NCAA Final Four: Duke beats West Virginia, 78-57, to reach title game
They don't call 'em the Devils for nothing.
After a thorough squashing of one feel-good story, the Duke Blue Devils get to go after another.
Jon Scheyer scored 23 points Saturday night to lift Duke, the team so many folks love to hate, to a 78-57 victory over West Virginia and set up a meeting against tiny Butler in a classic matchup of big vs. little, with the national title on the line.
In a tournament turned upside down, the Blue Devils (34-5) were the only top-seeded team to make it to the Final Four. The trip wasn't totally predictable or expected. Duke had gone six long years since its last appearance and hasn't been to the final since winning it all nine years ago — a veritable century by Tobacco Road standards.
But Coach Mike Krzyzewski's team is back after a wire-to-wire pull away from West Virginia (31-7), coached by alum Bob Huggins, who led the Mountaineers to the Final Four for the first time in 51 years, back in the Jerry West era.
Huggins returned home to bring an elusive title back to a state that loves its flagship school like few others. But any chance of that ended with 8:59 left, when the Mountaineers' star, Da'Sean Butler, wrecked his left knee and, to add insult to injury, got called for a charge as he crumpled to the ground.
The sequence left him writhing in pain under the basket and his coach came out to the floor, first to yell at the referees, then to kneel down and tenderly cup the head of his star — the player who, more than anyone, made this run possible.
Butler, a 17-point-per-game scorer, finished with 10 points, and was held to a mere basket in the first half while the Blue Devils were building their lead to as many as 13. Wellington Smith led the Mountaineers with 12 points.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Duke guard Nolan Smith looks to drive against West Virginia forward John Flowers in the second half of their Final Four game on Saturday night. Credit: Bob Donnan / US Presswire