North Carolina takes out Krzyzewski, Duke at Final Four

NEW ORLEANS >> Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s exceptional profession got here to thrilling and sudden shut tonight after Caleb Love made a key 3-pointer and three late free throws to elevate archrival North Carolina to a thrill-a-minute 81-77 victory over the Blue Devils.

This was the 258th, most consequential and possibly, simply possibly, the perfect assembly between these groups, whose arenas are separated by a scant 11 miles down in Tobacco Road.

The eighth-seeded Tar Heels (29-9), of all groups, pinned the 368th and last loss on the 75-year-old Coach Okay, precisely 4 weeks after they ruined the going-away get together in his last house recreation at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

That loss harm. This one stopped the coach’s last-gasp, storybook run one win away from a title recreation and an opportunity at his sixth championship.

When it was over, after taking part in by way of the nip-and-tuck stretch run with out a timeout, Krzyzewski walked calmly to halfcourt and shook the hand of Carolina’s rookie coach, Hubert Davis.

So, as a substitute of Krzyzewski going for his sixth title, on Monday, Carolina will attempt to win its seventh. It can be Davis, Love, who led the Tar Heels with 28 factors, and R.J. Davis, who scored 18, going in opposition to Okay ansas, which beat Villanova 81-65 earlier within the undercard.

“Dwelling on the two wins against Duke doesn’t help us against Kansas,” Hubert Davis mentioned.

Maybe not, however what a recreation! It featured 18 lead adjustments and 12 ties.

It featured one other breakout efficiency from Love, whose 28 factors after an 0-for-4 begin have been another than what he put up within the second half of a win final week in opposition to UCLA within the Sweet 16.

“It means everything to me,” Love mentioned of his key 3 with 25 seconds left.

At across the 2-minute mark, the groups traded three straight 3s. Wendell Moore Jr.’s 3-pointer with 1:19 left ended the flurry and gave Duke a 74-73 lead. It was the final lead of Krzyzewski’s profession.

R.J. Davis got here again with two free throws, then after Duke’s Mark Williams, in foul bother all evening, missed a pair from the road, Carolina labored the ball across the perimeter.

Tar Heels guard Leaky Black set a decide — make that threw a block — on Trevor Keels to liberate Love, who drained a 3 for a four-point lead and what felt like large respiration room on this one.

Love made three extra free throws down the stretch, after which it was over. Krzyzewski walked off the Superdome ground hand in hand together with his spouse, Mickie.

Hubert Davis was crying once more, a lot as he did final weekend when North Carolina punched its ticket to its report twenty first Final Four.

“I felt like over the last two or three years , North Carolina wasn’t relevant,” mentioned Davis, who changed the Hall of Famer Roy Williams. “North Carolina should never be irrelevant. It should be front and center with the spotlight on them.”

Freshman Paolo Banchero led the Blue Devils with 20 factors and his classmate, Keels, had 19. Another freshman, A.J. Griffin, by no means actually obtained untracked, ending with solely six factors.

Chances are Griffin and Banchero can be following Krzyzewski out the door. They are the newest in his revolving door of “One and Done” gamers, although neither they nor Zion Williamson in 2019 could lead on Duke again to the promised land.

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