Duke advances to ACC title game with win over Miami

The Blue Devils will play the winner of Clemson-Virginia on Saturday

Duke center Kyle Filipowski slaps hands with Dariq Whitehead during the Blue Devils’ ACC Tournament semifinal win over top-seeded Miami on Friday in Greensboro. (Chuck Burton / AP Photo)

GREENSBORO — Duke outlasted Miami in a wild ACC semifinal, beating the Hurricanes 85-78 and advancing to the ACC Championship Game in Jon Scheyer’s first year as head coach. Scheyer joins Vic Bubas as the only two Duke coaches to reach the title game in their first season. Bubas won the title in 1960.

The Blue Devils earned a bit of revenge after losing in Miami by 22 in early February.

“For our program, it’s important to respond as a competitor, right?” said Scheyer. “I don’t care who it is, when they beat you, that’s — I’m not going to sit up here and say you don’t want to beat them that much more. But for us, it’s more about advancing in this tournament and winning the next game.”

“We had to come out first and punch them in the mouth,” said Duke guard Tyrese Proctor, “and just continue that throughout the game. … We thought we didn’t put our best foot forward last time in Miami, and we knew that.”

Proctor was one big difference-maker in the rematch. After being held to three points, one assist and five turnovers in Miami, he had 15 points on 3 of 5 from 3-point range, adding five assists against just two turnovers. He also helped Duke handle Miami’s pressure in the second half as the Hurricanes attempted to come back on the Blue Devils. After turning it over eight times in the first half, however, Duke had just four in the second half against the press.

“The way we were turning it over, to only have four in the second half when they’re pressing us the whole time, that just to me showed everything about the development of this group,” said Scheyer.

“The main thing is we had to settle down,” said Dariq Whitehead. “Coming into halftime, Coach got on us. He knew we had eight turnovers at the half, and that was his biggest thing coming into half, making sure we took care of the ball, and in the second half we did that. We came in and we was poised, we took care of the double teams in the second half with Miami being long and athletic. … It changed in the second half, and we took care of the ball a lot better.”

Whitehead was another big difference for the Blue Devils. He missed the game in Miami but was Duke’s second-leading scorer on Friday with 16 points.

“I thought he had timely baskets for us,” Scheyer said of Whitehead. “The three into the half, the three free throws when there’s a one-point game. He even had the steal at the end.”

After trading the lead 12 times in a first half that also saw seven ties, Duke built a five-point lead at the half. It grew to as much as eight in the second half, but, despite losing starter Norchad Omier to a sprained ankle a minute into the game, Miami wouldn’t go away.

“I think it shows our growth to be in a big-time battle like this where there’s not that separation,” said Scheyer. “We weren’t going to be able to pull away.”

Duke held off the regular season champions, however, and will play for an ACC title on Saturday.