Duke's forceful beginning, ending close up Wake, 79-64

27-7 start, 28-14 finish propel Blue Devils into ACC championship game

College Basketball

March 10, 2002|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The style was different, but the method was the same for Duke, which again struck both early and late while racing to a 79-64 victory over Wake Forest yesterday in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball tournament.

A reluctant shooter, reserve freshman Daniel Ewing scored all eight of his points in the final 10 minutes for second-seeded Duke, a team that started fast and finished strong on its way into today's 1 p.m. final against North Carolina State.

The Blue Devils (28-3) felt No. 3 seed Wake Forest (20-12) nipping at their heels, and were only ahead 51-50 when Ewing knocked down a three-pointer from the baseline to increase his team's lead with 10:22 remaining.

He hit another long-range jumper that effectively ended the Demon Deacon threat, preceding a Mike Dunleavy dunk that capped a 14-5 run that gave Duke a 66-55 lead with 7:54 left.

"The coaches told me that I wasn't being aggressive enough," Ewing said. "The coaches wanted me to come in and, when I have the opportunities, to take advantage."

But while Duke's victory sets up a clash between teams clad in blue and red, respectively, North Carolina State's victory over Maryland means it won't be the one fans and players expected.

Duke players say they'll concentrate on the Wolfpack while admitting that they'd hoped for another meeting with the Terrapins after losing the last encounter, 87-73, in College Park.

Asked if he was disappointed not to see Maryland, point guard Chris Duhon said, "In a way, but we're still getting a great team in N.C. State."

Led by 18 points from Dunleavy and a 17-point, 16-rebound effort from Carlos Boozer, Duke has for the second time in as many games ripped the heart out of a team that had designs on an upset into the final minutes.

In the quarterfinals, North Carolina employed more handoffs than a Marty Schottenheimer-coached quarterback while playing keep-away against Duke, a ploy that worked until Jason Williams took over the game.

Yesterday, Wake overcame a 27-7 Duke burst at the outset - not to mention the foul trouble of its best player, Darius Songaila - and fought its way back into the game.

"We know that it's going to be a game of runs, and we knew they were going to make them," said Wake Forest forward Craig Dawson, who finished with 10 points. "But we didn't think it was going to be that early."

Getting to run after enduring Carolina's slowdown on Friday, Duke had energy to spare. Dunleavy and Boozer scored eight points during a stretch in which the Devils took a 20-point lead, a run capped by Boozer's lay-in with 12:37 left to go in the first half.

Craig Dawson and Broderick Hicks led Wake's climb out of the hole, combining for 13 points during a 27-12 run over the rest of the half. Hicks hit a runner in the lane with four seconds left, sending the Demon Deacons into the break down only 39-34.

"Mike Dunleavy had such a great first half and had us in position where we could have a big lead," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, "but we kind of squandered it toward the end of the first half."

Wake Forest hung in for much of the second half, as Songaila had the lion's share of the offensive production and finished with 16 points. But he recorded his fourth foul at about the same time that Ewing emerged. In addition to Songaila and Dawson, Hicks scored 14 and Vytas Danelius had 11.

"I was proud of the way our kids battled back, especially when we made a bit of a run with three freshmen on the floor," said Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser. "But they're very, very good - that spurt they had in the second half just buried us."

WAKE FOREST-Howard 2-7 0-0 4, Songaila 6-13 4-4 16, Scott 4-7 1-2 9, Hicks 5-11 2-4 14, Dawson 4-14 0-0 10, Downey 0-1 0-0 0, Levy 0-2 0-0 0, Danelius 5-7 1-2 11, Murray 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 8-12 64. DUKE-Jones 4-9 1-3 9, Dunleavy 7-13 0-0 18, Boozer 7-8 3-4 17, Duhon 2-5 4-4 10, Williams 5-11 3-6 15, Horvath 0-1 2-2 2, Ewing 3-6 0-0 8, Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Buckner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-53 13-19 79. Halftime-Duke, 39-34. 3-point goals-Wake Forest 4-17 (Hicks 2-6, Dawson 2-7, Howard 0-1, Songaila 0-1, Downey 0-1, Levy 0-1), Duke 10-26 (Dunleavy 4-9, Ewing 2-2, Duhon 2-5, Williams 2-8, Jones 0-1, Horvath 0-1). Fouled out-Songaila. Rebounds-Wake Forest 31 (Howard 7), Duke 37 (Boozer 16). Assists-Wake Forest 15 (Songaila, Hicks, Dawson 4), Duke 18 (Duhon 9). Total fouls-Wake Forest 20, Duke 15. A-23,895.

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