Far-out Blue Devils defeat Wake, close in on another ACC title

Duke's 13 three-pointers oust Demon Deacons, 82-73

Acc Tournament

March 12, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Duke took an outside route to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final.

The top-seeded Blue Devils lived on the perimeter, knocking down 13 three-pointers to knock out fifth-seeded Wake Forest, 82-73, in a semifinal game yesterday at the Charlotte Coliseum. Duke (26-4) now shoots to become the first team to win both the ACC regular-season title outright and tournament championship in consecutive seasons since North Carolina State in 1973-74.

Only two days after setting the tournament record for three-pointers with 17, Duke again took advantage of an opponent refusing to extend its defense.

Leading 68-65 with 5: 10 left in the game, the Blue Devils found Nate James in the corners, where he hit back-to-back shots from behind the arc. James' 20-foot jumper with 2: 47 remaining inflated the margin to 74-65, and the Demon Deacons (17-14) never cut the deficit below seven the rest of the way.

"For 36 minutes, it was a dead-even game," said Wake coach Dave Odom. "There was about a four-minute period of time where they won the game. They decided the game in four minutes.

"We came into the game thinking the first thing we had to take away was their three. It's hard to stretch your defense when you're not accustomed to that."

James, a graduate of Frederick's St. John's at Prospect Hall, didn't miss in the second half after being shut out for the first 29 1/2 minutes. The 6-foot-6 junior forward hit his last four shots -- all three-pointers -- and finished with 14 points.

"Nate James really hit big baskets," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He didn't wait until the next game to make his adjustment."

Duke has won 44 of its past 46 ACC games and seem assured of the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament's East Region win or lose today. The Blue Devils, however, aren't worried about being overly relaxed either, since Maryland is the only ACC team to beat them in the past two regular seasons.

"We can play [today] and get our butts kicked because we're not that good," said Krzyzewski, who has not won two straight ACC tournament titles in his 20 seasons at Duke. "We've won a lot of close games. There's an impression of dominance, but there is none."

WAKE FOREST -- Howard 7-10 3-3 19, Songaila 4-14 6-6 14, Vidaurreta 5-9 1-4 11, O'Kelley 5-10 2-2 12, Murray 2-5 0-0 4, Shoemaker 1-1 0-0 2, Hicks 1-3 0-0 3, Dawson 4-5 0-0 8, Scott 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-57 12-15 73.

DUKE -- Carrawell 3-13 5-6 11, Battier 7-17 0-1 18, Boozer 2-7 4-4 8, James 4-7 2-2 14, Williams 6-19 2-4 16, Dunleavy 4-5 4-4 15, Christensen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-68 17-21 82.

Half--Wake Forest 37-36. 3-point goals--WF 3-7 (Howard 2-2, Hicks 1-1, O'Kelley 0-2, Murray 0-2); D 13-30 (James 4-6, Battier 4-12, Dunleavy 3-3, Williams 2-7, Carrawell 0-2). Fouled out--Songaila, Boozer. Rebounds--WF 38 (Songaila 10); D 35 (James 9). Assists--WF 17 (Murray 8); D 18 (Williams 11). Total fouls--WF 20; D 13. A--23,895.

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