Duke earned its seventh Final Four berth in the last nine years by doing what no team had done in more than two months -- stop the "Big Dog."
Two nights after Robinson, the nation's leading scorer, torched Kansas for 44 points, the Blue Devils, led by superstar swingman Grant Hill, held Robinson to a season-low 13 points, as Duke won the Southeast Regional title with a 69-60 victory before a sellout crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Blue Devils (27-5) ran their record in regional championship games to a spotless 7-0 under Krzyzewski, and they couldn't have done it without their defense. Duke snapped Purdue's eight-game winning streak by limiting the Boilermakers (29-5) to a season-low 60 points.
"You don't win big games in this tournament on offense. You winthem on defense," said Krzyzewski, whose Blue Devils will move on to Charlotte on Saturday, where they will face today's Boston College-Florida winner in the national semifinals. Duke is trying to win its third national championship in four seasons.
"He [Hill] has been the best defensive player in the country for the past two years," Krzyzewski said.
"You can tell your players some things about guarding Robinson. Guarding Robinson is another story."
Hill, with a big assist from fellow senior Antonio Lang, helped to close the book on Robinson's storybook season. Robinson made only six of 22 shots, including two of 12 in the second half. And after Hill was whistled for his fourth foul with just under 10 minutes left and Duke leading, 46-41, he sat for six crucial minutes and watched Lang duplicate his work on Robinson.
Purdue, which couldn't hold a 27-17 first-half lead, quickly cut Duke's lead to 46-43 on a short jumper by Robinson -- his first basket in nearly 18 minutes. But the Boilermakers, playing in their first regional final in 14 years, never got any closer.
"They [Duke] played great defense and denied me the ball. Everyone is going to have a bad game. I was hoping I wouldn't have a bad game during the tournament," said Robinson, who grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds but turned the ball over six times. "They did a great job scouting our plays."
"I wanted to play against him [Robinson]," said Hill, who was named the Southeast Regional's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 11 points and adding seven rebounds and five assists. "I've watched a lot of his games this year, and I've always wondered what it would be like to compete against Glenn Robinson."
Lang's dogged defense on forward Cuonzo Martin also had a huge effect on the outcome. Martin, fresh off a season-high 29 points against Kansas, scored 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting. At one point, Martin went over 23 minutes without a basket.
Robinson and Martin were averaging a combined 56 points in the tournament before last night.
Lang also came up big at the offensive end with a team-high 19 points. But the Blue Devils would not be bound for Charlotte had it not been for a terrific performance by guard Jeff Capel, a freshman who played like a veteran.
Capel gave the Blue Devils 35 sterling minutes, most of the them at point guard. He scored a team-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting, hit all three of his three-point attempts, and added four rebounds and seven assists, while committing only one turnover.
Capel also hurt the Boilermakers throughout the second half, when Duke's tournament experience showed. The Blue Devils, who rushed shots and missed several layups in the opening half, played a smarter game after halftime, when they hit 13 of 25 shots (52 percent).
Capel was the key to the offensive resurgence. With the score tied at 32, he opened the second half with a three-pointer, then followed that with an 18-footer to give Duke a 37-32 advantage.
Later, he fed Lang with a behind-the-back pass along the baseline that resulted in a slam that gave Duke a 50-43 lead with 8:31 left. Two minutes later, a dunk by junior center Cherokee Parks (15 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) made it 52-46, and ** Capel's fast-break slam with 52.4 seconds left gave Duke a 67-55 lead that finished the Boilermakers.
"Their [Duke's] experience really helped them in the second half," Waddell said. "They came out and turned it up a notch, and we couldn't do that."
DEVIL OF A RUN
Duke is headed to the Final Four for the seventh time in nine years. The Blue Devils' NCAA tournament history under coach Mike Krzyzewski:
Year ... ... ... ... ... ... NCAA result
1984 ... ... ... ... ... ....Lost in 2nd round
1985 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in 2nd round
1986 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in championship
1987 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in 3rd round
1988 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in semifinal
1989 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in semifinal
1990 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in championship
1991 ... ... ... ... ... ... Won championship
1992 ... ... ... ... ... ... Won championship
1993 ... ... ... ... ... ... Lost in 2nd round
1994 ... ... ... ... ... ... Final Four