Dockery's halfcourt heave saves No. 1 Duke

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Sean Dockery was Christian Laettner, and

Josh McRoberts served as Grant Hill. In one dramatic last-second

play, a new generation of players added to the lore and magic that

is Duke basketball.

All at Virginia Tech's expense.

"You don't think about that stuff when you're out of the

court," Hokies guard Zabian Dowdell said.

He sure got a firsthand look at it.

Dockery made a heave from about 40 feet with less than a second

left, giving the top-ranked Blue Devils an improbable 77-75 victory

over Virginia Tech on Sunday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference

opener for both teams.

It conjured up memories of Laettner's shot at the buzzer that

beat Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA tournament, when he took a pass from

Hill and swished a jumper from near the top of the key. Much as

Hill did, McRoberts set the play in motion with perfect aim.

"I don't know what I was thinking," McRoberts said. "It was

kind of surreal to watch."

The frantic finish denied the Hokies a stunning upset after they

rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 4½ minutes. Coleman

Collins capped the comeback by tipping in a miss by Zabian Dowdell,

and after conferring with TV replays, the referees put 1.6 seconds

back on the clock for the Blue Devils (7-0).

Coach Mike Krzyzewski drew up a play for burly center Shelden

Williams, but assistant Johnny Dawkins saw Dockery was virtually

unguarded. He urged the senior guard to make himself available for

McRoberts' pass, if Williams should be covered.

That's exactly how it happened.

"I knew I had plenty of time," Dockery said. "I had

confidence in the shot and I knocked it down."

He received the ball just over halfcourt, then took one quick

dribble -- one less than Laettner needed 13½ years ago -- and

launched his shot from the "Coach K Court" decal near the


It rattled in, sending the Cameron Crazies into a frenzy and

giving Virginia Tech (5-3) its second stunning loss in two days. On

Saturday, Marcus Vick and the Hokies' football team lost the ACC's

first championship game to Florida State.

"I'm very proud of our basketball team," Virginia Tech coach

Seth Greenberg said. "We did a lot of things that gave us a chance

to win the basketball game. We just got beat by a great team on a

great shot."

Shelden Williams dominated throughout and finished with 21

points and 19 rebounds, while J.J. Redick bounced back from first

half foul trouble to add 18 points. Yet with the game on the line,

Dockery was the one who came through.

He finished with a season-high 19 points -- the first time he's

been in double figures all season -- and was 4-of-5 from 3-point

range. Of course, the final one was the most important.

"It felt real good leaving my hand," Dockery said. "Not to

sound cocky or anything, but I knew it had a chance. In practice,

I'm never the one hitting those shots. I guess it makes me about

1-for-30 now."

Collins led the Hokies with 25 points on 12-of-17 shooting, and

Dowdell added 15.

"We just kept fighting," Dowdell said. "I was real

optimistic. I just felt like something good was going to happen to

our team."

This one was tight all the way, featuring 17 lead changes and 12

ties. The Blue Devils finally took control with -- what else? -- with

stingy defense, and Redick and the rest of the guards finally found

range from outside.

Virginia Tech was down 63-61 when Gordon got stripped by

Dockery, and Duke's Lee Melchionni beat everyone down court for

what was going to be an uncontested layup. Gordon hustled down in

an attempt to stop the shot, but he simply shoved Melchionni out of

bounds instead of going for the ball.

An intentional foul was called, giving the ball to the Blue

Devils following two free throws from Melchionni. Redick made the

most of the extra possession by making his first 3-pointer, and

suddenly, the Hokies were down seven.

It quickly got worse. Collins worked inside for an easy basket

before Duke pulled away, thanks to Williams putting back his own

miss, Redick using a nifty behind-the-back dribble to free himself

for an open look and Dockery converting a pair of free throws.

That made it 74-63. On the sideline, Greenberg told his team to

stay patient and to come back one defensive stop at a time.

"That's what we hang our hat on," Dowdell said. "As long as

we keep doing that well, we'll be all right."

The comeback was swift. Nine straight points -- highlighted by

Collins' two dunks -- cut the margin to two and, after Jamon Gordon

made one of two at the line, Williams missed the front end of a


With 11 seconds left, the Hokies got an open look for Dowdell,

and when the ball rolled off the rim, Collins beat Williams to the

rebound to give his team the lead.

It proved to be short-lived.

"I feel very badly for Virginia Tech," Coach K said. "They

gave a winning effort. They never quit and they were certainly

deserving to win. I'm not sure we were."