NCAA tournament: Duke beats Baylor, 78-71, to become only top-seeded team in Final Four
Nolan Smith scored 29 points and Duke returned to the Final Four for the first time in six years by beating Baylor, 78-71, today in the South Regional final in Houston, ending the Bears' charming run to college basketball redemption.
Jon Scheyer added 20 points for the Blue Devils (33-5), the only No. 1-seeded team to advance to Indianapolis. It is their 11th trip to the Final Four under Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
In the national semifinals for the first time since 2004, Duke will play East Regional champion West Virginia on Saturday night. The Blue Devils have won 11 of their last 12 regional finals under Krzyzewski, but haven't won a national title since 2001.
Smith and Scheyer helped Duke offset a poor offensive game from junior forward Kyle Singler, who was 0-for-10 shooting from the field and made only five free throws. It was the first time in his college career he failed to hit a field goal.
LaceDarius Dunn had 22 points and Ekpe Udoh scored 18 for the Bears (28-8), whose program was in shambles when Coach Scott Drew took over in the wake of murder and scandal less than seven years ago.
After tying the game for the 12th time on a free throw with 3:36 left, Smith missed his second attempt. But Lance Thomas grabbed the rebound and quickly passed the ball right back to Smith, who hit a three-pointer from the right wing to put Duke up 64-61.
Scheyer extended the lead to six with his fifth three-pointer.
Tweety Carter and Quincy Acy each had 12 points for Baylor.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Duke center Brian Zoubek muscles his way to a rebound against Baylor center Josh Lomers in the first half of the South Regional final on Sunday in Houston. Credit: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images