ACC CHAMPIONS

Not enough depth. Not enough ball handlers. All the excuses offered as to why the Blue Devils wouldn't continue their string of ACC dominance. And yet, after the final buzzer on Sunday, it was Duke sitting in their customary perch atop the ACC for the sixth time in the past seven seasons after dispatching Georgia Tech 69-64 in the Championship game.

Coming off a monsterous 35 point performance against NC State in the semifinals, Tournament MVP J.J. Redick was hot once again, pouring in a game high 26 points while running mate Shelden Williams added 16 points and 13 rebounds to help the Blue Devils stave off a furious Yellow Jacket rally.

Williams' 13th rebound was perhaps his biggest.

With Duke up three and just under five seconds remaining on the clock, freshman David McClure missed the first of his two free throw attempts. After a timeout McClure missed again, but Williams tipped in the offensive rebound despite being checked by three Georgia Tech defenders to make it a five point margin.

The victory ties Duke with arch rival North Carolina for most ACC Championships in history with 15 apiece.

Duke jumped out to an early four point lead and never trailed on the afternoon. Holding a four point lead early in the second half, Duke got hot from the field as Redick knocked down a pair of jumpers before feeding Shelden Williams for a easy dunk. Before the Jackets could blink, Duke had raced out to a 50-37 advantage and seemed to be in complete control.

However, the Yellow Jackets climbed on the back of their All-Conference point guard Jarrett Jack and quickly began slicing into the Duke lead. Eight straight points cut the lead to five with just under five minutes left. Jack would then draw a charge on Duke senior Daniel Ewing, his fifth.

Suddenly Duke seemed extremely vulnerable with its best available ball handler on the bench with five fouls. Soon after secondary ball handler, DeMarcus Nelson would be disqualified after Jack drew his fifth foul on a drive.

Tech took advantage and cut the lead to two with 1:27 remaining at 64-62. After Redick misfired early in the shot clock, Will Bynum missed a runner in the lane that was rebounded by Lee Melchionni. The subsequent trip to the free throw line by the Duke junior yielded just one of two, leaving Tech down just three.

After a missed jumper and battle for the loose ball, Duke knocked it out of bounds, giving the Jackets another chance to tie. Freshman Anthony Morrow grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball up and in to cut the lead to one, but Jack fouled Redick on the inbounds pass, sending him to the line.

After Redick converted his 10th of 10 free throw attempts, Bynum misfired again and McClure pulled in the rebound and went to the line where Williams would ice the game.

Duke now awaits the NCAA Tournament selection committee to decide their fate in terms of seeding. With North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Kentucky all losing over the weekend, the Blue Devils seemed poised to accept a number one seed.


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