NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s remarkable career came to a thrilling and sudden end on Saturday night after Caleb Love made a key 3-pointer and three late free throws to bring rival North Carolina to a thrilling 81-77 victory. on the Blue Devils.
It was the 258th, most consequential and perhaps, perhaps, best meeting between these teams, whose arenas are separated by just 11 miles at Tobacco Road.
The Tar Heels (29-9), of all teams, pinned the 368th and final loss to 75-year-old Coach K, exactly four weeks after ruining the going away party in their last home game at the Cameron Indoor Stadium.
This loss hurt. This one stopped the coach’s last breath, a storybook run to a one-game title win and a chance at his sixth championship. When it was over, after playing with no downtime, Krzyzewski calmly walked to the half court and shook hands with Carolina rookie coach Hubert Davis.
On Monday, Carolina will face Kansas for the title. The Jayhawks beat Villanova 81-65 earlier in the undercard.