On To San Antonio; Duke Beats Xavier 66-63

Though he hasn't been there before, freshman Luol Deng looked perfectly comfortable down the stretch. The 6-foot-8 freshman came up big on two straight possessions to turn a tie game into a Duke victory, propelling the Blue Devils to San Antonio and the Final Four for the first time since the 2001 Championship season.

With the score knotted at 56, Deng battled in a crowd of three Xavier defenders to win a rebound and then find J.J. Redick for an open look from the perimeter. With time to set himself, Redick swished it to put the Blue Devils ahead for good with just under three minutes remaining.

Xavier, which had won 16 of its previous 17, had already beaten the second and third seeds in the Atlanta region, but missed out on history by falling to the top seeded Devils, who moved into a tenth Final Four under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

After Redick's jumper, Xavier guard Dedrick Finn penetrated into the lane only to have his lay up attempt blocked by Shelden Williams. Rather than swatting the ball out of bounds, the 6-foot-9 sophomore center tipped the ball to Chris Duhon, who raced down the court only to miss another lay-up attempt. However Deng came through yet again to tip the ball in over a scrum of Musketeers to give Duke a five point advantage.

Xavier seemed to be in control midway through the second half before starting center Anthony Myles picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in less than a minute with 12:30 remaining. Prior to his disqualification, Myles had owned the paint against the Blue Devils, scoring 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.

That loss forced Xavier to become a more perimeter oriented team, which fed into Duke's defensive scheme as the foursome of Duhon, Redick, Daniel Ewing, and Sean Dockery were able to hold All-American shooting guard Romain Sato to just 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Duke was lucky to trail by just two at the half after shooting just 33% from the field in the first half, including 3-of-11 from three point range.

Deng, who was named the region's Most Outstanding Player, finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Williams added 12 points and 13 boards. Redick and Ewing each had 13.

Lionel Chalmers, the second member of the Musketeers' backcourt, led the way with 17 for Xavier.

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