Associated press3 minute read
GREENSBORO, NC — Jeremy Roach scored 23 points and No. 21 Duke locked down defensively to beat No. 13 Virginia 59-49 in Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship, getting a title in Jon Scheyer’s first season as the successor to Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Freshman Kyle Filipowski added 20 points and 10 rebounds as the tournament’s most valuable player for the fourth-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who completed a climb to the top of the ACC last month to win a league-record 22nd championship. It was also Duke’s ninth straight win, a streak that began with an overtime loss to Virginia in which a league-recognized officiating error cost the Blue Devils a chance to win in regulation. .
This time, Duke fought his way to the horn by relying on a defense-focused approach that Scheyer has been pushing all season. The Blue Devils held the second-seeded Cavaliers (25-7) to 33% shooting, with Virginia missing both contested and clean looks while committing almost as many turnovers (12) as shots made (16) .
The Blue Devils never trailed, leading by as much as 14 points and keeping the Cavaliers, who played methodical pace and their own defensive style, working to get closer all night.
Reece Beekman scored 12 points for Virginia, who shot within six on Isaac McKneely’s 3-pointer with 3:05 and five on Kihei Clark’s layup after a run with 1:07 remaining. Finally, Beekman brought Virginia within 53-49 on a driving layup around Filipowski with 44 seconds left.
But the Blue Devils didn’t waver, hitting six consecutive free throws to clinch this one. Roach hit four, displaying veteran composure reminiscent of some of his great postseason moments during last year’s Final Four run.
Scheyer, the 35-year-old former Blue Devils player and assistant, started the year with the incredibly difficult task of replacing a legend who won more than 1,200 games and five NCAA championships, including one with Scheyer in 2010.
Now Scheyer is the first to win an ACC tournament title as a player and coach in league history, and only the third freshman coach to win the title.
Scheyer finally began waving his arm at Duke fans behind the bench for the noise with rookie Mark Mitchell preparing to go to the line for the final free throws with 22.1 seconds left.
Moments later, Scheyer began exchanging handshakes and high-fives with his staff as rookie Tyrese Proctor began to dribble past the clock. The horn sounded and Proctor tossed the ball skyward, howling as the players began to scramble.
Scheyer quickly entered the post-game scene as his players danced around the trophy, wiping their foreheads and watching the scene in the moments before 7ft Filipowski approached behind him and wrapped his arm around from the shoulders of his trainer.