Internet InfoMedia duke pulls away from top seeded houston in gritty second half to advance to elite eight

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Duke men’s basketball is back in the Elite Eight after outlasting a physical Houston with a 54-51 win in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Friday night. 

Houston’s top-ranked defense kept Duke at bay in the first half, but the Cougars suffered a tough blow when All-American guard Jamal Shead went down with an apparent foot injury while driving towards the basket with just a little over six minutes left in the half. 

Jamal Shead injured

Jamal Shead #1 of the Houston Cougars falls to the ground during the 1st half of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game against Duke Blue Devils at American Airlines Center on March 29, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.  (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

After remaining on the ground visibly in pain, Shead was helped up and eventually walked back to the locker room. 

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According to reports, his X-rays came back negative, and he was diagnosed with a severely sprained right ankle. He would remain on the sidelines for the rest of the game. 

But without Shead, Duke managed to pull away in the second half. 

Kyle Filipowski had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the charge, but Jeremy Roach’s 14 second-half points kept the momentum going. 

Kyle Filipowski shoots

Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils shoots during the second half of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Houston Cougars at American Airlines Center on March 29, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.  (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

“I’m really proud of these guys and really proud of the game tonight – that was a big time college basketball game,” Duke head coach Jon Scheyer said after the game. 

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Scheyer went on to compliment Houston’s fortitude despite the loss of Shead, and made a point to silence any criticisms about Duke’s own toughness after a loss to Tennessee in the second round last year. 

“Look, we started four freshmen last year,” he began, “I think for us, some of the criticism about toughness or whatever – try being at Duke as a freshman or sophomore and battling your ass off in the tournament, and then talk to me about being tough.” 

Jeremy Roach drives the ball

Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils drives baseline during the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament held at American Airlines Center on March 29, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.  (Andy Hancock/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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Duke now moves on to face Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina State for a spot in the Final Four.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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