- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Third-ranked Duke watched Maryland lose in the ACC semifinals, then made sure it didn't slip up similarly.
Seeing the No. 2 Terrapins, who snapped Duke's record streak of regular-season conference titles at five, fail to make the championship game reminded the Blue Devils to stay focused.
They certainly did, beating Wake Forest 79-64 yesterday to advance to the final and a chance at an ACC-record fourth straight tournament title.
"One of the things Coach did right before we came out was tell us Maryland was going to lose and, 'Don't overlook the opponent, don't look to Sunday,'" said Mike Dunleavy, who led Duke with 18 points. "It was important to remember what we had to do today, and we were pumped up at the start for it."
Carlos Boozer had 17 points and 16 rebounds, and Jason Williams scored 15 to put Duke (28-3) in the title game against fourth-seeded N.C. State.
It's the first meeting in the championship game between the schools since 1966. The Wolfpack (22-9) got there with an 86-82 upset over Maryland.
Duke reached its 13th conference tournament final.
"We always try to be the uncommon team and set the goals that other teams don't reach because they are common," guard Chris Duhon said. "But we want to be the team that goes against all odds and goes down in the books as one of the most dominant teams ever. Four straight titles would do that."
Wake Forest (20-12) lost to Duke for the 13th straight time meaning the Demon Deacons' six seniors will end their careers winless against the Blue Devils unless the two teams meet again in the NCAA tournament.
"Man, it's very disappointing," guard Craig Dawson said. "It's the only team I haven't beaten, and it's discouraging. But we have to forget about that and try to make some noise in the NCAA tournament."
Wake Forest, which dropped its first two games against Duke this season by a combined 52 points, kept this one close after falling behind by 20 early in the first half.
The Demon Deacons never led but were within 51-50 with 11:14 to play.
But leading scorer Darius Songaila went to the bench shortly after with his fourth foul, and Josh Howard went out with an injured ankle. That opened the way for one of Duke's trademark runs.
Daniel Ewing struck first with a 3-pointer, and after a Wake basket, Duhon hit another 3 to make it 57-52.
Wake answered on Broderick Hicks' 3 that cut it to 57-55, but Duke scored nine straight points to put the game away.
After Williams hit just one of two free throws for Duke, he redeemed himself by sinking a 3 after a Wake turnover. Ewing then hit another 3, and Dunleavy capped the spurt with a long jumper his only basket of the second half.


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