Duke wears king's crown, 72-65 Blue Devils stop Kansas for 1st title in 9 Final Fours

THE BALTIMORE SUN

INDIANAPOLIS -- No longer will Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski be asked about not winning the big one. No longer will the Blue Devils be the team with the most Final Four appearances without a national championship.

As they say, the ninth time is a charm.

Duke was efficient for the first 35 minutes last night, and shaky for the last five, but it was enough to defeat Kansas, 72-65, in the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's championship game at the Hoosier Dome.

"We came here to win two," said Krzyzewski, who had been on the losing sideline in an NCAA final twice, in 1986 and last year. "I thought we were a lot more mature than the previous teams that had come. These kids have had a great month of March. We finally won a game in April."

The victory, coming in Duke's fourth straight trip to the Final Four and a year after its 30-point loss to Nevada-Las Vegas, gave the Blue Devils their first national championship and Krzyzewski his place among the game's top coaches.

Asked what it felt like to finally win the big one, Krzyzewski said: "I feel good. It's never been a monkey on my back. I always tried to keep it in perspective. I feel happy for my players. I looked at my kids, my three daughters, and they were crying. I hope we do it again. When are we going to do it again?"

It was neither pretty nor easy for the Blue Devils down the stretch. Leading by 14 points with a little more than seven minutes remaining, Duke (32-7) struggled to put the Jayhawks away. Kansas (27-8) got to within 70-65 with 34.6 seconds left but got no closer.

A breakaway dunk by junior forward Brian Davis with 22 seconds left sealed the victory for Duke, which had lost in its first four tries in an NCAA final.

Krzyzewski hugged his assistants as the buzzer sounded and then was bear-hugged off the ground by center Christian Laettner, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, at midcourt.

"He didn't look tired when he did that," said Krzyzewski. "He looked pretty strong."

While Laettner helped the Blue Devils with his free-throw shooting -- hitting a championship-game-record 12 of 12 from the line for a team-high 18 points, it was point guard Bobby Hurley and reserve guard Billy McCaffrey who gave Duke its big lead. Hurley finished with 12 points, nine assists and two steals, and fellow sophomore McCaffrey scored 16 on six-of-eight shooting.

"Our two big guys all year, Christian and Bobby, were the keys for us tonight," said Krzyzewski. "And Billy McCaffrey was magnificent. I think these two games were the best on-the-ball defense we played this year."

The Blue Devils were on target with their offense, too. Duke shot 13 of 22 from the field in the first half, including five of seven on three-point tries, and finished 23 of 41 for the game. Kansas was jTC 27 of 65. But there was a big difference on the foul line, where the Blue Devils were 20 of 28 and the Jayhawks were four of eight.

"It goes back to not attacking the basket," said Kansas point guard Adonis Jordan, who was taken out of his game by Hurley's nose-to-nose defense. "We took a lot of jump shots and did not get the ball inside to Mark [Randall]."

The Jayhawks, who hurt themselves midway through the second half with poor shooting, could not take advantage when Duke had trouble icing the game. Kansas went eight possessions in one stretch without scoring.

"We didn't do what we had been doing throughout the tournament," said Randall, who led the Jayhawks with 18 points and 10 rebounds. "We weren't taking good shots. We were passive, but a lot of it had to do with Duke's defense."

It wasn't until Terry Brown hit a three-pointer with 2 minutes, 8 seconds remaining that the Jayhawks gave their fans some hope. But it turned out to be false hope. The chance to win a second national championship in four years had slipped away.

"It's just difficult right now," said Kansas coach Roy Williams, choking on his words a bit. "But I believe there are 297 teams in the country right now who'd like to be in our shoes. I feel very lucky to be a college basketball coach. I think the only person in America luckier than Roy Williams is Mike Krzyzewski."

Krzyzewski did a terrific job not only preparing his team for Kansas, but also getting the Blue Devils back to earth after their 79-77 victory over top-ranked, unbeaten and defending champion UNLV in Saturday's semifinals. Duke showed no ill effects of that victory.

"We worked so hard as a team to get to this point," said senior forward Greg Koubek, who was on the winning team for the first time in his unprecedented fourth straight Final Four appearance. "In the back of our minds, some of us thought Saturday's game was the big game, so Coach K had to talk to us and bring us in focus. We were on tonight."

