Duke's Fab Five: Devils win fifth straight ACC tourney title
Published 5:21 am Monday, March 17, 2003
By By JENNA FRYER, AP Sports Writer
GREENSBORO -- Duke's players put five fingers up in the air with 5 seconds to play Sunday. They were still waving them long after the championship team photo was taken.
A celebratory sign of Duke's fifth-straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title, it was also a reminder to opponents that the Blue Devils own the postseason.
Led by freshmen J.J. Redick's 30 points, the 12th-ranked Blue Devils continued their record-setting run in the ACC tournament with an 84-77 victory over North Carolina State.
Behind Redick's hot hand -- he scored 23 in the final 10:05 -- Duke (24-6) rallied from a 15-point deficit to win its 15th straight ACC postseason game and give coach Mike Krzyzewski his eighth title in 12 tries.
This one was his most special of the last five.
Daniel Ewing, held to 11 points Sunday, was the tournament MVP, scoring 62 points over the three games.
But the final belonged to Redick, who hit four key 3-pointers to pull Duke into the game and made two free throws with 12 seconds left and his team clinging to a three-point lead.
He never hesitated to try the big shots when Duke was down.
His teammates weren't, lavishing praise on the 18-year-old.
The fourth-seeded Wolfpack (18-12) was hurt by foul trouble to center Josh Powell and star Julius Hodge. They picked up their fourth fouls within a minute of each other as N.C. State built a 55-40 lead with 11:44 left.
It all fell apart from there for the Wolfpack, which saw its lead evaporate with every one of Redick's shots.
Powell led the Wolfpack with 26 points, while Hodge added 17 and 12 rebounds.
N.C. State built its lead early in the second half behind the inside play of Powell, who scored the first eight points of a 15-2 run.
But Duke settled down for the stretch run, slowly chipping away at N.C. State's margin.
Duke took the lead for good on two free throws by Redick with 2:51 left as the Wolfpack managed just two baskets over the final 4:13.