NEW YORK – For the second time in seven days, Duke’s Mike Khrzechevsky was denied a crucial moment at the end of his coaching career.
After rival North Carolina spoiled their final game at the Cameroon Indoor Stadium last Saturday, coach K’s final appearance at Coach K at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn knocked out the Blue Devils by the upstart Virginia Tech.
Playing their fourth game in four days, the seventh-ranked Hokies (23-12) took a place in next week’s NCAA with a stunning 82-67 win over first – seeded Duke, following a furious attacking game by Hunter Cutter.
The junior guard scored his first six six-point shots to get 31 points, when the hockey players returned to Blackburg with their first championship appearance, the ACC Tournament title. Virginia Tech is the lowest ranked team to win the competition.
“I think they will be the team they thought they were,” Coach Kay said. “We could not stop them. He (Kattur) had a Clay Thompson night.”
March Madness Bracket Game:Create a pool and invite your friends!
The loss to Duke added an unfortunate footnote to a long episode that dominated the ACC match for Khrushchev, who lost his 16th title before retiring at the end of this season.
Kriezewski finished 15-7 in the ACC title games – going 1-1 with a win in the final in Brooklyn in 2017 – surpassing UNC coach Dean Smith (21) for the most championship appearances in league history.
“I’m proud of the way we played this week. Obviously, we lost in the championship, but it did not define how well we played throughout this week,” said coach Kay.
Don Volken:Coach Kay’s top-headed Duke bids farewell to Star College basketball coaches’ dim era | Comment
Bubble Watch winners and losers:Indiana, Texas A&M Lock Up At-Large Auctions; Michigan and SMU in trouble
Duke (28-6) defeated Syracuse and Miami on the way to the final, the NCAA match number. Entered the evening with an outside shot in 1st place, but will be satisfied with second or third place after defeat.
The Hokies’ remarkable run on the ACC field began on Wednesday, with their last second win against the No. 10 Clemson. They were number one on Wednesday, before dominating 3rd place at UNC in the semifinals on Friday. 2 Notre Dame fell.
“These guys have earned the right thing,” Coach Kay gestured to his team. “And we’m not sure if they played because of all the predictors on the team we played for. They punched their ticket hard tonight. God bless them, they deserve it.”
Virginia took a 42-39 lead at the Tech break – hockey were also slightly in favor in the first and only game against the Duke on December 22 – with a barrage of 17 points and 3-points from the jungle, giving the hockey seven points late. In the first half.
Kattoor hit all four of his attempts and took 7 out of 10 from beyond the curve. Duke was led by Paulo Panchero by 10 points, but failed to use a significant amount of advantage in the post. The Blue Devils finished the half with an offensive rebound, but managed to convert 7 of 8 free-throw attempts.
Panzero finished the night with a team-high of 20 points, while Virginia Tech’s Cave Aluma added 19 points.
Coach Kay drew his opening players with 1:14 left in the game, with his grandson Michael Savarino taking the other Duke reserves to court and allowing them to play the loss.
“We’ve going to the next level,” Duke’s Wendell Moore said after the defeat. “Tomorrow we’ve going to see where we’ve planted, and then we’ve going. We’ll have two days of good training to prepare those we have. We’ll have to forget this. The game is already over.”
David Thompson is the award-winning correspondent for the USA Today Network, which covers NC State and Duke athletics. You can contact him at [email protected], 828-231-1747 or Twitter @ daveth89.
“Communicator. Music aficionado. Certified bacon trailblazer. Travel advocate. Subtly charming social media fanatic.”