Syracuse (9-7) at Duke (13-4) Duke got off to its typical slow February and March start but won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. The Blue Devils have done a better job in the second half of the season sharing the biscuit. "After the Maryland loss, coach put us through 'second assist camp,' " midfielder Rob Rotanz said. "We worked on drawing the defensive slide, moving the ball to the backside and playing from there." Rotanz has 30 goals in his senior campaign, capitalizing on open looks or running past his man. But a rookie defensive midfielder has been a difference-maker. Will Haus, son of former Hopkins and North Carolina coach John Haus, is a tight cover man. "I didn't envision what he has given us," Duke coach John Danowski said. "He plays with a chip on his shoulder, like a coach's son. He has changed the way we play defense. He runs and stays between his man and the goal, has great feet, understands angles and plays with grit." Syracuse sputtered through a seven-loss regular season, then caught fire in the Big East Conference tournament. Attackman Tim Desko, coach John Desko's son, has been a model of consistency. "I think I will appreciate Tim more later," John Desko said. "I take for granted that I see him every day at practice as a coach. His mother asks, 'How's he doing?' He doesn't come home much; she doesn't see him like I do every day." Desko's name always pops up in Syracuse box scores. He plays like legends of the past who received high marks for style. He has a flair for pulling off dynamic trick shots. "Timmy grew up on the bus, watching [brothers Paul and Gary Gait], Tom Marechek and Pat McCabe. He was always at practice seeing all sorts of stuff," John Desko said. "At the time, coach Roy Simmons Jr. was not a yeller and allowed guys to experiment. Fortunately, Timmy's timing has been good." Syracuse lost to Duke, 12-10, during the regular season.
Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun