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December 4, 2005Sean Dockery's 40 footer at the buzzer saved Duke from defeat in the ACC opener against Virginia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday night, as the Devils escaped with a 77-75 win.
Duke lost an 11 point lead in the final four minutes as the Hokies went on a 12-0 run to forge ahead 75-74 with 1.6 seconds remaining on a Coleman Collins tip-in basket of a Zabian Dowdell miss.
Despite getting 21 points from Shelden Williams and 18 from J.J. Redick, it was Dockery that pushed Duke to victory tonight.
He had 19 points and four steals in the victory, but the final shot will be what fans remember about this night.
Mike Krzyzewski drew up a play with Josh McRoberts inbounding the ball, and Coach K said after the game that the original plan was to try to get the ball to Williams around the paint.
However, the Hokies sunk back on defense, leaving Dockery all alone just across halfcourt. Standing in solitude there, he had time to catch McRoberts' pass, take a dribble to set his feet and launch the shot.
In a matchup of teams that split their two matchups last season, emotions and intensity were running high all night long.
Collins played a superb game in the paint, scoring 25 points while playing all 40 minutes of the contest. He also pulled down four offensive rebounds, helping the Hokies outrebound the Devils 34-30.
Duke's Williams countered Coleman well, as the senior came very near to a 20 point, 20 rebound performance. Though he had to settle for 21 points and 19 rebounds, his ability to stay out of foul trouble helped save Duke on a night when Redick wasn't his normal self.
Redick was held to just 6-19 shooting from the floor and hit 2-of-8 from three point range. Virginia Tech rotated defenders on Redick to keep fresh legs on the floor against him.
Normally, Duke fans are concerned about Williams staying out of foul trouble, but Redick picked up three fouls in the first half, forcing him to the bench at the 5:05 mark when he picked up a technical foul for his third foul of the game.
Virginia Tech's AD Vassallo bumped Redick in the halfcourt and the Duke senior fell to the floor. Redick bounced up and confronted Vassallo and both players were hit with technicals.
The Devils trailed by one at halftime in what was quickly becoming the most frenzied crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.
Neither team mustered more than a four point lead in the first 8:30 of the second half and the game was deadlocked at 52-52 when Redick finally canned a three point basket.
That shot triggered a perimeter burst from the Devils as Redick hit another, Lee Melchionni connected from deep, and Dockery made the third of his four second half three pointers to help Duke extend their lead to 74-63.
The Hokies wouldn't die though, as they locked the Devils down defensively in the final four minutes and clawed their way back into the game.
Perhaps the biggest play of the stretch came as Duke clung to a 74-72 lead and Dockery knocked the ball free toward halfcourt from Virginia Tech's Jamon Gordon.
The two players dove after the loose ball and Dockery was whistled for a foul, putting Gordon at the line to potentially tie the game.
He made the first but missed the second, and Williams was sent to the line for Duke after pulling in the rebound.
Williams missed the front end of the one-and-one, setting the stage for Dowdell's drive and Coleman's tip in.
Continuing a pattern having been established already this year by Redick and Williams, a Duke senior just refused to let the Devils lose.
Tonight, that senior was Sean Dockery.