Coach K was emotional after his Blue Devils escaped with a one-point victory over his former assistant Johnny Dawkins and the Knights.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was visibly emotional after his Blue Devils escaped with a one-point 77–76 win over ninth-seeded UCF on Sunday night.
The legendary college coach heaped high praise on Knights coach Johnny Dawkins and his son, Aubrey, who led UCF with 32 points, four assists and three steals.
Johnny Dawkins played for Krzyzewski in Durham from 1982–86 and returned to his alma mater following his NBA career, where he began coaching. He spent 10 seasons on Krzyzewski's staff.
Krzyzewski said that Dawkins's team deserved to win.
"They played great. Johnny [Dawkins], Aubrey [Dawkins]–holy mackerel. They were deserving of winning," Krzyzewski said after his team survived UCF's upset bid and punched its ticket to the Sweet 16. "We hung in there. We made a couple big plays here and R.J. and Zion, they willed us. And then we were lucky.
"I've been unlucky in the tournament, I've been lucky. I feel bad for Johnny. I'm emotional about it because I love him. And his son was magnificent. Not sensational, magnificent."
Krzyzewski is now 28–5 in games against his former assistants.
Tacko Fall, UCF's 7'6" center, finished with 15 points, six boards and three blocks in the loss. Zion Williamson led Duke with a double-double of 32 points and 11 rebounds, while also adding four assists.
The Blue Devils will face the winner of No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Liberty in the Sweet 16.