Sports

7th-seeded Virginia Tech stuns Duke and Coach K for ACC title

NEW YORK (AP) — For the second straight Saturday night, Duke failed to deliver Coach K a kickoff victory.

This time it was Virginia Tech playing the party.

Hunter Cattoor scored a career-high 31 points and the seventh-seeded Hokies won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the first time, beating Duke 82-67 to rob Mike Krzyzewski of a championship title. champion in his last season.

Virginia Tech (23-12) came to Brooklyn in need of a run to make the NCAA Tournament, then was watching elimination Wednesday night when Darius Maddox hit a go-ahead 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Clemson in overtime.

Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said the Hokies were “lucky than hell” after that game.

After beating Duke, how did you feel?

“Rewarding,” Young said.

The Hokies became just the second ACC team to claim the crown with four wins in four days and the lowest-ranked team to win college basketball’s most prestigious conference tournament.

They are also the fourth ACC champion to win the title by defeating the top three seeds.

Duke lost Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium to rival North Carolina a week ago, derailing what the school had hoped would be a celebration of men’s college basketball’s winningest coach. of Division I.

The Blue Devils, seeded and seventh (28-6), had another chance to pick up a heartwarming win and add at least one more trophy to the outgoing Hall of Famer’s deal. Again, that was not to be the case.

“I tell them all the time, ‘Don’t worry about me,'” Krzyzewski said. “Even in a moment of defeat, I want to be there with them. How do we use it? How do we get better?”

Krzyzewski did his best to shield his team from all the attention on his final lap.

“Last weekend, everyone was talking about it. So it was a very tough weekend,” he said. “What we tried to do was eliminate everything. They are young people. I loved coaching them. I think we can be good in the tournament (NCAA). I was really positive with them afterwards.

When Justyn Mutts made a two-handed slam on star Duke freshman Paolo Banchero with 2:26 left in the second half, Virginia Tech was leading 76-64 and the shorthanded Hokies fans frowned. up with a roar.

“The next dead ball we went to huddle and it was like, ‘We can taste it. We can taste it now,'” point guard Storm Murphy said.

Virginia Tech’s first ACC championship since joining the conference in 2004 has been sealed.

Shortly after Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the Hokies’ unofficial fight song rang out throughout Barclays Center and Virginia Tech fans sang like it was the fourth quarter at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Banchero scored 20 points for Duke, who shot 4 of 20 from 3-point range and allowed the Hokies to make 50 percent of their shots.

Virginia Tech’s last – and only – conference tournament title came in 1979 when the Hokies were in the Metro Conference.

Young led Wofford to five Southern Conference Tournament titles in 17 seasons. It only took him three seasons to get his first with Virginia Tech and he did it with a roster full of guys he recruited to play at his old school.

Murphy and Keve Aluma (19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists) are both transfers from Wofford and Cattoor was scheduled to go to school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, out of high school before Young took the job. Virginia Tech.

“These guys have proven themselves in a really good league, the Southern Conference,” Young said. “All three were very good players. They are old, they are strong, they are tough. They are really very competent.

Meanwhile, Krzyzewski was denied his 16th ACC title in his 42nd season.

Barclays Center is a far cry from Cameron, literally and figuratively, but Duke fans did their best to make it feel like a Blue Devils home game.

Still, nothing has been easy for Duke this week. The Blue Devils did not have a half-time lead in any of the games at Barclays Center.

Saturday night, down three at halftime, Duke started the second half with a sloppy turnover on offense, then gave up a driving layup.

Krzyzewski called a timeout after 35 seconds and lay back in his team, rising from his chair to demonstrate the movement he wanted to see from his players.

The reprimand did not have the expected result. Cattoor swept his sixth 3 and then made a steal which he turned into an old-school three-point play with a driving layup.

That put the Hokies up 55-45 less than five minutes into the half.

Duke didn’t fold, but every time the Blue Devils put the pressure on, the Hokies responded.

When Cattoor made his seventh 3 from the top of the arc with 6:05 left, the Hokies went up 70-60 and it became clear that it was Virginia Tech’s night to celebrate.

Cattoor was 7 of 9 from 3-point range, 11 of 16 overall.

Krzyzewski praised the way the junior moves without the ball. “He had a Klay Thompson night,” he said.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies were 2-7 at one point in ACC play but finished with a kick, going 13-2 to get out of the bubble.

“I knew when it came together it was going to be a great thing and they came together,” Young said. “I didn’t think it would come to this, but we’re not going to return it.”

Duke: Krzyzewski came into the tournament worried about his team’s defense, then he had three shaky games on that side in Brooklyn. He still thinks it’s time to turn around.

“Very confident because we’ll be able to practice,” Krzyzewski said, noting the young Blue Devils had only had one practice since the North Carolina game.

FOLLOWING

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are participating in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season.

Duke: The Blue Devils are likely eyeing a No. 3 seed when the roster is set on Sunday.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter. com/AP_Top25




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