ACC Basketball: Duke 76, Louisville 71
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Duke and Louisville were so close for so long until Quinn Cook took charge.
The sophomore guard scored 11 of his 15 points in the final 7:46, including the Blue Devils’ last eight of the game, and No. 5 Duke beat No. 2 Louisville 76-71 on Saturday night in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Neither team led by more than four points over the final 10 minutes until Cook’s final free throw with 6.7 seconds left made it 76-71.
Cook, who had six assists and just four turnovers against Louisville’s pressure defense, was 4 of 8 from the field and made all six of his free throws.
The tournament MVP started his closing run when he took a long inbounds pass from Mason Plumlee and scored to give Duke a 70-68 lead with 1:14 left. Every time the Cardinals scored, Cook answered. His biggest hoop was a jumper with 3 seconds left on the shot clock that made it 72-67 with only 27 seconds to go.
Plumlee had 16 points and seven rebounds for Duke (6-0), while the other starters – Ryan Kelly, Rasheed Sulaimon and Seth Curry – all had 14 points.
Peyton Siva had 19 points for the Cardinals (5-1). He brought them back from an 11-point second-half deficit by scoring the first seven points of an 11-2 run that brought Louisville within 54-52 with 10:55 to play.
Russ Smith added 17 points for Louisville, which played without 6-foot-10 Gorgui Dieng. The shot-blocking center is out with an injured left wrist and his replacement, 6-10 Zach Price, scored the game’s first basket, doubling his point total for the season. He finished with four points and three rebounds.
Even though the game had two of college basketball’s greatest coaches in Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville’s Rick Pitino, and was played in one of the world’s playgrounds for the rich, it was the players who were the stars of the night.
Everyone stepped up.
The pace wasn’t frenetic but it was upbeat. The work under the boards was rugged. There weren’t many fans in the Imperial Arena, a grand ballroom turned into a basketball venue, who weren’t on the edge of their seats or standing for the final 10 minutes.
The Caridnal wasn’t on top of its game.
Louisville hurt itself by missing four straight free throws in a 2-minute span until Chane Behanan made the second of two with a minute left to bring the Cardinals within 70-67.
The win was the 23rd straight in a regular-season tournament for the Blue Devils, a streak that dates to the championship of the 2006 CBE Classic.
Louisville had won the last four regular-season tournaments it was in.
Duke had lost its last three games to Louisville.
The Blue Devils’ previous win in the series was the 1986 NCAA Division I championship game.