March Madness: Duke beats No. 1 Houston to reach the Elite Eight after the Cougars lose star Jamaal Shedd

Without Jamal Shedd, top-ranked Houston couldn't get past Duke on Friday night.

The Blue Devils, after Shead went down with a severely sprained ankle in the first half, jumped ahead and held on in the final seconds for a 54-51 win in a Sweet 16 game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. That sent Duke to its second Elite Eight team in three seasons, and first under second-year coach John Scheer.

Remarkably, it also marked Duke's first NCAA Tournament victory over a higher seed in 30 years.

The Cougars are struggling after losing Jamal Shedd

Shead drove to the rim a few minutes into the middle of the first half, but his right ankle rolled hard as he was planting to stand for a layup. This led to him falling onto the field hard, where he remained for some time in a lot of pain.

He eventually tried to get off the field under his own strength, but coaches then helped him the rest of the way to the locker room.

Shead was shown on CBS riding a motorcycle to get an X-ray at halftime, which came back negative. Which left him with a severely sprained ankle. The Cougars did not rule him out in the second half, but he did not return to the game. He finished with two points and three assists, coming off the floor just 1-of-5.

Shead had career-highs of 13.2 points and 6.4 assists this season for the Cougars, who won the Big 12 regular season after joining the conference just months ago. They earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beating both Longwood and Texas A&M to reach the Sweet 16. Head averaged 16 points and 9.5 assists per game in the tournament.

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While Houston got off to a very fast start Friday night — they jumped out to a 6-0 lead and forced Scheer to call a timeout less than two minutes into the game before going on a 10-3 run — Duke slowly chipped away at the lead to close out the half. The Blue Devils held Houston scoreless for nearly six minutes at one point, outscoring the Cougars 13-6 after Shedd left the game while Houston missed nine of its last 11 shots in the first half.

Duke took a 23-22 lead into halftime after Houston's LJ Cryer blocked the ball at the buzzer, which marked the Cougars' only points in the final four minutes of the period.

Houston didn't pull away in the second half. The first time Duke tried to pull away near the halfway point, Ramon Walker hit a huge contested 3-pointer to cut the game to one possession. Then J'Wan Roberts made a tough left-handed layup in the paint to cut it to just one point.

But that was the closest the Cougars got. Duke shut them down offensively again. They went more than three minutes without scoring after LJ Cryer made a layup at 4:25 of the second period, and Jeremy Roach responded with a huge jumper from the free throw line to put the Blue Devils back up to six points with just 73 seconds remaining.

From there, they held on and made another big stop to come away with a three-point win.

Cryer led the Cougars with 15 points while shooting 7 of 14 from the field in the loss. Roberts added 13 points and eight rebounds. They were the only Houston players to score in double figures. The Cougars shot just 2-of-8 from behind the arc as well.

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Kyle Filipowski led Duke with 16 points and nine rebounds on Friday night. Roach added 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. Duke went just 6 of 17 from beyond the arc as a team, half of which belonged to Filipowski.

The Blue Devils will now face NC State in what will be the all-ACC Elite Eight. The Wolfpack beat No. 2 Marquette in a Sweet 16 game earlier Friday night, which marked their eighth straight playoff win dating back to the ACC Tournament.

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