Duke Basketball: Grayson Allen's last-gasp prayer brings down Virginia
DURHAM, N.C. -- Playing for his dream school, Grayson Allen lived a dreamy moment Saturday.
Just like in his driveway as a kid, the clock ticked down and the Duke sophomore guard dribbled the ball looking for the game-winning shot.
In real life, with the Blue Devils down a point, Allen drove, leaped from the side of the lane, banged into Virginia's Marial Shayok and, as his foot hit the ground, threw the ball toward the basket.
When the ball banked off the glass as the buzzer sounded and bounced through the net, Duke had topped No. 7 Virginia 63-62 in a scintillating ACC basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Allen punched the air in celebration before being mobbed by his teammates, who formed a dogpile in front of the scorer's table not seen around Duke since the Blue Devils did the same in Indianapolis after winning the NCAA championship last April.
Duke (19-6, 8-4 in ACC) hasn't looked like a championship team this season as it played Saturday as an unranked team.
But Allen's shot -- after he was fouled in Duke's opinion, after he traveled from Virginia's point of view -- personified the team's growing toughness as it pushed Duke's winning streak to four in a row.
Grayson Allen. At. The. Buzzer.— ESPN (@espn) February 13, 2016
Duke defeated No. 7 Virginia 63-62 with this final play: https://t.co/cZo0qRZ2Hs
"That's a big-time play, wow a big-time play," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "For these kids to be 8-4, it's just, great. I love my guys. See, you guys don't enjoy them as much as I do because you are trying to make them like another Duke team. You should just enjoy them as this Duke team, like I am and you'll see a lot of really neat things."
This win qualifies as a neat thing and it becomes even greater considering it came on Krzyzewski's 69th birthday.
Duke needed Allen's heroics after it, first, erased an 11-point Virginia first-half lead to lead the Cavaliers by as many as seven in the second half. Virginia then climbed back and the teams were tied four times over the game's final eight minutes.
Allen had a chance to make things comfortable for Duke but, with the Blue Devils up 61-60, he missed two free throws with 27 seconds to play.
Virginia worked the ball around before Shayok fired a pass under the basket to Malcolm Brogdon, whose reverse layup gave the Cavaliers a 62-61 lead with 9.9 seconds to play.
Duke hurried the ball into the front court and called a timeout with six seconds to play.
Then came something magical.
"It really is hard to describe," said Allen, who scored 15 points. "When coach drew up the play, I knew it was coming to me. I really, really wanted to go make a play. So I did. Once I made the shot I was just kind of releasing all my excitement and a yell and I felt 10-15 guys just come and jump on me and tackle me. I was on the bottom of the pile up, probably hurting in some spots but I couldn't feel it."
On day when all of Duke's points came from its starting five, the Blue Devils needed more than just Allen's heroics.
Brandon Ingram led Duke with 25 points -- highlighted by a stretch where he scored 18 consecutive Duke points over the end of the first half and during the opening minutes of the second half.
"We had a hard time with Ingram when he got going," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "Then we adjusted and did some things with that, too."
Ingram made eight consecutive shots during his 18-point outburst helping Duke erase an 11-point Virginia lead.
After Virginia led 34-31 at halftime, Ingram's 3-pointer at 17:33 gave Duke a 39-38 lead.
Virginia went back in front 44-41 when Shayock scored inside after a drive.
But the Cavaliers then went cold on offense, going nearly five minutes without a point,
GameCenter: Virginia vs. Duke
Duke scored the next 10 points. Notably, none of them came from Ingram thanks to a defensive adjustment by Bennett.
Matt Jones started the onslaught with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Allen drove to hit a bank shot and, on Duke's next possession, he passed to Marshall Plumlee for a two-handed dunk.
Jones hit another 3-pointer, this one in transition from the right corner, to put Duke up 51-44 with 12:18 remaining.
That basket, though, would be Duke's last points for nearly four minutes as the Blue Devils went six consecutive possessions without scoring. That included misses on one-and-bonus free throw situations by Ingram and Allen.
Virginia cut Duke's lead to 51-49 on a Malcolm Brogdon basket and free throw.
After Allen hit two free throws for Duke, Virginia scored the next four points on driving bank shots. London Perrantes was first first, followed by Brogdon at 7:44 to tie the game at 53.
From there, there were three more ties and, in the game's final 10 seconds, two memorable lead changes.
In the end, the Blue Devils had their second win over a top-25 team in six days. This after they had gone all season without one.
But this Duke team, after its struggles while losing four games during a five-game stretch last month, is starting to create cherished memories of its own.
This article was written by Steve Wiseman from The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.