Devils To Play For National Title

It's been nearly a decade, but the Duke Blue Devils are back in college basketball's biggest game. Jon Scheyer scored a game high 23 points to help his team move past West Virginia 78-57 and into the National Championship game against Butler.

In a physical game against the best team from what many considered the nation's best conference, the Blue Devils played their most complete game of the post-season. Duke controlled the glass. Took good shots. Converted a high percentage of them. And, most importantly, kept their composure like the Blue Devil teams of yesterday.

"I thought it was a great performance," said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We needed it to be, because West Virginia is a great team."

For it, the team will take on the Butler Bulldogs in a championship game that virtually nobody predicted three weeks ago.

After making it through the first four games with Scheyer and Kyle Singler taking turns struggling with their scoring output, Duke got production from each. Singler rebounded from an 0-for-10 performance against Baylor to finish 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. The 6'9 junior also grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists.

The third member of the "Big Three", Nolan Smith added 19 points and six assists. The rest of the team combined for 15. However, senior Brian Zoubek managed another double-figure rebound total - grabbing 10 overall and five on the offensive glass.

After building the lead to as many as 13 in the opening half, the Blue Devils would watch as West Virginia battled back to cut the lead to eight at intermission. After the Mountaineers cut the lead to seven on a pair of Da'Sean Butler free throws, Duke would use a 15-6 spurt to extend the margin to 58-44 on a Miles Plumlee jam with 11:44 remaining. The margin wouldn't fall below 10 the rest of the way.

To add injury to insult, Butler would suffer a serious knee injury with just over eight minutes remaining that would end both his game and college career. The recently announced Lowe's Senior Class award winner had averaged 17 points per game, but was held to 10 before the injury.

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