Duke forward Lance Thomas celebrates the Blue Devils\’ victory over WVU in Indianapolis.[/media-credit]It began with rebounds.Duke earned more second-chance points off the glass in its 78-57 national semifinal win over West Virginia.The Blue Devils now meet the Butler Bulldogs Monday evening in the national championship game.Duke had an only eight-point lead going into the second half, but West Virginia couldn’t close the deficit.“Some of those offensive rebounds really turned in big plays for us,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.Already playing without senior guard Darryl Bryant, West Virginia lost senior forward Da’Sean Butler more than halfway through the second half with a knee injury.Freshman forward Devin Ebanks said the Mountaineers took it hard when Butler got hurt.“It was very frustrating for us to have our best player go down, especially when we trying to make our run,” he said.Before Saturday’s second semifinal game, both teams were praised for rebounding, with a .4 difference in their season averages.But it was the winning Blue Devils who outmatched the Mountaineers off the glass, 29-27, including 17-10 in the first half.The disparity began early in the first half, which ended with Duke grabbing seven more rebounds than West Virginia. The Mountaineers were especially beaten offensively, and they had no second-chance points in the first half.From their seven offensive rebounds, Duke got 12 second-chance points.The Blue Devils took advantage of their lead and relaxed in the second half. They finished with only two more rebounds more than West Virginia.Long-range shooting also explained Duke’s early surge. The Blue Devils hit 7-of-14 three-pointers in the first half, while the Mountaineers only hit 4-of-7. Duke finished the game with 13-of-25 threes, while the Mountaineers hit only 5-of-12.West Virginia lost its first-half shooting touch. While the Mountaineers hit 50 percent of their field goals in the first half, that number dropped to 30 percent in the second half.Three-pointers were Duke’s specialty throughout the game, but they were West Virginia’s weakness in the second half, as the team only hit 1-of-5 in the last half. The Mountaineers finished with 41.3 percent field-goal shooting for the game.The 21-point different was Duke’s biggest win since its first-round game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and the 78 tied their highest-scoring game in the NCAA Tournament.“To score that many points against West Virginia is a lot,” Krzyzewski said.The Duke coach said having two days of practice and one shoot-around allowed the team to get used to their surroundings.“It really gives the teams time to get acclimated in a dome,” he said.Krzyzewski had also said in Thursday’s press conference that both teams had high rebounding numbers from missing a lot of shots. That wasn’t true for Duke on Saturday.The team shot consistently throughout the game, not having more than 5 percentage points difference of shooting between the two halves. They hit more than 52 percent of both field goals and three-pointers throughout the game.“They played really, really well,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “I watched a lot of tape, and I haven’t watched them play that well.”Krzyzewski said he was glad to see Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer hitting from long range.“It’s a plus, especially when all three of them are doing it,” he said.The post-game press conference turned quickly from the win to Monday’s championship game: Duke against the Cinderella, Butler.Krzyzewski said he did not consider the hometown team to be any sort of underdog.“I think Cinderella would be more of somebody had eight, nine losses and pulled some upsets,” he said. “They’ve beaten Syracuse and Kansas State, and Michigan State tonight. I don’t really consider them Cinderella.”
Leading by one goal against North Carolina on April 22, 2017, then-junior Notre Dame attack Mikey Wynne patiently waited near the net.With a flurry of Tar Heels defenders surrounding him, he watched calmly as his teammate, then senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic, swam move to separate from the Tar Heels defending him. Wynne, noticing the opportunity for a possible attack, moved slightly toward Perkovic. The bait worked; the UNC defender took a step forward, to cover the passing lane while Wynne slid back, faking out the entire Tar Heels defense. Perkovic slung the ball to Wynne, who slotted away his second goal of five on the day.Ever since his freshman season, Notre Dame senior captain Wynne has taken on a large offensive role for the Irish. The Maryland native totaled over 30 points in each of his first three years. Now as a senior, he directs the team on and off the field. In seven games this season Wynne has poured in 13 goals, tying with Syracuse attack Brendan Bomberry. On Saturday, the two will play at opposite ends when No. 7 Notre Dame (5-2, 1-0 ACC) takes on No. 10 Syracuse (4-3, 2-0 ACC) in the Carrier Dome.“I always have looked up to (former Notre Dame seniors) like Jimmy Marlatt, Jack Near, and Conor Doyle for examples to how to lead,” he said. “I just want to be the best example for the guys younger than me.”Entering college in 2013, Wynne was not afraid. He had been prepared for intense competition since a young age.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWynne grew up in a family with three older brothers, all of whom played lacrosse. The Wynne brothers routinely practiced in his backyard. Whether it was two-on-one, horse, or shooting drills, Wynne’s brothers pushed him to get better, he said.As he grew older, his preparation with his family translated into success. In his final two seasons of high school, he totaled 141 goals and 45 assists. He captained St. Paul’s (Maryland) School in his senior season to the championship game of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs.“I learned the game at a quick rate,” he said. “I always have played for coaches who played the game so that helped a lot.”In his first game for ND, Wynne totaled six goals in a 14-12 win over Georgetown. He followed that up with a four-goal performance the next game against Michigan. He ended his first season with 33 goals and four assists.To the other Irish players, his success was a result of his work in the pre-season.“The way he played early on was great to see,” former Notre Dame midfielder Near said, “We had seen him play well all throughout fall so I don’t think it was really that surprising when the season came around.”During his freshman season, it was obvious to most on the team that Wynne had natural leadership qualities, Near said.As he progressed throughout college, he grew more into that commanding role.“He does more things now with distributing the ball and understanding the flow of the offense,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “Now, he’s capable of of doing a lot of other things as well. His game has continued to evolve as he’s matured.”Now, his job is to set the tone for the next generation of Fighting Irish lacrosse players, just like the upperclassmen did for him.“As a captain, I get to represent all the guys before me who were in my position,” Wynne said. Comments Published on March 29, 2018 at 1:30 pm Contact Adam: email@example.com | @_adamhillman Facebook Twitter Google+
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