Redick, Duke hold off BC, deny Eagles first-ever ACC title

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Duke found the perfect remedy for that

two-game losing streak at the end of the regular season -- a short

trip to the Greensboro Coliseum for the Atlantic Coast Conference

tournament, an almost unbeatable combination.

Three hard-fought victories later, the third-ranked Blue Devils

added another title and likely wrapped up a No. 1 seed in the

tournament that matters the most.

J.J. Redick had consecutive 3-pointers down the stretch to give

Duke the lead for good, Shelden Williams and Greg Paulus added

clutch free throws in the final seconds and the Blue Devils held

off No. 11 Boston College 78-76 Sunday in the championship game.

Louis Hinnant's heave from about 50 feet right before the buzzer

bounced off the backboard, denying the Eagles the title in their

inaugural ACC tournament.

Of course, this is familiar territory for the Blue Devils

(30-3), who won the tournament for a record 16th time. Seven have

come in the past eight years, an amazing run of superiority for

Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski and his program.

Since 1998, the Blue Devils are 25-2 in this event. They are

30-15 in the ACC tournament in this arena.

This one was far from easy, and not simply because Duke lost the

final two games of the regular season. BC knocked off North

Carolina in the semifinals and rallied from a 10-point deficit in

the second half against the Blue Devils.

The Eagles (26-7) led 71-68 before Redick, the tournament MVP,

took over. The second-leading scorer in Division I made one 3 to

tie it before Craig Smith converted two free throws on the other

end. Redick then used a pick from Williams to get free and launched

another jumper from a few steps behind the 3-point line.

As it swished through, he was knocked to the floor by Smith, but

it didn't matter. The Blue Devils were back in front.

Williams' two free throws later increased the margin to four,

and Hinnant brought BC within one again with a leaning 3-pointer.

Paulus converted one at the line to make it a two-point game,

leaving only Hinnant's heave between Duke and another championship.

It didn't go in, and the Blue Devils rushed the court to

celebrate. Smith and Hinnant, meanwhile, fell to the floor and

remained on their backs for several seconds.

Redick scored 26 points while Williams added 18 for Duke.

Hinnant led the Eagles with 20 points and Smith finished with 19

points and 10 rebounds.

For the first time in three tournament games, the Blue Devils

led at halftime, thanks mostly to Redick's 10 points. Yet when BC

went ahead early in the second half, Krzyzewski pulled his star

scorer along with DeMarcus Nelson. Once Redick got to the bench, he

got an earful from assistant Chris Collins.

"I just told him it was his last ACC game, and I didn't feel he

had the fire that makes him the best player in the country,"

Collins said. "I think he got a little angry at me, probably, but

maybe it was a good thing."

It was a common exchange between a coach and a player, one that

was quickly overshadowed by an incident on the court. Paulus dived

to the floor to force a turnover, and as he jumped up to celebrate,

he accidentally hit Hinnant, who returned the shove.

This brought both the teams together in a scrum with pushing and

shoving but no punches, even though Duke's Lee Melchionni and BC's

Jared Dudley came the closest before they were separated. Fouls

were called on Paulus and Hinnant, and during the dead ball, Redick

checked back in.

He needed only a few minutes to show Collins he got the message.

With the Blue Devils in front 48-47, Redick ended three straight

possessions with 3s to give them a 10-point lead, forcing a timeout

by Eagles coach Al Skinner. Redick ran to the bench and excitedly

exchanged chest bumps with Collins, the perfect bookend to their

emotional conference earlier.

"You live and die with your guys, and we've worked a lot

together," Collins said. "To see him respond and then hit those

shots and lead us to another championship was very special to


BC scored the next nine points to get back in it, the final

three coming on a long jumper from Hinnant to set up the frantic