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Virginia Tech vs. Duke: Hokies upset the No. 1 Blue Devils

Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen celebrates with fans after his 18-point, 15-rebound effort.
Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen celebrates with fans after his 18-point, 15-rebound effort. (Associated Press)

The excitement for this game was palpable on campus from the moment students woke up. Nearly 3,200 boisterous fans, armed with creative signs and dressed in costumes, packed Cassell Coliseum for the morning broadcast of ESPN's popular pregame show, "College GameDay."

Later that night, a capacity crowd of 9,847 was in a frenzy even before tip-off, and the Hokies took advantage by opening a 9-4 lead on the defending national champions.

Duke, though, soon found its bearings and a back-and-forth game commenced. After the Blue Devils went on a 12-5 run to take their first lead of the game at the nine-minute mark, Virginia Tech responded with an 8-2 run to regain momentum. The spurt was led by Allen, who finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, his ninth double-double in the past 10 games.

But Virginia Tech entered halftime with just a two-point lead as Duke closed the period on a 9-4 run. Seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler led the Blue Devils with 22 and 18 points, respectively.

They weren't enough to keep Virginia Tech's own seniors from earning perhaps the marquee win of their careers. Though they upset No. 1 Wake Forest back on January 2009, that win came away from home with the pressure not nearly as high.

With less than two seconds remaining, Allen stood at the free throw line with a four-point lead - icing a victory but also trying to savor a moment that's been a long time coming for Virginia Tech's players and fans alike.

"You just beat the number one team in the nation; there's a lot going through your mind," Allen said. "It was a struggle. It was not easy at all. They hit us with a run; we hit them back with a run. We just didn't give up."

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