Speed and Quickness Kills Duke

Win or go home. That was the message from head coach Mike Krzyzewski to his young team before Duke tipped off the 2006-2007 NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately the motivational talk didn't make the Blue Devils any quicker as VCU ended Duke's season.

The tone of the game was set early as the Rams rallied from a 13 point first half deficit and a 3-of-16 start from the field to tied the game at 38 right before intermission thanks to a 29-18 finish to the half resulting in just a 40-38 Blue Devil lead.

After intermission VCU continued to assert themselves on the offensive end, eventually taking a 44-43 lead at the 18:14 mark. However, Duke responded with a 7-0 spurt to reclaim a working margin they keep until the eight minute mark of the second half when the Rams' quickness and perimeter shooting began to take over.

After taking a 64-56 lead and seeming to have stifled the VCU attack, foul trouble and seemingly heavy legs began to plague the Blue Devils as the Rams reeled off an 11-3 run to cut the margin to one at the 6:16 point. After Greg Paulus missed a pair of free throws, Josh McRoberts ran down the rebound but his cross court pass went through the hands of DeMarcus Nelson and VCU took the lead on a pair Michael Anderson to grab the lead at 68-67.

The key to the Rams' success throughout the game was their ability to force Duke into mental errors with a full court press that was reminiscent of the mid 1990s Arkansas championship teams' "40 minutes of hell".

With Duke leading by one, Paulus drove the lane but his lay-up attempt was easily blocked by Anderson, which sparked another VCU break that ended with a Jesse Pellot-Rosa jumper to make it 72-71 with 1:53 remaining. After McRoberts made one of two at the line the stretch run began with the game tied at 72.

That's when Maynor took over, knocking down a driving jumpshot to give his team the lead with 1:21 left. On the ensuing possession the Blue Devils got an answer from Paulus who drove the lane and converted to tie the game, but Maynor came right back to take it back with under a minute to go.

After Nelson tied the game, the best player on the floor took over as Maynor nailed an 18 foot jumpshot with 1.8 seconds remaining to put the game away.

Maynor finished with 22 points for Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams will likely face third seeded Pittsburgh in the second round.

Paulus finished with 25 points for Duke, while McRoberts added 22 in what may be his final game for the Blue Devils.


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