Texas-Duke: Gerald Henderson, Blue Devils Hold Off Late Longhorn Surge

Dino NicandrosAnalyst IMarch 22, 2009

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 21:  Gerald Henderson #15 of the Duke Blue Devils battles for a rebound against Damion James #5 and Varez Ward #50 of the Texas Longhorns during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 21, 2009 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's been that kind of year for the Texas Longhorns.

Down 71-69 late in the game, Damion James launched a three from the right corner, only to watch it bounce in and out of the net.

Texas would have another opportunity.  Down 72-69, Blue Devil freshman Elliot Williams missed his second rebound after missing the first, but the Longhorns failed to grab the loose ball, handing the Devils the win.

Though Rick Barnes' squad squandered multiple chances to win it at the end, the Longhorns didn't do themselves any favors throughout the game, turning the ball over 15 times and missing nine free throws.

The Blue Devils were able to capitalize off Texas miscues in the first half to take a seven point lead into the break.  The Longhorns did a decent job defensively, holding ace jump shooter Kyle Singler to just five points in the first 20 minutes of play.

They wouldn't be able to hold him down.  Singler scored 12 in the second half, including a key offensive putback late in the game. 

Not to be outdone by his teammate, Gerald Henderson took over the game, scoring 24 points and pulling in six rebounds.  He too was cold in the first half, only to heat up in the second.

Things began to deteriorate for the Blue Devils down the stretch as both Singler and Lance Thomas fouled out.  Longhorn freshman Varez Ward would proceed to attack the rim, scoring six straight for the Longhorns and bringing them even at 67.  Ward would finish with a season high 16 points. 

Texas wouldn't come any closer.

As a team, the Blue Devils made 7 of 14 three point attempts while the Longhorns managed only 3 of 12, two coming from A.J. Abrams.  The Texas star scored 17 points, but was essentially shut down in the second half.

Texas came in to the game hoping to exploit Duke's weak inside play and for the most part the Longhorns were successful.

Dexter Pittman scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds before having to sit early in the second half due to foul trouble.  Damion James had yet another double double, scoring 15 and grabbing 10 boards.

Despite out-shooting the Devils 50% to 42% and out-rebounding them 35-31, the turnovers and missed free throws killed Texas in the end.  The overall pace of the game favored Duke as well, as the Blue Devils were able to set up many open looks from three point range.

With the win, Duke advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time in three seasons.  Mike Krzyzewski's club also improved to 12-0 in tournament games played in Greensboro. 

The Blue Devils will take on a Villanova team fresh off a massacre of a young UCLA team, 89-69.