WASHINGTON, DC – Duke learned in warming Friday that it would be without star advocate Cam Reddish, then relied on a number of supporting players to overcome Virginia Tech 77-75 to move on to Elite Eight.
Reddish told coaches that his knees bothered him before warming, and Mike Krzyzewski said he was walking with a limp. There was some discussion as to whether he would play, but he ultimately decided against it.
"I spoke to him before the fight and he was skeptical about whether he would play," Zion Williamson said afterwards. "I was like," If you can't go out there and play, you won't let us down. ""
Williamson said he could tell from Reddish's behavior that the knee severely disturbed him, although Krzyzewski offered some context about the severity of the injury or cause.
Zion Williamson stepped up for a two-handed, scary scary crowd-thrilling spawn-open slam that gave Duke his greatest lead in a tight rubbish against Virginia Tech in the Eastern Region's semi-finals.
"We prepared the whole week with that lineup," Krzyzewski said. "And then boom just before the start of the match [Reddish] can not play."
Krzyzewski offered no update on Reddish's availability for Sunday's match against Michigan State with a last four bets at stake.
Reddish was in uniform, and the Duke originally enumerated him among the appetizers, but sophomore guard Alex O & # 39; Connell took his place in a new lineup announced shortly before introductions.
Reddish is a projected lottery choice in this year's NBA draft and entered the game on average 1
It's the latest in an injury to Duke, including a long stretch of season end without Williamson. The adversity Krzyzewski said has helped define this team.
"They've never relied on, they've never been scared all year," Krzyzewski said. "And we played this amazing schedule, and the spotlight is on these kids from day one to now. So to have it on them and still respond as they do, it's really great for these kids."
Trust has transferred through a series of close calls. The Duke fled narrowly North Carolina into the ACC tournament and then needed another last miss of the UCF to move on to Sweet 16. Friday's last game was even more amazing considering how well Virginia Tech performed the game.
RJ Barrett injected:" He missed. "
And it talked about it. There was no real explanation as to how Hokies could not join the final shot, or how Duke continued to survive in spite of injuries and close calls.
So maybe they're a fate?
"I don't really think so," Krzyzewski said. "I think we're just playing hard until the end. "
Williamson voted, although he admitted he was more concerned about giving bulletin board material to Michigan State.
" I can't say we're destined to be in the championship because it will give another fuel, "says Williamson." So whoever wants more, I think that's who wins. "