arkansas.

The New and Observer’s Steve Wiseman, Luke DeCock and Andrew Carter are on site for the game and will have live observations from the scene at the arena.

They’ve gone to … zone?

Not known for employing — or enjoying — zone defense, Mike Krzyzewski shifted his players into a zone after the first media timeout of the second half, hoping to slow down the Texas Tech offense while the Blue Devils continued their offensive run.

It appears to have, at least briefly, worked. The Devils’ hot shooting continued and the Raiders went empty on their next possession.

Duke reeled of a 9-1 run to take its first second-half lead at 49-47.

Red Raiders weren’t expecting it, logical as Duke has only played zone 4% of the time this season. But it’s in the toolbox.

Frenetic pace to start the second half

Duke is hitting its shots early and the Blue Devils are getting to the rim, and getting the ball to fall. The only problem? They’re not doing anything to stop Texas Tech at the other end. The teams have ripped off 24 points combined in the first five or so minutes of the second half. Texas Tech is 6 of 9 this half, Duke is 5 of 7. Red Raiders up 46-40 with 14:59 to play. Duke’s found gold with Williams getting behind defense for lob passes.

After a recent Texas Tech basket, Blue Devils assistant Jon Scheyer rolled his eyes after what looked like a fortunate bounce for the Red Raiders. Duke so far in the second half reverting back to its late-season defense … which isn’t good news for Krzyzewski’s hope of extending his career.

Halftime update

Texas Tech led the majority of the first half and took a 33-29 lead to intermission.

Texas Tech hit Duke hard in the game’s first five minutes as the Blue Devils committed three turnovers and started 1 of 5 from the field to trail 10-2.

But with the Red Raiders leading 12-4, the Blue Devils settled down to work their half-court offense far better. An 8-0 Duke run forced the first of five first-half ties.

Jeremy Roach gave Duke its first lead of the game, at 24-22, on a jumper in the lane with 7:47 to play. But Kevin Obanor drilled his second 3-pointer of the game to put Texas Tech back in front 25-24 and the Red Raiders held the lead the remainder of the half.

Obanor’s basket in the lane with 1:12 left in the half gave the Red Raiders a 33-26 lead before Paolo Banchero drove to dunk while drawing a foul with 12.6 seconds left. His free throw cut Duke’s halftime deficit to 33-29.

The scoring output was Duke’s second-lowest of any first half this season. The Blue Devils shot just 36.7% overall, including a frigid 3 of 11 (27.3%) on 3-pointers. Banchero scored 11 points for Duke.

Down at the half

Duke faced its fifth halftime deficit on the season, down 33-29 to Texas Tech. The Blue Devils were 2-2 in the previous four — twice against Virginia Tech (a win at home, a loss in Brooklyn), against Virginia (loss) and against Syracuse in Brooklyn (win).

Familiar faces on the whistle

Gerry Pollard (Big 12), Lamar Simpson (Big East) and Bert Smith (ACC) are the officials for tonight’s game. Smith saw Duke five times and Texas Tech three times during the season. Pollard had Texas Tech five times. Simpson had Duke once.

Based on the officials assigned to the regional, as reported by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, that leaves Ron Groover (ACC), Joe Lindsey (SEC) and Larry Scirotto (Big Ten) for Saturday’s regional final.

Coach K makes a call

When Jeremy Roach plowed into Smith along the sideline midway through the first half, Krzyzewski stepped up and made the “block” officiating signal. Smith, as he rose to his feet, laughed and then exchanged a fist-bump with the Duke coach.

Duke sticks with Greenville starters

A.J. Griffin remained in the starting lineup after spraining his left ankle in Sunday’s win over Michigan State in Greenville, S.C. So did Jeremy Roach, who took Trevor Keels’ spot in the lineup in the first-round win over Cal State Fullerton.

Pregame reading

This story was originally published March 24, 2022 9:26 PM.

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