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Duke 91, North Carolina St. 61
Posted: Sunday March 10, 2002 05:16 PM
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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Atlantic Coast Conference championships still go through Duke.

Carlos Boozer scored 26 points and Jason Williams added 24 as the third-ranked Blue Devils became the first team to capture four straight ACC tournament titles with a 91-61 rout of North Carolina State.

Duke (29-3) saw its run of five straight ACC regular-season titles come to an end when Maryland earned the crown. But the Terrapins were upset by the Wolfpack on Saturday, paving the way for the Blue Devils to make history.

"Maryland is our regular-season champions and they are as good as any team in the country," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "NC State came up with an amazing effort yesterday to beat them and that had to knock something off of them." Williams scored five points in an 11-2 spurt for a 14-4 lead just under four minutes into the contest. Duke closed the half with a 13-4 run, including nine points from Mike Dunleavy, for a 46-32 halftime bulge.

"Mike is a cluth player," Williams said. "This is a time when a lot of gutsy plays are going to be made, and for Mike to take those shots and knock them down, that was really gutsy of him." Dunleavy's jumper capped a 15-3 burst that gave the Blue Devils a commanding 69-52 advantage with 13 minutes remaining.

Krzyzewski indicated that he did not have to use any of his infamous motivational techniques to focus his team.

"We played so well today," he said. "I knew before the game that they were going to play really well. When I went in for my pre-game talk, I said to myself, 'You better not say too much and ruin the moment.'" Anthony Grundy scored 13 points to lead North Carolina State (22-10), which likely will receive an at-large bid to its first NCAA Tournament since 1991.

"They are an awesome basketball team," NC State coach Herb Sendek said. "We all saw that tonight. We really had no adequate response or answer today." Boozer, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, was near perfect as he made 11-of-12 shots. Duke shot a sizzling 63.5 percent (33-of-52).

Dunleavy finished with 18 points and Williams also had 10 assists The Blue Devils took advantage of 16 turnovers, scoring 30 points.

The Wolfpack from 1954-56 and North Carolina from 1967-69 were the only other teams to win three straight ACC tournament titles before Duke's current run. Despite the significance of the feat, the Blue Devils were not celebrating too much.

"We are hungry right now," Boozer said. "We want to be the best we can at every moment. We are still getting better now." Duke also has a 13-game winning streak against North Carolina State -- its second-longest in the series -- and leads the all-time matchup, 124-93. The Blue Devils captured 15 in a row over the Wolfpack from 1941-47.

The Blue Devils have dominated the competition in their last four title game appearances, winning by an average of 23 points.

Predictably, the Wolfpack's small backcourt of Grundy and Archie Miller had trouble taking turns guarding Williams. Williams toyed with the duo, making 8-of-15 shots, including four 3-pointers.

Freshman Julius Hodge scored 11 points but he was the only other member of the Wolfpack in double figures. NC State shot 37 percent (22-of-60) and was outscored in the paint, 44-30.

NC State was making its first ACC title game appearance since 1997. It last captured the tournament in 1987.

 


 
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