Duke survived a tense finish against Michigan State and extended Mike Krzyzewski’s final NCAA Tournament run, beating Tom Izzo’s Spartans 85-76 on Sunday in the Hall of Fame coaches’ bittersweet last tussle.
Star freshman Paolo Banchero scored 19 points and muscled in the go-ahead drive through contact with 2:05 left, putting the Blue Devils (30-6) ahead to stay in the record-extending 1,200th win of Krzyzewski’s career. Duke reached the Sweet 16 for the 26th time under Coach K, who announced last summer that his 42nd season with the Blue Devils would be his last.
Those coaching milestones came against his longtime friend and frequent rival. The 75-year-old Krzyzewski — who has five NCAA titles and a record-tying 12 Final Four appearances — improved to 13-3 against the 67-year-old Izzo, who won the 2000 national championship and has reached eight Final Fours.
Krzyzewski will continue his push for a career-capping championship when the second-seeded Blue Devils head to San Francisco to play Texas Tech next week in the West Region semifinals.
The Blue Devils shot 61% after halftime and 57% for the game, and they needed every bit of that production to survive against the seventh-seeded Spartans (23-13) in a riveting fight to the final minute. Gabe Brown scored 18 points to lead Michigan State.