No. 3 Duke Moves To Semifinals With 80-76 Win Over Miami
March 10, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Call it a slump, or maybe just the result of the normal ups and downs in a shooter's season. Either way, J.J. Redick finally appears to be beyond his struggles.
"I didn't really consider it a slump," Duke's star guard said. "There's been a lot written and a lot said and I've fielded a lot of questions from you about it, but I'm just happy we won."
In the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the third-ranked Blue Devils rarely do anything else.
Redick had 25 points and made a clutch jumper in the final minute, Shelden Williams had his sixth straight double-double and Duke held off Miami 80-76 Friday in the quarterfinals.
Williams finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while DeMarcus Nelson also scored 14 points for the top-seeded Blue Devils (28-3), who desperately needed a victory after losing their final two games of the regular season. They finally put away the Hurricanes (16-15) in a thrilling game that featured 17 ties and 22 lead changes.
"We can put up a lot of points, but we can't hang our hats on that," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "That's why we've been tested these last couple weeks. How good are we going to be on the defensive end of the court, whether we hit or not? We were tested with that today."
The Blue Devils improved to 24-1 in this event since 1999, and they move on to the semifinals to face the winner of the Wake Forest-North Carolina State matchup.
Guillermo Diaz and Anthony King each had 16 points for Miami, and teammate Robert Hite scored 15.
"We had a couple of plays down the stretch that we botched up that could've given us a better chance," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "But I can't fault our guys' effort, how they competed."
Diaz drove around Josh McRoberts for a layup with about 2 minutes remaining to make it 72-all, the final tie of the game. On the other end, Williams was fouled and made both shots at the line to give Duke the lead for good.
Raymond Hicks converted one of two free throws to bring the Hurricanes within one, and after Nelson missed a 3-pointer, the ball went out of bounds off Hite. Krzyzewski called a timeout to set up a play, and Redick came through as he has most of the season.
"We put something in, and he improvised," Krzyzewski said. "It was all him, and it was huge."
Redick took Diaz off the dribble and pulled up from a couple of steps inside the 3-point line, and his shot swished through for a three-point lead.
"Diaz came out on me, and I felt like I could drive the middle and either pick up the foul or try to draw some help defense and pass it out," Redick said. "When he cut that off, I just put it behind my back and pulled up."
Hite missed a long try from about 30 feet for a tie, and the Hurricanes finally were out of chances. Now, they'll wait to see if their spirited effort was enough to secure an NIT bid.
"Duke played well down the stretch when they needed to, and J.J. made all the big plays," Haith said.
The Blue Devils remained in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament by continuing their dominance in the ACC tournament. Despite winning it six of the past seven years, however, they hardly appeared to be the favorite coming in, with losses to Florida State and North Carolina spoiling their previously unbeaten conference record.
"This is not an easy thing to win, especially after winning the regular season," Krzyzewski said. "That combination is not one that many people have been able to get over the last 20 years. Our guys know that, and it'd be a heck of an accomplishment."
One of the reasons for the struggles was Redick's uncharacteristically poor shooting. He was 23-for-80 over his previous four games, a horrid 29 percent, and he missed his first four shots Friday. He finally got on track with a 3, and finished 9-for-17 for the game.
"We know that he's a great player, and he's going to make shots," Diaz said. "What we did is just move on."
It was the first time since Feb. 19 Redick made at least half his shots and, coincidentally, that effort also came against the Hurricanes. He finished with 30 points then - the fifth straight game with at least that total - before his slump down the stretch.
"I've really tried to move onto the next play the last few weeks," Redick said. "For our team, coming off two straight losses, this was a really big game for us to win."