Duke beats Virginia for ACC title, 59-49

Posted: Mar 11, 2023 / 10:52 PM EST

Updated: Mar 11, 2023 / 10:52 PM EST

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Jeremy Roach scored 23 points and No. 21 Duke locked down defensively to beat No. 13 Virginia 59-49 in Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship, securing a title in Jon Scheyer’s debut season as the successor to Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Freshman Mark Filipowski added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who completed a final-month surge to the top of the ACC to claim a league-record 22nd championship. It also marked the ninth straight win for Duke, a streak that began with an overtime loss at Virginia in which a league-acknowledged officiating error cost the Blue Devils a chance to win in regulation.

This time, Duke grinded their way through to the horn by leaning on a defense-first approach that Scheyer has pushed all season. The Blue Devils held the second-seeded Cavaliers (25-7) to 33% shooting, with Virginia missing both contested and clean looks while committing nearly as many turnovers (12) as made shots (16).

The Blue Devils never trailed, leading by as many as 14 points and keeping the Cavaliers — playing a methodical pace and their own defensive-minded style — working to inch closer all night.

Reece Beekman scored 12 points for Virginia, which drew to within six on Isaac McKneely’s 3-pointer with 3:05 and five on Kihei Clark’s layup off a scramble with 1:07 left. Finally, Beekman pulled Virginia to within 53-49 on a driving layup around Filipowski with 44 seconds left.
But the Blue Devils didn’t wobble, hitting six straight free throws to clinch this one. Roach hit four of those, turning in a veteran’s composure reminiscent of some of his big postseason moments during last year’s Final Four run.

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