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Question of the Day
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Coach Tony Bennett climbed up to the rim, gave the net a final snip and twirled and raised it toward all those Virginia fans.
Savor it, Cavaliers. You’ve waited nearly 40 years for a moment like this.
Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title since 1976 on Sunday by beating No. 7 Duke 72-63 in the final.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points, and tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15, including a backbreaking 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes remaining for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).
Playing in front of a raucous - and mostly orange-clad - Greensboro Coliseum crowd, they shot 45 percent from the field, pestered the Blue Devils into 38 percent shooting and used a late 12-3 run to pull away and claim the second ACC tournament title in school history.
“We were kind of joking around when we came in - we were asking, ‘Where are all of the Duke fans?’” Harris said. “All we could see was orange when we were driving over here. … The city of Charlottesville definitely deserves an ACC tournament title.”
Jabari Parker scored 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who were making their 31st appearance in the championship game but were denied their ACC-record 20th title.
Anthony Gill added 12 points and was 10 of 17 from the free throw line for Virginia. Duke was just 7 of 11 from the line.
“We had a hard time finishing and getting to the foul line when we didn’t,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
The Cavaliers came to Greensboro after winning their first outright ACC regular season title since 1981, and were trying to do something not even Ralph Sampson could do.
It had been a long time - 38 years - since Wally Walker led Virginia to its only previous ACC tournament title.
Now that trophy won’t be alone anymore.
“Wally Walker said we want some company with that team in ‘76,” Bennett said.
With its “pack line” defense clicking and holding Duke 13 points below its scoring average, Virginia was in control for most of the game, yet could never get any separation until the final 2½ minutes.
“We kept talking about it - don’t get sped up, make them guard you, and make them earn on the other end,” Bennett said. “We had to earn this against that kind of team and that kind of program.”
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