Duke basketball: Mike Krzyzewski proves he still has a lot left in tank

Duke basketball head coach Krzyzewski (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Krzyzewski (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski proved he is still at the top of his game. 

Not only did the Duke basketball team advance to the Elite Eight on Thursday night, but it also proved that its head coach is still at the top of his game.

Mike Krzyzewski nearly coached a perfect game against Texas Tech.

The Hall of Famer knew he needed to stop the bleeding and called a timeout before the first media timeout of the game when the Red Raiders jumped out to a 10-2 lead.

Some of the half-court sets that Duke ran in the first half when the offense was struggling to get easy baskets were incredible, and the halftime adjustment of getting the ball inside to Mark Williams in the second half allowed things to open up on the perimeter.

The only ‘mistake’ the 75-year old made in the 78-73 victory was keeping Bates Jones in the game for too long in the first half.

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Krzyzewski inserted Jones just before the under-8 media timeout in the first half for Paolo Banchero to get the star freshman a longer rest before coming back in the game.

Texas Tech immediately went after the graduate transfer from Davidson on the defensive end of the floor and didn’t bother to guard him offensively.

However, Jones took, and missed, two 3-pointers on one possession for the Blue Devils and then committed a foul on the other end of the floor, which completely shifted momentum and put Texas Tech up by three, 27-24.

Jones was in the game from the 8:17 mark in the first half to the 5:28 mark.

That was the only mistake Mike Krzyzewski made in the game, and it was only highlighted due to a lack of a whistle during that time period.

Duke basketball head coach saves game in second half

The biggest schematic adjustment that helped win the game for the Blue Devils was the switch from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone defense midway through the second half.

Texas Tech was stumped by the zone for multiple possessions, and it allowed Duke to climb back into the game and get its offense back in rhythm.

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Then, Mike Krzyzewski flipped back to the man-to-man defense for the final two minutes of the game after Duke took its late lead, and it was able to disrupt the Red Raiders enough to allow the Blue Devils to secure the victory.

In case anyone was wondering, Coach K still has plenty of juice left to guide Duke to the finish line, and Thursday was just another example that the Hall of Famer has not lost a step despite retiring at the end of the season.

Tipoff between Duke and Arkansas in the Elite Eight is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. EST on Saturday night from the Chase Center in San Francisco.

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