Duke clinches first ACC regular-season title since 2010 in Coach K's final road game | Zagsblog
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Tuesday / February 27.
  • Duke clinches first ACC regular-season title since 2010 in Coach K’s final road game

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    In Coach K’s final regular-season road game, Duke clinched a share of its first ACC regular-season title since 2010.

    Freshman Trevor Keels scored a season-high 27 points and fellow freshman Paolo Banchero added 21 to lead No. 4 Duke to an 86-56 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The Blue Devils also clinched the No. 1 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament at Barclays Center.

    Duke can clinch its first outright ACC title since 2006 on Saturday against North Carolina in Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tickets for the game are going for as much as $75,000.

    “I’m sure it’ll be emotional,” Krzyzewski said. “But it’s going to be about my team. Always, always, always, always.”

    The Blue Devils (26-4, 16-3 ACC) shot out to an early 16-3 lead and never looked back, as both Keels and Banchero were in double figures before halftime and perfect from three-point range.

    Duke also claimed its eighth consecutive road win, extending the longest active streak by a power conference team. Coach K said he didn’t want the moment to be about him.

    “I want to be in their moment,” Krzyzewski said. “The thing I’ve learned, one of the joys of coaching for me in 47 years, is to be in the moment of the team that I have the honor to coach. I did that when I was in my 30s, 40s, 50s. Imagine being in your 60s being in the moment of 18 to 22 year olds when you win. Now imagine you are in your 70s? How lucky can you get, really? “For me, then to say, `No. Look at me! It’s my last game.’ I’m not going to do that.”

    After knocking down 15 three-pointers in Saturday’s win at Syracuse, the Blue Devils carried their hot shooting to the Petersen Events Center, where they finished 11-22 (.500) from deep. Keels contributed a career-best five triples, while Banchero shot 3-of-3 behind the arc. Junior Wendell Moore Jr. added 13 points, six rebounds and a game-high five assists for Duke.



    Freshman AJ Griffin chipped in 12 points, with eight coming in the second half, to go with seven boards. After taking a 17-point advantage into halftime, the Blue Devils never let the Panthers (11-19, 6-13 ACC) get closer than 14 the rest of the way. 

    John Hugley netted a team-high 19 points with six rebounds for Pittsburgh, while Jamarius Burton scored 13 on 6-of-9 from the field.

    Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel who played under Krzyzewski at Duke from 1993-97 before spending seven years on his staff from 2011-18, honored his former coach in a pregame ceremony. Capel presented Krzyzewski with a steel sculpture of a fist, with the four fingers and the thumb signaling Coach K’s five pillars of success.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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