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Chris Clarke's Tip-In Propels Virginia Tech to Upset Win vs. Duke, Marvin Bagley

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2018

BLACKSBURG, VA - FEBRUARY 26: Chris Clarke #15 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates after dunking against the Duke Blue Devils in the second half at Cassell Coliseum on February 26, 2018 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images)
Lauren Rakes/Getty Images

Virginia Tech continues to be a giant killer this season, earning a 64-63 win over No. 5 Duke Monday.

Down 63-58 with two minutes, eight seconds remaining, Hokies forward Chris Clarke scored the final six points of the game, including a tip-in with 4.1 seconds remaining, to give the home team the victory.

ESPN @espn

Down goes No. 5 Duke! Virginia Tech has now won three straight games vs AP Top-5 opponents for the first time since 2006-07. https://t.co/dgI4vKmo40

Grayson Allen had one final shot to win it for the Blue Devils, but it fell short at the buzzer. The senior finished with a game-high 22 points but shot just 6-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-15 from three-point range.

Duke had built up a 33-27 lead at halftime and was up as many as nine points in the second half. A pair of Marvin Bagley III free throws made it 60-51 with 5:50 remaining, also helping the freshman finish his day with 12 points and seven rebounds.

However, the offense seemed to disappear from there, and Virginia Tech took over by making the key plays on each end to secure the win.

Although some will blame questionable non-calls at the end of the game, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic broke down the real issue:

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

I think the refs missed a holding call on Carter, for sure. Also, Duke didn’t make a field goal in the final seven minutes. 0-4 with five turnovers in that time. The refs should have made the call, but Duke shouldn’t have been in that spot. https://t.co/lQyJQd0jg2

Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 17 points in the win and was one of four players in double figures for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech (21-9, 10-7) now has four wins over Top 15 opponents this season and has been especially good as of late. Jeff Borzello of ESPN and Aaron Torres of The Athletic described what this could mean going forward:

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

Virginia Tech has now won at Virginia, vs. Clemson and vs. Duke in the last 16 days. Punching a ticket.

Aaron Torres @Aaron_Torres

Not saying it strictly because they beat Duke, but Virginia Tech is gonna be that 7-10 seed that no one wants to see in the second round. Quick, athletic and guards who can make plays. Nightmare for a lot of good teams in the second round

The squad will close out its regular season with a road game against Miami Saturday, and a win could help earn it a top-four seed in the ACC tournament.

Meanwhile, Duke (24-6, 12-5) have been uncharacteristically bad on the road this season, especially against unranked opponents, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Duke has now lost 4 games this season as an AP Top-5 team vs unranked opponent, tied for its most in any season in program history (1978-79) https://t.co/E1RY4ZFFEV

The team has just one home loss (vs. Virginia) but is now 6-5 in true road games.

A home game against rival North Carolina Saturday could be a good chance to get back on track heading into the postseason.

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