HOUSTON — Look who’s back in the Final Four.
Duke restored some order to a topsy-turvy NCAA tournament on Sunday, getting 29 points from Nolan Smith in a 78-71 victory over Baylor that put Coach K and the Blue Devils in college basketball’s biggest event for the first time in six years.
Jon Scheyer added 20 points for Duke, ending Baylor’s charming run to redemption in the South Regional final. The Blue Devils became the only No. 1 seed to advance to Indianapolis and earned their 11th Final Four berth under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Blue Devils will play East Regional champion West Virginia in the national semifinals Saturday night. They have won 11 of their last 12 regional finals under Krzyzewski, but haven’t won a national title since 2001.
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To end the drought, Duke had to win at Reliant Stadium — only 3 1⁄2 hours from Baylor’s campus. Most of the crowd of 47,492 was dressed in the green and gold of the Bears.
“We played against a great team,” Krzyzewski said. “It was such a well-played game, and we were fortunate to win.”
Smith and Scheyer helped the Blue Devils (33-5) offset a poor game from junior forward Kyle Singler, who was 0 for 10 from the field. It was the first time in his college career he failed to hit a field goal.
LaceDarius Dunn had 22 points and Ekpe Udoh scored 18 for the third-seeded Bears (28-8).
“It’s not over for this program. It was a great season,” said Dunn, the junior guard who had obviously shed tears before the postgame interview. “Teammates should hold their head up high and be proud of the things we accomplished this year.”