Arizona's Championship Hopes Dashed By Duke
April 2, 2001
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Mike Krzyzewski didn't want to let go of Shane Battier.
Coach K hugged him for what seemed to be an eternity, a farewell embrace forhis national player of the year and team leader.
Battier's work is done.
'It's complete,' Duke's all-everything senior forward said. 'All that'sleft for me is to ride off into the sunset on a white horse.'
With a national title in his hand.
The top-ranked Blue Devils won their third championship - and second in theMetrodome - with an 82-72 victory over Arizona on Monday night.
With Battier and Duke's other All-American, Jason Williams, coming up bigdown the stretch, and sophomores Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer playing keyroles, Krzyzewski moved into impressive coaching company.
'Shane wasn't hitting his jump shot, but he comes up with two amazingoffensive rebounds,' Krzyzewski said. He was referring to two plays in thefinal 4 1/2 minutes when Battier, the national player of the year, scored afterArizona had closed within three points.
Battier played all 40 minutes, scoring 18 points, with 11 rebounds and sixassists. He finished his career with 131 victories, tying Kentucky's WayneTurner, who played from 1996-99, for the NCAA record.
'The thing with Duke, you pick your poison,' Arizona coach Lute Olsonsaid. 'Sometimes it's going to be one guy, another time it's going to besomeone else. The one consistent thing is that Shane Battier is going to have agreat game because he just makes things happen. I don't think there's been anyquestion in anyone's mind about him being player of the year.'
Still trailing UCLA's John Wooden's 10 national championships, Krzyzewskimoved one behind Kentucky's Adolph Rupp and tied his college coach, Bob Knight,who won three at Indiana.
To get to this game, Duke (35-4) had to overcome a 22-point deficit inSaturday's semifinal win over Maryland. The last time the Blue Devils won itall, it was by 20 points over Michigan.
The loss ended Arizona's bittersweet season and kept the Wildcats (28-8)from matching their own record of beating three No. 1 seeds in the NCAAtournament, which they did when they won it all in 1997.
Loren Woods had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Arizona, the team thatrebounded from a poor start and overcame the death of Olson's wife, Bobbi, onJan. 1 to reach the championship game.
'All the emotions they had to go through and they withstood them and did agreat job to get to the final game,' Olson said. 'It's tough. Someone's gotto lose it. Duke is deserving. We gave them a good run and couldn't get itdone.'
Duke's other titles came in consecutive years, and the second in 1992 waswon in this building after the same trip through the tournament - Greensboro,N.C., Philadelphia and Minneapolis for the Final Four.
Dunleavy, playing in front of his father, Portland Trail Blazers coach MikeDunleavy, led Duke with 21 points, 18 in the second half.
Dunleavy hit a career-high five 3-pointers, while Boozer, who just returnedlast weekend after missing six games with a broken foot, had 12 points and 12rebounds.
Williams, saddled with foul trouble, had 16 points on 5-for-15 shooting.
Duke is the first No. 1-ranked team to win the national championship sinceUCLA in 1995.
Dunleavy had three 3-pointers in an 11-2 run that put the Blue Devils up50-39 four minutes into the second half.
Arizona came right back with a 9-0 run that was capped by a hook shot byWoods with 14:11 left that made it 50-48.
It took Duke just four minutes to get the lead back to 10, 61-51, onDunleavy's last 3 of the game with 10:08 to play.
Again, the Wildcats came back.
Four times Arizona got within three points. Three times it was Battier, theoutstanding player of the Final Four, who responded for Duke.
His dunk on a pass from Williams made it 77-72 with 2:31 left, and Williamshit a 3 with 1:45 left that gave the Blue Devils an eight-point lead.
'Most games we're able to get that run,' Woods said. 'We just couldn'ttoday. They just beat us at our own game.'
Duke, which set NCAA records this season for 3-pointers made and attempted,finished 9-for-27 from beyond the arc. Arizona really struggled from longrange, finishing 4-for-22 with Jason Gardner missing all eight attempts.
Duke shot 47 percent from the field (30-for-64), well above the 38 percentArizona's other opponents, including No. 1 seeds Illinois and Michigan State,shot during the tournament.
Arizona shot 39 percent (28-for-71), nowhere near the 50 percent mark theWildcats were at for the first five games of the tournament.
'Somehow,' Dunleavy said, 'we were able to outlast them.'
Final Four All-Tournament Team
Shane Battier, Duke, Mike Dunleavy, Duke, Jason Williams, Duke, RichardJefferson, Arizona, Loren Woods, Arizona.
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer