Duke defense denies Virginia to deliver ACC championship
In one of the lowest-scoring ACC Tournament finals in the shot clock era, Jeremy Roach and Kyle Filipowski powered Duke to a 59-49 win to claim its 1st ACC Tournament championship since the 2018-19 season.
The Blue Devils (25-8) won their 9th in a row to deliver coach Jon Scheyer an ACC crown in his debut season. In doing so, Scheyer becomes just the 3rd coach in league history to win an ACC championship in his 1st season. He’s also the 1st to win an ACC championship as a player and as a coach.
With the NCAA Tournament up next, Duke is officially one of the hottest teams in the country.
🗣️ 2023 ACC CHAMPS 🏆😈 pic.twitter.com/WreeO8UPPc
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) March 12, 2023
The ACC’s Freshman of the Year, Filipowski put up a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. Though it was not to be outdone by Roach, who scored 23 points and was perfect from both the foul line (7-for-7) and the 3-point line (2-for-2).
Those two scorers led the charge on the offensive end, but it was a total team effort for Duke on the other side of the floor to hold the 2nd-seeded Cavaliers to what was the lowest-scoring first half in ACC Tournament final history. The 17 points Virginia mustered tied NC State in 1970 for the fewest in a half in the title game.
Virginia managed to hang around for much of the second half, but the tide really seemed to turn with about 8 minutes remaining.
A 3-pointer from Isaac McKneely with 8:34 on the clock brought the Cavs within 6 points.
Tyrese Proctor knocked down a triple at the other end to immediately respond, with Filipowski assisting on the play. On Virginia’s next trip up the floor, the Cavs rebounded their own miss only to see Filipowski force a turnover that led to a runout dunk.
Instead of a chance to get the margin within 3 or 4 points, Virginia found itself back down by 11 in the span of 61 seconds.
Duke kept at least a 2-possession lead the rest of the way.
The Blue Devils held Virginia to just 33% shooting from the field and 24% from the 3-point line. Duke also effectively kept UVA guard Kihei Clark under wraps for most of the evening. Clark entered the game averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 assists a game; he was held to 6 points and just 1 assist on 1-of-9 shooting with 3 turnovers.