The Duke guard was called for a technical foul in the first half of the Blue Devils' 79-72 ACC Tournament win over Clemson on Wednesday afternoon at Barclays Center. Mike Krzyzewski said after the victory. "Those little changes, the little nuances we made throughout the game allowed us and helped us to get the win".
Duke (24-8) muddled its way through the first 20 minutes with the Tigers, settling for a 33-33 tie, and established a 13-point second half lead before having to fight off a desperate surge by an opponent hoping to make a final impression with the Selection Committee. Nobody seems to know what is going on with Grayson Allen, but Duke was able to win without him on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell finished the regular season on a hot streak, averaging 19.8 points per game in his last five contests, a number that looks closer to 23 points per game without the 7 points he scored at Wake Forest after fouling out. Defensively, Clemson is yielding 71.2 points per game against the opposing teams.
Fourth-seeded Louisville led by as many as 12 about midway through the second half before Duke waged a furious comeback.
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Most importantly, Deng Adel was stuck to Kennard like glue, limiting his touches and clean looks. They nearly knocked off Duke at Duke, Miami at Miami, Virginia at home, Syracuse in the last seconds, Virginia Tech twice, Florida State at home and Duke again in the ACC Tournament.
And then the game suddenly flipped. They will play second-seeded and 16th-ranked Florida State in the quarterfinals Thursday night.
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Mitchell, who was limited to eight points on 3-of-14 shooting after averaging 18.0 points and shooting 45 percent in 18 ACC games, said he would ask his teammates to go to the practice facility as soon as they return home to work on their free throws.
"We realize that we're a much different team", Tatum said. It was Kennard, who suddenly caught fire and couldn't miss.
The No. 5 seeded Blue Devils will take on No. 4 Seed Louisville tomorrow in the quarterfinals.
There is no question that Duke was bailed out by Louisville's poor free-throw shooting. "You're going to have to shoot a decent percentage to win a National Championship because it's like a turnover. If you shoot 15-for-26, some of those being the first end of a one-and-one, you're beating yourself".
Coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels are poised to defend their ACC tournament title from a year ago.
Sending Duke to the foul line was an issue for the Cards.