Duke again in Final Four
Top-seeded Blue Devils deny Gonzagas bid for first appearance in national semifinals.
- Mike Krzyzewski is living in the moment with his youngest team ever, not thinking too much about the significance of his latest trip to the Final Four.
With their trio of freshmen starting, the Blue Devils are going to their 16th Final Four, and a record-tying 12th for Krzyzewski, after a 66-52 win over Gonzaga yesterday to win the South Regional.
"Just being with these kids and sharing this moment and this Final Four, I'm so happy, I'm so happy for them and to be with them," Coach K said. "I love my team . . . They're taking me to Indy, which is kind of neat."
Justise Winslow, the freshman playing home in Houston, finished with 16 points after rolling his left ankle early in the game, and had a big three-pointer in the closing minutes. Tyus Jones scored 15 points, while Jahlil Okafor had nine points and eight rebounds.
"Coach has been to however many Final Fours, but this is his first one with this group and that's what means the most," Winslow said.
Duke (33-4), the region's No. 1 seed, is going to Indianapolis to play Michigan State in the Final Four. The other national semifinal game Saturday has undefeated Kentucky playing Wisconsin.
With 12, Krzyzewski matches UCLA's John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances by a head coach. There are three coaches with seven, including Michigan State's Tom Izzo.
Duke's last Final Four and national title was in 2010, when the Blue Devils were also the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and went through Houston.
No. 2 seed Gonzaga (35-3) had taken a 38-34 lead less than 4 minutes into the second half, putting Duke in its largest deficit of the tournament.
Young Duke responded with nine straight points and never trailed again. But Gonzaga later missed a chance to tie the game when Kyle Wiltjer missed an open layup with just under 5 minutes to play.
"You make that thing 499 times out of 500. It was just a fluke," coach Mark Few said. "It just didn't fall in. When that kind of moment happens, you've just got to shake your head, and it's not your night."
Gonzaga has been to 17 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, but never the Final Four.