GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Jabari Parker and T.J. Warren kept trading baskets in the kind of shootout expected from the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top two scorers.
Because No. 7 Duke finally figured out how to slow Warren when it counted, the Blue Devils are playing for an ACC championship.
Parker scored 20 points and the Blue Devils beat Warren and North Carolina State 75-67 on Saturday in an ACC tournament semifinal.
Rasheed Sulaimon added 16 points for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-7) while Rodney Hood had 14 points and keyed the defensive effort against Warren, the ACC player of the year.
Warren led the league with an average of 24.9 points while Parker was second at 19.2 points per game.
In this one, Warren scored 21 points but was just 4 of 13 after halftime while facing a barrage of double teams.
“Rodney did a good job on him just to keep him to 21,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “You can overcoach, and we overcoached our preparation. He was doing what we asked him to do, and it wasn’t working, and he said, ‘Coach, let me just play him my normal way.’ That was better.”
Duke earned its 31st championship game appearance and first since 2011.
The Blue Devils will play No. 6 Virginia on Sunday. Duke’s 69-65 win in January stood as the Cavaliers’ lone conference loss until Maryland beat them last week.
The seventh-seeded Wolfpack (21-13), playing their third game in three days, shot just 36 percent in the second half - after hitting 67 percent in the opening half - and were denied their first title game berth since 2007.
“N.C. State was fighting for their lives,” Sulaimon said.
Lennard Freeman had 13 points and Anthony “Cat” Barber finished with 12 for N.C. State, which for much of the day looked capable of pulling off a second straight resume-enhancing upset after knocking off No. 11 Syracuse in the quarterfinals.
“I hope they take a look at our team and see how much better we are than we were at the beginning,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “If you win at Pitt, beat Syracuse and beat Duke, hell, you’re about a Final Four team then. I think we showed that we certainly belong in the field of 68.”
The Wolfpack might have gotten one more upset win, had it not been for Duke’s 20-7 run in the second half that was fueled by three N.C. State turnovers and a spate of missed shots.
“I’m not going to force it to get past two people,” said Barber, who said he was double-teamed as well. “They just did a great job of defending. … They just kept their composure throughout the game.”