Duke wins fourth straight ACC title

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Duke clinched its fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title, then offered apologies to its preseason doubters.

``Whoever picked North Carolina to win the league, I'm sorry,'' Chris Carrawell said. ``We're still No. 1 baby, still No. 1.''

Duke's 96-78 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday night made it only the second team to win four straight ACC titles outright, matching the school's run from 1963-66.

``The veterans take a lot of satisfaction in this because last July a lot of people thought we couldn't be here again,'' said Shane Battier, who scored a career-high 34 points for the second-ranked Blue Devils. ``We took that personal and worked our tails off to get to this point.''

In other Top 25 games, Alabama surprised No. 11 Auburn 68-64; No. 17 Iowa State defeated No. 14 Texas 89-77; Illinois routed No. 16 Indiana 87-63; and No. 19 Maryland beat Clemson 76-63.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski hugged Battier and Carrawell, who scored 19, as they left the Cameron Indoor Stadium court with seconds left. Earlier, the Cameron Crazies chanted ``Four more years'' as Duke led by 20 late.

``We didn't need any help. We did this on our own,'' Krzyzewski said. ``We played with tremendous heart.''

Battier was 11-of-16 as No. 2 Duke (22-3, 13-1) beat Wake Forest (14-13, 5-9) for the seventh straight time. Battier's previous high was 31 points earlier this season against Davidson.

``Shane Battier's performance was one for the ages,'' Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said.

Wake Forest also lost for the first time in 11 games when scoring 70 or more. Darius Songaila had a career-high 25 points for the Demon Deacons, who have dropped nine of 12.

Duke met its first bit of adversity since losing its opening two games. Mike Dunleavy, the team's top reserve who is averaging 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds, is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with mononucleosis this week.

Battier, Carrawell and Jason Williams each played the first 39 minutes, while Dunleavy's main sub, Nick Horvath, scored 13. He made three 3-pointers in the second half.

Duke received a scare early in the game when center Carlos Boozer of Juneau twisted his right ankle and had to leave the game. He returned less than three minutes later. Boozer finished the game with nine points, five rebounds and two assists.

Duke was leading 66-58 with 11:48 left as the Demon Deacons played their best offensive game in months. But Battier banked in an off-balance 3-pointer with the shot clock running down and was fouled.

The junior completed the fourpoint play as Duke went on a 21-7 run to seal its championship.

Alabama 68, No. 11 Auburn 64

Terrance Meade made two free throws with 3.8 seconds to play, helping Alabama seal the upset win over Auburn and snapping the Crimson Tide's four-game losing streak to the Tigers.

Alabama's first sellout crowd of the season stormed the court, and Tide coach Mark Gottfried grabbed a microphone and thanked the fans for coming.

Freshman forward Rod Grizzard led Alabama (12-13, 5-8 Southeastern Conference) with 25 points and guarded Auburn's Chris Porter all night. Porter, a senior, led Auburn (21-5, 9-4) with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

No. 17 Iowa St. 89, No. 14 Texas 77

Marcus Fizer scored a career-high 35 points for Iowa State (23-4, 11-2 Big 12), which pulled into a tie with Oklahoma State for first place in the league. Texas (19-7, 10-3) dropped one game back.

Michael Nurse added 20 points for Iowa State, which trailed 8-0 and was down 14 before taking a 38-37 halftime lead on Jamaal Tinsley's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Chris Mihm and Ivan Wagner led visiting Texas with 17 points each.

Illinois 87, No. 16 Indiana 63

Cory Bradford hit five of Illinois' 13 3-pointers and scored 26 points as the Illini (18-7, 10-4 Big Ten) won their seventh straight and ninth of 10 since starting the conference season 1-3.

Kirk Haston and Jeffrey Newton scored 17 each for visiting Indiana (18-6, 8-5), which dropped consecutive games for the first time this season in large measure because leading scorer A.J. Guyton was held to just three points.

No. 19 Maryland 76, Clemson 63

Lonny Baxter scored 25 points to help extend Maryland's ACC win streak to seven games.

Baxter punctuated the win, the Terrapins' fifth straight over the Tigers (9-17, 3-10 ACC), with a dunk with 3:43 to play that gave Maryland (20-7, 9-4) its biggest lead at 74-52.

Clemson's Will Solomon won the matchup of the ACC's top scorers, finishing with 12 points. Solomon and Maryland's Juan Dixon, who scored 11, both came in averaging 21.6 points in league play.

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