Duke basketball suffers worst possible night against Virginia Tech

Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images) /

Things could not go much worse for the Duke basketball team against Virginia Tech. 

The hex that circles the Duke basketball program each time it steps inside Cassell Coliseum is officially going too far.

The Blue Devils (14-6, 5-4 ACC), fresh off an impressive victory over Miami, were looking to string back-to-back wins together against a team — and a building — that has been nothing short of a nightmare in the last decade and things looked promising early.

Duke opened the game on a 7-0 run before Virginia Tech (12-8, 2-7 ACC) quickly seized a 16-13 lead five minutes later.

The Hokie lead would grow as large as 13 points, 43-30, in the first half before the Devils trimmed the lead to seven, 45-38, on a Kyle Filipowski 3-pointer to end the half.

However, the second half is when things took an awful turn for Duke.

The Blue Devils still had the momentum and were within two points, 47-45, when freshman Dariq Whitehead tried to steal a post entry pass and came down immediately grabbing his lower left leg.

Whitehead quickly got back to his feet and tried to continue with the defensive possession before officials stopped the play following a made basket and allowed the promising prospect to hobble off to the Duke bench.

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The five-star freshman could not put any weight on his leg as teammates had to help him into the locker room. Television cameras captured Dariq Whitehead on crutches with an icepack around his lower leg in the final seconds of the game.

Head coach Jon Scheyer said in his postgame press conference that he had not yet spoken to the team’s medical personnel.

Whitehead missed the first three games of the season after suffering a broken right foot in August.

Duke basketball, despite injury, still had opportunity to win

Duke was still able to keep its momentum following the Dariq Whitehead injury as it took a 59-55 lead with 12:04 to play, but immediately surrendered a 9-0 run in 1:56 and would never see the lead again.

Tyrese Proctor, off a broken play following a timeout, made an improbable 3-pointer to tie the game, 75-75, with 41.3 seconds remaining but MJ Collins would give Virginia Tech the lead with 14.3 seconds on an elbow jumper.

Collins, in celebratory fashion, gave a massive fist-pump when he made the shot but cleanly struck Kyle Filipowski‘s throat in the act.

The referees went to the monitor and deemed that no Flagrant foul would be called because the action was in celebration. A Flagrant 1 foul would have given the Blue Devils two free throws and possession with a chance to win the game in the final seconds.

By no means did Michael Collins Jr. try to intentionally hit Kyle Filipowski, who had a career-high 29 points for the Blue Devils, in the throat but 6-foot-10 centers also do not mean to hit 6-foot-2 guards with an inadvertent elbow in the face while coming down for a rebound.

Instead, Duke saw Tyrese Proctor miss a potential go-ahead 3-pointer and then trailing by three, 78-75, had its inbounds pass stolen and could not get a shot off to tie the game as time expired.

The victory saw Virginia Tech end its seven game losing streak while more questions than ever surround the Duke program who finishes its two-game road trip against Georgia Tech (8-11, 1-8 ACC) on Saturday afternoon (3:00p.m. EST, ACC Network) before hosting Wake Forest (14-6, 6-3 ACC) and North Carolina (14-6, 6-3 ACC) next week.