The No. 14 Duke Blue Devils defeated the No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 75-69 on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, to win their first ACC tournament title since 2011.
With the win, Duke kept hope alive for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. As a conference fifth seed, it became the first team seeded fifth or worse to win the ACC tourney since Maryland in 2004, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Blue Devils also made history by winning four games to take the title:
Saturday's victory made Duke's Mike Krzyzewski the most successful head coach in the history of the ACC tournament as well:
Duke shot a remarkable 60.8 percent from the field, and although Notre Dame managed to keep the game close throughout, its 40.3 percent shooting performance proved too much to overcome.
The Blue Devils benefited from balanced scoring, as Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, Amile Jefferson, Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson all scored at least nine points, spearheaded by Tatum's 19.
Kennard was named tournament MVP.
Notre Dame junior forward Bonzie Colson made life miserable for Duke with a game-high 29 points to go along with nine rebounds, but his supporting cast didn't perform strongly enough to deal with Duke's depth.
Duke took a 2-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game and held that lead for the entire first half due in large part to explosive plays, such as this putback slam by Tatum, courtesy of ESPN College BBall:
The Blue Devils shot over 50 percent in the opening half and the Fighting Irish shot under 40 percent, but ND still managed to keep things tight by taking advantage of Duke's turnovers.
A three-point play by Colson with just six seconds remaining in the half pulled Notre Dame to within two, but Duke carried a four-point lead into the locker room due to a buzzer-beating layup by Allen.
Despite trailing for the entire first half and struggling to find an offensive rhythm, the Irish turned things around early in the second.
A V.J. Beachem layup just over three minutes into the half gave Notre Dame its first lead, and Colson took over from there.
Despite their depth and talent inside, the Blue Devils struggled to contain Colson, which prompted Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star to point out his physicality:
Notre Dame built the lead to as much as eight with less than 12 minutes left in the game.
Brad Evans of Yahoo Sports credited head coach Mike Brey with the Fighting Irish's ability to keep pace with such a talented team:
Duke appeared to be in dire straits in the midst of its fourth game in four days, but Coach K's team began to chip away at the deficit.
By the time there was just over five minutes remaining in the game, Duke managed to regain the lead at 61-60 on a layup by Jackson.
With the contest tied at 65-65 with 2:29 left, Tatum took over for the Blue Devils. He hit a free throw to give Duke a one-point lead and followed up with a layup to extend it to three.
He also put on exclamation point on the victory with a dunk to make it 74-69 with 25 seconds remaining.
Tatum's performance down the stretch wowed Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com:
Duke may be hard-pressed to go from being ranked No. 14 in the country to nabbing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney, but its resume gives it a fighting chance.
Per Seth Davis of CBSSports.com, Duke has had a ridiculous amount of success against top-level teams away from home this season:
Losing three out of four games entering the ACC tournament is a definite knock, but Duke did what perhaps no other team in the nation could by beating Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame in consecutive days.
The Blue Devils have shown themselves to be streaky in 2016-17, but their run in the ACC tournament is a strong indicator they are a major threat to win it all during March Madness.
While Krzyzewski is undoubtedly among the greatest coaches in college basketball history, he gave full credit to his players following the win, according to Josh Ward of Sports Radio WNML:
Coach K also made it clear that he put the game entirely in the hands of the players down the stretch, per Duke Basketball:
Perhaps no player was more effective for the Blue Devils in the latter stages than Tatum, and Brey was highly complimentary of him, according to Lauren Brownlow of 99.9 The Fan:
Brey also expressed his belief that Colson turned in a special performance for the Fighting Irish:
Notre Dame didn't shoot well throughout the game, and Brey felt as though its struggles from long range prevented it from putting the game away when it had a chance:
The Irish were denied their second ACC tournament title in three years, but they still enter the NCAA tourney with some momentum after pushing Duke to the limit.