It’s not surprising that defending ACC tournament champion Duke is one win away from reaching the title game for the 11th time in 13 years.
The fact Miami is still playing on the weekend is far more startling.
The fourth-ranked Blue Devils look to strengthen their case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon when they face the last-place Hurricanes in the semifinals at Greensboro Coliseum.
After earning a share of the regular-season title with Maryland, Duke’s hoping a strong showing this weekend can earn it a top seed for the NCAA tournament. However, it didn’t do much in Friday’s 57-46 win over Virginia in the quarterfinals to separate itself from the other school’s also vying for one of the No. 1 seeds.
The Blue Devils (27-5) struggled to put away the ninth-seeded Cavaliers, leading by two with 6 minutes remaining before Jon Scheyer got hot. The all-ACC first-team selection missed 12 of his first 14 shots before scoring seven points during an 11-0 run that helped Duke open a 13-point lead with 2 minutes left.
“He’s that guy that you want on your baseball team who goes 0 for 4, bottom of the eighth, he gets a double, knocks in the winning run,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He goes onto the next play really well.”
Scheyer finished with 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, Kyle Singler had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Nolan Smith also scored 15.
Scheyer had similar struggles in an 81-74 win at Miami on Feb. 17.
The senior guard missed 11 of his first 12 shots before sinking 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to help the Blue Devils extend a one-point lead to seven. He finished with 15 points while Singler had a team-high 22 and Smith scored 21 for Duke, which overcome a 12-point halftime deficit.
The Blue Devils are 12-2 all-time against the Hurricanes.
Duke became the winningest team in ACC tournament history Friday, posting its 85th victory. The Blue Devils are in the semifinals for the 12th time in 13 years and have appeared in 10 of the last 12 title games.
Miami (20-12) is making its first appearance in the semifinals since joining the ACC in 2004-05.
The Hurricanes had only three victories in eight tournament games but have surprisingly won their first two this week. Miami, which dropped 11 of 14 coming into the tournament, upset fifth-seeded Wake Forest 83-62 in the opening round Thursday and beat No. 4 seed Virginia Tech 70-65 in the quarterfinals Friday.
Durand Scott scored 11 of his 17 points in the final 6 minutes against the Hokies after finishing with six points on 2-of-10 shooting Thursday. The freshman guard had 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting against the Blue Devils in February.
Miami shot 55.6 percent from the field in that game but was careless with the ball, turning it over 22 times.
The Blue Devils have been much stronger on defense since rallying to beat the Hurricanes. They’ve allowed 55 points or fewer in five of their last six games, holding opponents to 32.5 percent shooting in the five victories during that span.