Blue Devils in seventh straight ACC title game

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Like most scorers, J.J. Redick didn't fret
after one bad game. He knew he was only one jumper away from a
streak, so he waited patiently for it to come.

And did it ever.

The Duke guard carried his team to its seventh consecutive
Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final with a spectacular
individual effort, making seven 3-pointers and scoring 35 points to
lead the fifth-ranked Blue Devils past North Carolina State 76-69

A day earlier, Redick missed 11 of his first 12 shots and
finished 4-for-17 against Virginia, but his teammates picked up the
slack. Their efforts certainly were appreciated in this one, even
if Redick needed little help.

"Just having the mentality to take the next shot," he said.
"I didn't really dwell on it. I was 4-for-17. I knew eventually my
shots would fall."

He surpassed Ronnie Mayer's previous school record of 34 points
for an ACC tournament game, set in the 1955 semifinals. Redick was
the second player to reach that total Saturday; Will Bynum matched
it in Georgia Tech's upset of North Carolina in the earlier game,
and the Yellow Jackets will play in the final against Duke (24-5),
which is looking for its sixth title in the past seven years.

"J.J.'s performance was one of the best ever," Blue Devils
coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Redick made the most of a quick reminder from his coach to score
at least 30 points for the fourth time this season.

"Coach just talked to me about thinking of whoever is guarding
me," Redick said. "To set my shot up before I ever took it. I did

Shelden Williams added 15 points and Daniel Ewing had 14 for the
third-seeded Blue Devils, who held on despite missing six free
throws in a row down the stretch.

The Wolfpack (19-13) couldn't take advantage. Ilian Evtimov and
Engin Atsur each missed 3s in the final minute that would have cut
the deficit to three, and NC State was left hoping its spirited
effort during the first two days was enough to secure an at-large
bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"I think we proved some people wrong this tournament," guard
Cameron Bennerman said. "It feels good to perform well. For me,
it's a hard pill to swallow right now, because I thought we could
have won. But I'm trying to put it behind me and see what we have
for the NCAAs."

Freshman Andrew Brackman scored 13 points and Atsur had 12, but
the Wolfpack shot only 33 percent in the second half and were
outrebounded 25-14. They were without point guard Tony Bethel
(groin) for the second straight game, and center Jordan Collins
(separated shoulder) also was on the bench.

And with Redick back on form, Duke was tough to beat.

"J.J. was great," teammate Lee Melchionni said. "It's fun to
watch when we play like that."

Redick swished a 3-pointer midway through the second half to
give the Blue Devils the lead for good, using a screen from
Williams that knocked defender Gavin Grant to the floor. He drained
another jumper from beyond the arc seconds later after Williams and
Shavlik Randolph kept the possession alive with offensive rebounds,
then answered two free throws by Julius Hodge with his third 3 in
about 90 seconds to make it 61-55.

NC State rallied within three points on two free throws by
Atsur, but Redick again responded on the other end. This time, he
deftly fed Williams for a layup, then put the game away with his
final 3-pointer for a 10-point lead, and Duke was headed back to
the final.

"A lot of people keep asking us, 'Does it mean a lot for you to
play in this tournament?'" Coach K said. "And the old expression,
actions speak louder than words, was so apparent this afternoon in
this basketball game. Both teams played great, great basketball."

The Wolfpack sprinted to a pair of eight-point leads soon after
halftime, running their Princeton-style offense to perfection.
Evtimov and Atsur both had 3s during the run, with Atsur's coming
after a nifty behind-the-back pass from Evtimov.

Soon after, Redick went back to work, and NC State had no

"It's very frustrating to lose, especially when during the game
you're up eight to start the second half," Evtimov said. "They
just kicked our butts on the rebounds, and we didn't find a way to
stop J.J. Redick. And consequently, we lost."