SAN FRANCISCO — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski moved within one win of his record-setting 13th trip to the Final Four in his farewell season thanks to two late baskets by Jeremy Roach that helped seal the Blue Devils’ 78-73 win over Texas Tech on Thursday night.
Roach’s two shots were part of a 7-0 run as the steady sophomore came through in the clutch for a second straight game to send second-seeded Duke (31-6) into an Elite Eight matchup against fourth-seeded Arkansas.
Paolo Banchero led Duke with 22 points, Mark Williams scored 16 and Roach added 15 as the Blue Devils held off third-seeded Texas Tech (27-10) and gave Coach K his record 100th NCAA Tournament victory.
As compelling as the action on the court was in this taut West Region semifinal, the story of this Blue Devils run has surrounded the farewell tour of their Hall of Fame coach.
Krzyzewski announced last June he would retire after this season. After missing the tournament last year, Duke was back with a roster filled with NBA prospects and capable of delivering Krzyzewski his sixth career title.
Duke played from behind for much of the first half but was much sharper offensively in the second half. Williams got free for three easy baskets early in the half to get the Blue Devils rolling.
Then the vocal Duke contingent on hand for the first NCAA Tournament games in San Francisco since 1939 made its presence known midway through the half when A.J. Griffin tied the game at 47 with his third 3-pointer of the game and Banchero followed with a jumper that gave Duke the lead.
But a Red Raiders team featuring four super seniors and five players with more than 120 career games didn’t go away and the game stayed tight.
Kevin McCullar and Banchero traded 3s with Banchero’s long-range shot putting Duke up 69-68 with less than three minutes to play.
The Blue Devils then pulled away thanks to pair of clutch jumpers by Roach. Bryson Williams had a shot blocked by Mark Williams, committed a turnover and shot an airball.
Griffin’s two free throws with 12.9 seconds to play gave Duke a 77-73 lead. Adonis Arms then missed a 3-pointer and Krzyzewski gave an emphatic fist pump after his record 100th NCAA Tournament win.
Bryson Williams scored 21 points to lead Texas Tech and McCullar added 17. Kevin Obanor had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double in six career tournament games.
Duke will play Arkansas on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four. The only previous tournament meeting between the schools came in the 1994 title game that Arkansas won 76-72.