Duke Wins 4th Straight ACC Tournament Title - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

3/10/02

Duke Wins 4th Straight ACC Tournament Title

Behind Boozer's touch, Duke too much


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Mike Krzyzewski has been in enough championship settings to get a good read on his team. He knew to keep quiet Sunday.

Duke's Jason Williams, who scored 24 points, drives against N.C. State's Clifford Crawford.

"They had gotten themselves up for the game. When I went into my pregame talk I said, `You better not say too much, you'll ruin the moment,' " Krzyzewski said following Duke's 91-61 victory over North Carolina State in the ACC championship game.

"I love that because that's the maturity that has developed over the last couple of weeks."

The third-ranked Blue Devils became the first program in the 49 years of the Atlantic Coast Conference to win four straight championships as MVP Carlos Boozer scored 26 points, Jason Williams added 24 and Mike Dunleavy had 18 in the 30-point blowout.

"I've been in this league 22 years and I know how precious each tournament win is," Krzyzewski said when asked about the four straight titles. "It's a little bit hard to believe."

The 6-foot-9, 280-pound Boozer was 11-for-12 from the field and finished 20-of-24 in three tournament games. He was 33-for-39 in three games this season against N.C. State.

"Carlos does a great job calling for the ball," Williams said. "When the guards are driving Carlos will just yell out. To hear a voice like that demanding the ball you know he's going to finish."

Boozer missed the first shot of the game, then made 11 straight to dominate the Wolfpack, who were led by Anthony Grundy's 13 points.

"That's almost unheard of," Grundy said of Boozer's shooting stats.

Second-seeded Duke (29-3) had its ACC-record streak of five consecutive regular-season titles snapped by Maryland, who was upset by the Wolfpack (22-10) in the semifinals Saturday.

That set up the first meeting in the finals between the Blue Devils and Wolfpack since 1966. But like Duke's 19- and 37-point wins over N.C. State in the regular season, this one wasn't much of a game as Duke nailed down its fifth straight No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Duke's 63.5 percent shooting set a championship game record and its winning margin was the second-largest in tourney history.

"We've certainly maintained all along that they're an awesome basketball team," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. "We all saw that again today.

"Every word and accolade has already been put next to their name," Sendek added. "We really had no adequate response or answer for them. We all saw a great basketball team in action."

Krzyzewski emptied his bench with about four minutes left and received hugs from each of his starters.

"This still means a lot," Dunleavy said when asked if winning the ACC has become old hat. "This is something we don't get tired of. I think you can see that."

Williams scored eight points and Boozer had seven in the opening 6:32 as the Blue Devils made nine of 14 shots against Sendek's zone defense.

That proved to be a mistake against a Duke team that prides itself on ball movement and penetration.

"Whether you play them man or zone you still deal with the same kind of things," Sendek said in defense of his early defensive strategy. "A zone was just one piece of trying to keep them off balance a little bit. I thought Wake Forest had some success with it once they got down 27-7 (Saturday), but it obviously wasn't the answer."

And while Duke was hot, the fourth-seeded Wolfpack were not, appearing passive against a school it hasn't beaten in 13 tries.

N.C. State shot a combined 60 percent in tournament wins over Virginia and Maryland, but missed 14 of its first 18 shots in its first ACC final since 1997 and fell behind 29-14.

A 14-4 run did help pull the Wolfpack within five points, but Dunleavy scored nine points over the final 3:03 of the half, hitting two 3-pointers and converting a three-point play to send N.C. State to the locker room down 46-32.

"Mike said, `Get me the ball,' " Krzyzewski said. "I love when a player says that. So we called a couple of plays for him and he responded. That was huge. I thought when we handled that we got control of the game."

Duke's big three -- Boozer, Williams and Dunleavy -- combined for 38 of Duke's 46 points in the half.

A 3-pointer by Williams less than three minutes into the second half gave Duke its biggest lead to that point at 18. Williams' shot bounced high on the rim twice before falling though the net. The All-American just turned, smiled and looked to the sky.

His fastbreak layup two minutes later gave the Blue Devils a 20-point lead en route to their 12th straight ACC tournament win. Ten of those victories have been by double digits and Duke has won its titles by 23, 13, 26 and 30 points.

Only N.C. State (1954-56) and North Carolina (1967-69) had won three consecutive championships before Duke's current run.

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