In what almost became the first major upset of the college basketball season, Mike Krzyzewski won for the 901st time in his coaching career. He is one victory away from tying Bob Knight for the most victories in history among NCAA basketball coaches.
Duke can give Krzyzewski a share of the record Saturday with a win over Presbyterian. A record could be established Tuesday when the Blue Devils meet Michigan State in New York.
Belmont almost delayed the coach's march to the record, giving Duke a tremendous battle for the second time in four seasons. The Bruins lost to Duke by one point in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
This time the Blue Devils opened a 16-point lead in the second half, but Belmont fought back within 72-71 on a 3-point play by Ian Clark with 51 seconds remaining.
After Dawkins hit his clutch 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired, Kerron Johnson made a layup for Belmont to cut the Bears' deficit to 75-73.
Ryan Kelly converted two free throws for Duke with 7 seconds to go and Clark hit a 3-pointer before the final buzzer to account for the final score.
Seth Curry and Austin Rivers both had 16 points for Duke. Mason Plumlee added 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Blue Devils won their 87th straight game at home against a non-conference opponent.
Johnson scored 15 for Belmont.