NEW YORK — Jayson Tatum had 19 points and No. 14 Duke beat No. 22 Notre Dame 75-69 to capture the 2017 New York Life ACC Tournament title on Saturday night at Barclays Center.
“I’ve been on a lot of good journeys, but this was such a good one,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Tatum shot 7-for-11 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds for the Blue Devils (27-8), who became the first team in ACC Tournament history to win four games in four days to lift the championship.
The freshman forward tallied 88 points in four ACC Tournament games for an average of 22 points per game.
With Duke leading by one point late in the game, Tatum blocked a drive by Steve Vasturia and then went coast to coast for a layup to make it 68-65 with 1:33 left.
Krzyzewski was shocked by his freshman’s decision to take the ball to basketball all by himself, adding that it gave the team the added push.
“I thought, ‘What are you doing?'” Krzyzewski said. “‘Yes! You did it. How the hell did you do that?’
“I thought it gave everyone energy.”
Luke Kennard added 16 points, senior Amile Jefferson had 14 points and five rebounds and Grayson Allen ended with 10 points off the bench for Duke, which became the first fifth seed to win the ACC Tournament title.
“Four games in four days is not an easy task,” Allen said. “At the end of the day it was all emotion and heart getting us through those games.”
Bonzie Colson had 29 points, nine rebounds and three steals to lead the way for Notre Dame.
V.J. Beachem added 15 points and Matt Farrell chipped in with 13 points and seven assists for the Fighting Irish (25-9), who led by eight in the second half but Duke rallied to seal the win.
Victory for the Blue Devils sees coach Krzyzewski earning his 14th ACC Tournament championship, moving ahead of Dean Smith for the most all-time.
Duke, which was winning five straight overall, shot an impressive 60.8 percent from the field on 31 of 51 shooting, while senior Matt Jones finished with only three points, but knocked down a key 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining to put the Blue Devils up 71-67.
Duke beat the likes of No. 10 Louisville and No. 6 North Carolina en route the championship game.