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Cavs snap title drought

Streamers fall on the court as Duke’s Quinn Cook walks off after Virginia kept the Blue Devils from winning a record 20th ACC tournament title.

Associated Press

Streamers fall on the court as Duke’s Quinn Cook walks off after Virginia kept the Blue Devils from winning a record 20th ACC tournament title.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Coach Tony Bennett climbed to the rim, gave the net a final snip and twirled and raised it toward all those Virginia fans.

The Cavaliers had waited nearly 40 years for a moment like this.

No. 6 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 and tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15, including a backbreaking 3-pointer with just less than two minutes left 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 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 made 10 of 17 free throws for Virginia, which was awarded the No. 1 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. Duke, the third seed in the Midwest, made just 7 of 11.

"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 38 years since Wally Walker led Virginia to its only previous tournament title. "Wally Walker said we want some company with that team in '76," Bennett said.

Virginia led 28-25 at the end of a physical, intense first half notable for its low shooting percentages and a technical foul on Krzyzewski that the Hall of Fame coach called "ridiculous" and "shameful."

Official Jamie Luckie hit the coach with a T with 2:07 left in the half when Krzyzewski, with his back to the court, tossed his dry-erase marker toward his bench while coming out of a timeout.

Krzyzewski said after the game he had "no clue" why the technical was called, then was asked about throwing the pen.

"Yeah, but I mean, you can throw a clipboard, too," he said. "I didn't do it in reaction to anything. I mean, I could hit my head on the floor. I can do a handstand. I can tumble. As long as it's not in reaction to anybody.

"There's no way that there should be a technical foul on that. I mean, it was ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Shameful. Shameful."

COACH KNOCKS A-10: Saturday night, Krzyzewski had a few words in defense of his conference, which he said deserved several at-large NCAA berths. "I'll get in trouble probably for saying it," he said. "Like the Atlantic 10, they're a really good conference. I hear people saying there are six teams in there. Come on. I mean, they're good, but put them in our conference and go through the meat grinder that our conference has to go through." The A-10 and ACC both had six teams in the NCAAs.

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Cavs snap title drought 03/16/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2014 10:10pm]

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