March 10 NEW YORK -- In a game that could be a preview of a late-round game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday afternoon's matchup pitting No. 5 seed Duke and No. 4 seed Louisville had to be limited to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
The 14th-ranked Blue Devils reeled off their second win in as many days, knocking off the 10th-ranked Cardinals 81-77 to advance at Barclays Center.
Duke (25-8) will take on bitter rival and No. 1 seed North Carolina in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday. The two team's split their two regular-season meetings.
"So that was a quarterfinal game. Holy mackerel. Wow, that was a big-time game. We're so pleased and proud of the win because we beat a heck of a team and a team that could win it all really," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We just made some shots and played our hearts out. They played their hearts out. We hit a couple more shots than them. I don't know how you can split hairs on that game. Both teams played so hard. That was a heck of a game, just in case you didn't know that. I would hope that you would know that."
The Blue Devils trailed by as many as 12 in the second half before turning to Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard, who scored 25 and 24 points, respectively. Kennard knocked down two huge 3-pointers late in the game, including one with 4:50 to play to give the Blue Devils a 73-70 advantage.
Krzyzewski's bunch hung around and rallied behind a pro-Duke crowd to pull off the four-point win. Grayson Allen overcame a month of poor performances to score 18 points, his most since tallying 25 against North Carolina back in early February.
"Well, I've had a lot of confidence," Allen said. "It's big for a game like this because I was happy I was able to contribute to the team in what we did. We really needed a spark off the bench, and I didn't think I did a good job of that in the first game. So I thought I could be better than that."
Louisville (24-8) struggled down the stretch and didn't make a shot in the final 3:43 of the game. Deng Adel led the Cardinals with 21 points while Quentin Snider added 15.
"I thought we played well enough to win the game tonight," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "We certainly have improved a lot offensively, but we still have some free-throw shooting woes, which really hurt us. If we improve that area and play the same type of offense that we're playing, I think we have a chance to go pretty far."
The two teams traded leads five times in the first half as Duke overcame a seven-point deficit to take a 39-37 advantage into the halftime break.
The Blue Devils shot 46 percent in the half and connected on 11 of their 14 free-throw attempts. Tatum led the way with 12 first-half points.
Louisville showed their physicality early on and maintained a lead through the majority of the half before relinquishing it late. Adel scored 10 points during the first 20 minutes as the Cardinals outrebounded Duke 18-15.
-- Duke G Frank Jackson picked up his third foul midway through the first half.
-- A No. 5 seed has never won the ACC Tournament.
-- Duke has 10 wins over RPI top-50 teams, tying for the most in the country.
-- Louisville G Donovan Mitchell is averaging 19 points per game over his last 18 games.
-- Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski now has 59 career ACC tournament victories, which are the most in league history.