Nolan Smith as the shot clock wound down with West Virginia desperately needing to stop the Blue Devils to get back in the game.INDIANAPOLIS – One of Duke's coaches shouted to guard
Smith dribbled right, turned the corner at the free-throw line and drove for a gorgeous right-handed layup with 7 minutes, 7 seconds remaining.
Too easy. In what was supposed to be a defensive duel, West Virginia never found a way to stop Smith, Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer as Duke rolled to a 78-57 win Saturday night in the NCAA semifinals in front of a crowd of 71,298 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Blue Devils used excellent 3-point shooting and tenacious rebounding by center Brian Zoubek to advance to the NCAA championship game for the first time since they won the 2001 NCAA title.
Duke (34-5), the No. 1 seed out of the South Region, will play No. 5 regional seed Butler (33-4) at 9:21 p.m. Monday in the NCAA championship game.
"It's a really good team," coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the Blue Devils, "and it can do something great (Monday) night."
This season's Duke team crashed its way into the Final Four by depending largely on physical half-court defense. On Saturday, though, Duke's half-court offense cranked into high gear.
Scheyer scored 23 points, Singler 21 and Smith 19 as Duke shot 29-for-55 from the field, including 13-for-25 from 3-point range.
"Can't we guard?" exasperated West Virginia coach Bob Huggins pleaded with his team early in the second half.
They couldn't, and Zoubek added to the offense as he crashed the boards hard with his 7-foot-1 frame to grab 10 rebounds. He added three assists, many of them on kick-out passes to 3-point shooters after offensive rebounds.
West Virginia (31-7), the No. 2 seed from the East Regional, shot 13-for-26 from the field in the first half but just 6-for-20 after halftime as Duke's defense tightened and turned the game into a rout.
Check out the full story at newsobserver.com.
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