Zion Williamson took on 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall at the end and won. So did top-seeded Duke — barely — when two last-ditch shots by UCF rolled off the rim.
Aubrey Dawkins finished with 32 points, but his tip-in try just missed Sunday, and Duke advanced with a 77-76 victory in Columbia, S.C., to reach the Sweet 16 and an East Region semifinal matchup against Virginia Tech Friday in Washington, D.C.
Williamson had 32 points, including a layup over Fall with 14.4 seconds left, and his team trailing, 76-73. Fall fouled out on the play and the 6-foot-7 Williamson missed the free throw, but RJ Barrett scored on a putback to put the Blue Devils (31-5) ahead.
Ninth-seeded UCF (24-9) had a final chance. Two of them, actually, from in close.
B.J. Taylor missed a short jumper and Dawkins failed on his tip attempt with less than 2 seconds left, the ball spinning off the rim. Duke got the rebound, ran out the clock and moved on to the Sweet 16 for 27th time and fourth time in the past five years.
Dawkins cringed at the miss. His father, Johnny, is the UCF coach and was a former Duke star and longtime assistant under coach Mike Krzyzewski. The two coaches shared a long embrace at midcourt after it was over.
Barrett finished with 16 points.
Virginia Tech 67, Liberty 58 — In San Jose, Calif., 6-10 junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, senior guard Ahmed Hilll had 14 points, while senior guard Ty Outlaw added a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds to lead the fourth-seeded Hokies (26-8) past the 12th-seeded Flames (29-7) to a Sweet 16 matchup against top-seeded Duke in the East Regional semifinal Friday in Washington, D.C.
Houston 74, Ohio State 59 — In Tulsa, Okla., Corey Davis scored 21 points to help the third-seeded Cougars (33-3) reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 35 years with their second-round victory over the 11th-seeded Buckeyes (20-15).
Houston will face second-seeded Kentucky in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Oregon 73, UC Irvine 54 — Payton Pritchard scored 18 points to lead the 12th-seeded Ducks (25-12), the lone double-digit seed to advance to the Sweet 16.
Oregon (25-12) will play top-seeded Virginia in the South Regional semifinal on Thursday.
Virginia 63, Oklahoma 51 — In Columbia, S.C., the top-seeded Cavaliers got 14 points from Mamadi Diakite and 12 from Ty Jerome to clamp down on the ninth-seeded Sooners to make it back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016.
It helped erase Virginia’s stinging flameout a year ago when it became the first No. 1 seed to fall to a 16th seed in a 74-54 loss to University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Virginia’s win gave the Atlantic Coast Conference a national-best five teams in the Sweet 16 where the Cavaliers will face 12th-seeded Oregon in the South Regional semifinals.
Tennessee 83, Iowa 77 — Two-time SEC player of the year Grant Williams scored six points in overtime and Tennessee (31-5) held off 10th-seeded Iowa (23-12) in a NCAA South Regional second-round matchup in Columbus, Ohio, to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years.
Williams had a pair of free throws, two jumpers, and a strip in overtime that helped the second-seeded Vols (31-5) pull it out and match their school record for wins in a season. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.
North Carolina 81, Washington 59 — In Columbus, Ohio, Luke Maye and Nassir Little each scored 20 points and top-seeded North Carolina breezed past Washington. The Tar Heels (29-6) never trailed and moved on to face fifth-seeded Auburn on Friday in a Midwest Regional semifinal in Kansas City, Mo.
Maye added 14 rebounds for North Carolina, a No. 1 seed for a record 17th time.
Texas Tech 78, Buffalo 58 — In Tulsa, Okla., Jarrett Culver had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Norense Odiase added 14 points and 15 rebounds for the third-seeded Red Raiders, who advanced to a Sweet 16 matchup in the West Regional against No. 2 seed Michigan.
N.C. State 78, Harvard 77 — The second-seeded Wolfpack (24-11) held on for a one-point victory after the sixth-seeded Crimson (19-12) fell short in Raleigh, N.C., where Rio Haskett’s 3-pointer with three seconds remaining pulled Harvard within one. Bryce Aiken and Noah Kirkwood led the Crimson with 19 points apiece.