Defense powers Heels over Miami in ACC quarterfinalsBy Gladys Abbott Mar 12, 2017
Luke Kennard had 20 points and Grayson Allen added 18 off the bench for the Blue Devils (26-8), who will play for the title Saturday night in Brooklyn against No. 16 Florida State or No. 22 Notre Dame. At that point the Irish fans, badly outnumbered in the arena, leapt to their feet and could figuratively taste Notre Dame's second ACC championship in three seasons.
Farrell's layup tied it at 38 for the Irish and Rex Pflueger's 3-pointer provided them with their first lead of the game, 41-40, 2:48 into the second half.
The Blue Devils wind up on top of Notre Dame in both meetings they had this season, as they knocked them off back on January 30 in South Bend. As he shot his free throws, there were boos.
The Blue Devils made five of their last five shots and 11 of their 12 free throws in the last 1:45.
In short, the team that looked, on paper, like it could be among the nation's best entering the season ... is finally looking like it might be among the nation's best.
The Wildcats (30-3), the four-time defending regular-season champion, will face the victor of the Creighton-Xavier for the title on Saturday.
Duke and Notre Dame only met once this season, and the Blue Devils won, 84-74, on the Fighting Irish's home floor.
Notre Dame made 8 of its first 13 shots after halftime.
Miami won the regular-season meeting against North Carolina by 15 on January 28, a day Tar Heel guard Joel Berry II struggled and the rest of the Carolina roster showed little interest in rebounding.
At the end of this one, Notre Dame should come out ACC champions. They beat us badly last time.
Just the one change in the Ireland squad to face Wales
We've worked hard in this RBS 6 Nations and feel like a good performance is just around the corner. One thing you can say is that the Irish team gave it everything they had.
But, when faced with a chance to see a game and a title slip away, Duke bonded together.
The run through the ACC tournament thus far, though, can inspire confidence that the Blue Devils are, indeed, a legitimate threat to get to the Final Four in Phoenix. One of the biggest differences, though, has been the steady play of freshman Frank Jackson since having his role expanded.
And if Notre Dame can pull off what many feel would be an upset in the final, even though they're the higher seed, they would cruise into the NCAA Tournament with an incredible amount of confidence, having flown under the radar most of the season.
But Notre Dame is in a stronger position here.
The Irish are now 1-1 in ACC Tournament Championship games.
-Duke has lost its last four ACC Tournament games in which a win would have set up a game with North Carolina. The Blue Devils arrived at Saturday night because they beat Clemson (expected), Louisville (plausible) and regular-season champ North Carolina (something of an upset). Colson's three-point play on a basket in the lane and a foul by Amile Jefferson left Duke up 36-34 with 6.4 seconds left in the half.
Notre Dame hung around, cutting the deficit to two with a well-executed play that resulted in an open dunk for forward VJ Beachem.
Will that edge be enough? Instead, they just became the Duke Blue Devils. "We just have to keep working every day and keep picking up our defense".
Game time is 9:00 PM ET and will be televised on ESPN.
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