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Coach K makes the 13th 4th Finals – CBS Baltimore

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Mike Krzyzewski slowly climbed the ladder, bowed to the Duke fans and then pointed at his players for credit before cutting the final string of the net.

Coach K’s farewell tour will end in the record-setting 13th Final.

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The Blues put on their best performance in this NCAA tournament to extend the Hall of Fame coach’s career by another weekend after beating Arkansas 78-69 Saturday night in the game. Western Region Finals.

“To see joy, I can’t explain, because, you know, I’m a grandpa, I lived through my daughters, I’m living through my grandchildren but now I’m living off these men,” Krzyzewski said on the pitch before running down to finish the net. “Divine Mackerel!”

AJ Griffin scored 18 points, West Area MVP Paolo Banchero added 16 and second-seeded Duke (32-6) disappointed fourth-seeded Arkansas (28-9) in the final attack to return to Final Four for the first time since Krzyzewski won the title for the fifth time in 2015.

Coach K will try to follow the path of the only coach to win more NCAA men’s titles when John Wooden won his 10th championship in his final season at UCLA in 1975. Krzyzewski broke broke the relationship he had with Wooden in most of his four Finals appearances with the winning command of the Razorbacks.

“This is an honor. Coach Wooden, if he continues to coach, there will probably be 24,” Krzyzewski said. I won a lot of games, but the Final Fours are obviously big, then the national championships. That’s what you put the banner for.”

Duke’s upcoming game in New Orleans next Saturday will be historic – either its first NCAA Tournament meeting with arch-rivals North Carolina or an unlikely match in the semifinals. country with the 15th seed Saint Peter’s.

“It would be an honor for us to go up against whoever is the regional champion of that region,” Krzyzewski said. “There is no better day in college basketball when four regional champions, four champions, get together in an arena and play. It was the biggest day of college basketball, and we were honored to be a part of it. “

The Blues were in control for most of the second half, using a 10-0 lead after Arkansas had scored to shorten the lead to five points early in the half to open a big opportunity. The boom came after a timeout when Krzyzewski once again moved his team to an uncharacteristical region after successfully doing so in the Sweet Round of 16 against Texas Tech.

“I think the forward zone helped,” said defensive player Mark Williams, who had 12 points, 12 rebounds and three interceptions. “I think it gave them a different look, slowed them down a bit.”

Jaylin Williams finished that run with a dunk emphasized overcame Banchero for three points but it wasn’t nearly enough for the Razorbacks, who didn’t cut the deficit to single digits until the last minute of the game.

Williams led Arkansas with 19 points and 10 rebounds and JD Notae had 14 points before fouling. The Razorbacks have shot 41.9% all game but feel proud after turning their season around after a 0-3 start in the Southeast Conference.

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“We all want to go further in this game, but the fight this team has shown all year is incredible,” Williams said. “For the way we started the conference, no one would have expected that we would come this far. So I just think this team just kept fighting all year, all year, but, of course, we didn’t get where we wanted to be. ”

Duke closed the first half 8-0 to take a 45-33 lead at halftime with Banchero hitting a 3-pointer to start the breakthrough. Trevor Keels hit 3 more shots from long range just before the whistle.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: For the second straight season, coach Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks fell to a more talented team in the Elite Eight. They lost to eventual champion Baylor last year. Arkansas is still looking for its first Final Four appearance since losing the game of the same name in 1995 to UCLA. The Razorbacks won their only national championship last season against Duke.

“Last year we lost to Baylor, and they were national champions,” said Musselman. “I would be shocked if Duke didn’t win the national championship in a week or a week and a half.”

Duke: After losing the regular-season final to North Carolina in Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final against Virginia Tech on the following week, the Blues used late rallies to beat Michigan State and Texas Tech the previous two innings but played a much more complete game against Arkansas. That bodes well for their chances in New Orleans.

“We’ve never had doubts as a team, neither is a youth team,” said Griffin. “We know what we’re capable of and we just want to show it to the world.”

LOST BOARD

A cheerleader was again called upon to recover a ball that was at the top of the basket after the Razorbacks missed a shot early in the second half. The Arkansas cheerleaders jumped into action with Kaiden Thraikill pushing Bella Shelley up to hit the ball loosely, generating a loud roar from the crowd.

NEXT

Eighth seed North Carolina faces the Saint Peter’s favorites tournament Sunday, with the winner booking a dance in New Orleans with the Blue Devils.

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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/27/coach-k-makes-13th-final-4/ Coach K makes the 13th 4th Finals – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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