So, Sunday, the Blue Devils went one step further and won the whole thing impressively winding up some three hours later with a No. 2 seed in the Big Dance.
Led by its two junior stars, Duke swamped upstart Florida State with a barrage of 3-pointers and a extremely well managed game – 12 assists, five steals, three blocked shots and only four turnovers – to win their eighth ACC title in the last 11 years.
Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer who now looks to be the key to Duke’s late season surge scored 29 points and was named tournament MVP. Gerald Henderson had 27 and Duke (28-6) turned in one of its most complete performances of the season outrebounding Florida State 33-31 and thwarting the Seminoles attempt for a first tourney championship.
Toney Douglas led the No. 22 Seminoles (25-9) with 28 points but the rest of his mates simply couldn’t generate enough offense to contend with a Duke team that made 12 out of 25 (48 percent) of its shots from behind the arc.
From 3-point range, Scheyer made 4 of 6, Henderson 4 of 7 and Singler 4 of 10. Florida State expected to have an edge on the inside, but Solomon Alabi managed only 10 points and five rebounds, Reid was held to 4 points and Uche Echefu played just 14 minutes and was scoreless.
The Blue Devils put this one away early. After Douglas hit a 3-pointer to give Florida State its final lead, 11-9, Duke ripped off 14 points in a row -- all but two of them coming from long range.
Duke was up 35-21 at halftime, taking advantage of miserable shooting (5 of 23) by a Florida State team that had won two down-to-the wire games to get to the championship, but suddenly looked out of place.
Coming off a 73-70 upset of North Carolina, the Seminoles turned it over 13 times and only a late shooting blitz kept it from being a total blowout. Douglas was basically a one-man show, though Chris Singleton did chip in with 15 points.
The Blue Devils didn't forget how to celebrate during North Carolina's two-year reign as ACC king. As soon as the horn sounded, they donned caps and T-shirt commemorating their championship, then Krzyzewski wandered over to the stands to invite two of his grandchildren down to the court, each wearing the No. 3 jersey of senior point guard Greg Paulus, a three-year starter who lost his job this season.
The Blue Devils have been a much-improved team since moving Scheyer to the point shortly after a 101-87 home loss to the Tar Heels on Feb. 11. They have won eight of 10 heading into the NCAA tournament.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore and Dave Martin)