DURHAM, N.C. - 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 magic of Duke basketball.
All at Virginia Tech's expense.
"You don't think about that stuff when you're out on the court," Hokies guard Zabian Dowdell said.
He sure got a first-hand 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.
It conjured 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 11 down in the final 41/2 minutes. Coleman Collins capped the comeback by tipping in Zabian Dowdell's miss, 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 dribble and launched his shot from the "Coach K Court" decal near the sideline.
It rattled in, sending the Cameron Crazies into a frenzy and giving Virginia Tech its second stunning loss in two days. Saturday, Marcus Vick and the football team lost the ACC's first championship game to Florida State.
"I'm very proud of our basketball team," Virginia Tech and former USF 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."
GA. TECH 63, UVA 54: Jeremis Smith scored a career-high 17 and just missed another double double, leading the host Yellow Jackets (3-2) in the conference opener. The sophomore forward had nine rebounds to follow up his 14-point, 10-rebound performance at Michigan State four nights earlier.
NO.7 LOUISVILLE 67, ARK. ST. 55: Taquan Dean made six 3-pointers and scored 24 as the host Cardinals overcame a sluggish first half to pull away at the Colonial Classic. Dean sank three 3s during a decisive 19-4 run when Louisville (3-0) shook free of the Indians (2-4) in the final 10 minutes.
PITT 78, AUBURN 41: Carl Krauser had 14 points as the host Panthers took an early lead and ran away from the lackluster Tigers. Pitt (5-0) opened against teams from lesser conferences, but Auburn (3-2) provided less resistance than any Panthers foe.
NO.18 WASH. 99, NO.6 GONZAGA 95: Jamaal Williams had a season-high 22 points as the host Huskies overcame Adam Morrison's second 43-point game this season. The Bulldogs (4-2) rallied from a 50-42 halftime deficit to take a 75-70 lead and were up 93-91 before Washington (7-0) pulled away.
NO.16 UCLA 69, COPPIN ST. 57: Arron Afflalo scored 20 and keyed a second-half rally with Cedric Bozeman for the Bruins (6-1). UCLA won its fifth straight at Pauley Pavilion but needed another comeback to put away an inferior opponent.
FAU 107, JU 104 (2OT): Paul Graham scored eight of the host Owls' 14 in the second overtime and finished with a career-high 20 for Florida Atlantic (2-2). FAU's DeAndre Rice tied it at 83 with a layup.
UC DAVIS 64, STANFORD 58: Kyle Brucculeri's 3-pointer capped a late 9-2 run, and the Aggies (1-4) stunned the Cardinal in another sport. UC Davis upset Stanford in football a day earlier.