It was Koubek who got the Blue Devils off to a quick start, hitting a three-point shot and tapping in a miss by Laettner in the first 91 seconds. Duke stormed to leads of 7-1, 18-11, 36-27 and, on a three-point shot by Thomas Hill with a second left in the first half, 42-34. The shot by Hill followed a turnover by Kansas.

"I thought it was big," said Williams. "We had a chance to make it three, but they made a three. It wasn't the key point in the game. Laettner was very tough in the first half. We had a lot of trouble containing him. And Hurley did a great job."

Said Hurley, "I thought establishing ourselves early was very important."

Hurley's performance in the Final Four erased the bitter memories of last year's nightmare against UNLV. In the two games here, Hurley had 24 points, 16 assists and six turnovers. He played all 80 minutes.

"We got tired, but Bobby didn't," said Krzyzewski. "When you get a big lead, there's a tendency to relax. I think we did that a little tonight."

Asked whether Duke ran out of gas, Jordan said: "I guess they weren't that tired. They won."

Finally.

MVPs

=31991... ..... .. ... .... Christian Laettner, Duke

..... ..... .. .... Anderson Hunt, UNLV

..... ..... ..... Glen Rice, Michigan

1988..... ...... ........ Danny Manning, Kansas

1987.... ...... .... ..... Keith Smart, Indiana

1986... ...... .... ...... Pervis Ellison, Louisville

1985... ..... ...... ..... Ed Pinckney, Villanova

1984... ......... ....... Patrick Ewing, Georgetown

1983.... .... ..... ...... Akeem Olajuwon, Houston

1982. ..... ...... ....... James Worthy, North Carolina

........ ......... Isiah Thomas, Indiana

1980... .... ..... ....... Darrell Griffith, Louisville

1979.. ......... ........ Magic Johnson, Michigan State

1978..... ......... ..... Jack Givens, Kentucky

1977... ............ .... Butch Lee, Marquette

1976... ......... ....... Kent Benson, Indiana

1975... ........... ..... Richard Washington, UCLA

1974..... ........ ...... David Thompson, N.C. State

1973.. ............ ..... Bill Walton, UCLA

1972.... ......... ...... Bill Walton, UCLA

1971... ......... ....... Howard Porter, Villanova-x

1970.... ...... ......... Sidney Wicks, UCLA

1969..... ........ ...... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA

1968.... ........... .... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA

1967.... ......... ...... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA

1966... .......... ...... Jerry Chambers, Utah

1965.. ........ ......... Bill Bradley

1964..... .......... .... Walt Hazzard, UCLA

1963.... ........ ....... Art Heyman, Duke

1962.... ........... .... Paul Hogue, Cincinnati

1961.... .......... ..... Jerry Lucas, Ohio State

1960.... ......... ...... Jerry Lucas, Ohio State

1959..... ....... ....... Jerry West, West Virginia

1958..... ........ ...... Elgin Baylor, Seattle

1957... ............ .... Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas

1956.... ....... ........ Hal Lear, Temple

1955.. ............ ..... Bill Russell, San Francisco

1954.... .......... ..... Tom Gola, La Salle

1953..... ......... ..... B.H. Born, Kansas

1952.... ......... ...... Clyde Lovellette, Kansas

1951..... ........ ...... None selected

1950.... ........ ....... Irwin Dambrot, CCNY

1949.. ............. .... Alex Groza, Kentucky

1948.... ........ ....... Alex Groza, Kentucky

1947... ......... ....... George Kaftan, Holy Cross

1946..... ........ ...... Bob Kurland, Oklahoma A&M;

1945..... ........... ... Bob Kurland, Oklahoma A&M;

1944... ............. ... Arnold Ferrin, Utah

1943.. ......... ........ Ken Sailors, Wyoming

1942..... ......... ..... Howie Dallmar, Stanford

1941.. ........ ......... John Kotz, Wisconsin

1940... ......... ....... Marvin Huffman, Indiana

1939.... ........ ....... None selected

x-MVP award vacated by action of the NCAA subsequent to the tournament

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