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Duke easily drops West Virginia in Final Four

Like at any blue-blood basketball program, Duke players know what’s expected of them when they step onto campus.

“Any time you come to Duke, there’s so many great players that come before you, it’s nice to add something on,” guard Jon Scheyer said.

The biggest addition the Blue Devils could contribute would be a fourth national championship. They have the opportunity to do so after breezing through the Final Four against West Virginia, 78-57, Saturday night in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Duke on Monday will go for its first title since 2001 when it plays Butler -- a 52-50 winner against Michigan State -- in Indianapolis, not far from Butler’s home Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Duke beat West Virginia by being quintessential Duke.

They made three-point baskets, slammed the offensive boards, locked down on defense and had its stars take control.

“I just think we keep getting better,” Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We’ve gotten better throughout the year. We got better this week. It’s a really good team and it can do something great on Monday night.”

Not much missed for Duke, which masterfully handled West Virginia vaunted 1-3-1 defense and never struggled against the Mountaineers’ man-to-man defense either.

The Blue Devils shot 52.7% overall, made 13 of 25 three-point shots, and outscored West Virginia, 19-7, on second-chance shots.

There wasn’t a team in the NCAA tournament with a more reliable and effective three players. Kyle Singler (21 points), Scheyer (23 points) and Nolan Smith (19 points) accounted for all but 15 points for Duke.

They made a combined 12 of 23 three-pointers. Scheyer shot seven for 13. Smith and Scheyer each had six assists with no turnovers.

West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler left with about nine minutes remaining, appearing to severely injure his left knee.

Coach Bob Huggins came onto the court and cradled Butler as he writhed in pain and cried. Huggins also criticized the officials for not calling a foul against the Blue Devils.

“That’s a tough guy,” Huggins said. “It was more he felt like he let his team down than it was the injury and that’s Da’Sean. That’s the way he is. He has such a great heart.”

Butler finished with 10 points as Singler did an outstanding job guarding the forward who averages 17.4 points a game.

sryan@tribune.com


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