US Maccabiah team member Scheyer leads Duke to win ACC

Team scores 79-69 victory in title game.

By
March 16, 2009 01:04
4 minute read.
US Maccabiah team member Scheyer leads Duke to win ACC

jon scheyer 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Duke is back in a familiar position: champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The No. 9 Blue Devils swamped upstart Florida State with a barrage of three-pointers on the way to a 79-69 victory in the title game Sunday, giving Duke its ninth ACC crown in 12 years. US Maccabiah team member Jon Scheyer scored 29 points, Gerald Henderson had 27 and the Blue Devils (28-6) turned in one of its most complete performances of the season to keep their Tobacco Road heirloom from heading down to the Sunshine State. It couldn't have come at a better time, with NCAA bids going out later Sunday. How complete? Duke had more steals (five) than turnovers (four), outrebounded the taller, bulkier Seminoles 35-34 and buried Florida State with a 12-of-25 showing from beyond the arc. Toney Douglas led the No. 22 Seminoles (25-9) with 28 points but that wasn't nearly enough to give the school its first ACC championship. Florida State will have to be content with knocking off top-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals and earning its first NCAA bid since 1998. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, following up his gold-medal triumph as coach of the US Olympic team, captured the 11th conference championship of his career. Now he'll turn his attention to the quest for a fourth national title. The Blue Devils put this one away early. After Douglas hit a three-pointer to give Florida State its final lead, 11-9, Duke ripped off 14 points in a row - all but two of them coming from long range. Henderson worked off a pick and sank a three-pointer, then Kyle Singler hit three straight treys to complete the run. He swished one out of the corner and came off a screen for a wide-open look from the top of the key that gave the Blue Devils a 23-11 lead. Duke was up 35-21 at halftime, taking advantage of miserable shooting (5 of 23) by a Florida State team that had won two down-to-the wire games to get to the championship, but suddenly looked out of place. Coming off a 73-70 upset of North Carolina, the Seminoles turned it over 13 times and only a late shooting blitz kept it from being a total blowout. Douglas was basically a one-man show, though Chris Singleton did chip in with 15 points. Also Sunday, Mississippi State showed all those bubble teams from the Southeastern Conference how to get into the NCAA tournament. Phil Turner scored seven of his 12 points in the final 1:35 Sunday, and the Bulldogs knocked off Tennessee 64-61 to win the SEC tournament championship and the league's automatic NCAA berth. Turner, who had 10 rebounds, hit a big 3-pointer to put Mississippi State (23-12) in front for good, then made two free throws with eight seconds left to help the Bulldogs hold off the Volunteers (21-12) in a wild finish. Cameron Tatum's long three-pointer bounced off the rim and Mississippi State's Barry Stewart rebounded as time ran out on Tennessee's hopes of winning the tournament for the first time since 1979. Meanwhile, Jhasmin Player scored a season-high 25 points, Morghan Medlock came off the bench to add 15 and No. 7 Baylor beat 10th-ranked Texas A&M 72-63 to win the Big 12 championship Sunday. Despite losing leading scorer Danielle Wilson to a season-ending knee injury in the final week of the regular season, the Bears (27-5) found a new way to win and claimed their second Big 12 title. The other one came in Baylor's national championship season in 2005. Medlock hit her first seven shots and rallied the Bears from an early 10-point deficit, and Texas A&M could never get back ahead. Takia Starks scored 22 points and Tanisha Smith added 18 points for the former champion Aggies (25-7). There were questions surrounding Baylor after leading scorer Danielle Wilson went out with a season-ending knee injury against Texas on Feb. 28, but the Bears may have put all of that to rest with their third win this year against the Aggies and their second in eight days. Player, who had a similar knee injury end her season, scored 19 of her points in the second half and led the way after Texas A&M chipped away to make it close. After the Aggies got within 60-58 on Starks' jumper with 4:46 remaining, Player followed Jessica Morrow's two free throws with a three-point play to keep A&M at bay. She then got wide open for a 3-pointer from the left wing that made it 68-60 with 2:47 left and put the game away. Player launched the ball off the bottom of the scoreboard hanging from the ceiling as players jumped into each others' arms to celebrate the championship on the floor underneath. Wilson, who was averaging 15.1 points before she got hurt, gave coach Kim Mulkey a big hug on the sidelines before walking over toward a pile of Bears players on the floor. With the win, Baylor may have locked up a No. 2 seed - and perhaps picked up an outside chance for a No. 1 seed - and the opportunity to come back to Oklahoma City for an NCAA tournament regional in two weeks.

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