A special group of freshmen is taking Duke and Coach K back to the NCAA Final Four.
The Blue Devils and their trio of freshmen starters are going to their 16th Final Four after a 66-52 win Sunday in the South Regional over Gonzaga.
Justise Winslow, the freshman playing home in Houston, had 16 points, including a big 3-pointer in the closing minutes. Matt Jones had also had 16 points while freshman Tyus Jones had 15 points, while Jahlil Okafor nine points and eight rebounds.
Duke (33-4), the region’s No. 1 seed, is going to Indianapolis to play Michigan State in the Final Four. The other national semifinal game Saturday matches undefeated Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski is going to the Final Four for the 12th time, matching UCLA’s John Wooden for the most by a head coach.
Duke’s last Final Four and national title was in 2010, when the Blue Devils were also the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and had to go through Houston.
No. 2 seed Gonzaga (35-3) had taken a 38-34 lead less than 4 minutes into the second half, putting the Blue Devils in their largest deficit of this tournament.
The young Blue Devils responded with nine straight points and never trailed again. They had stretched it to 60-51 when Winslow made a 3-poitner from the left wing with 2:28 left.
Gonzaga, in its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament, was trying to get to the Final Four for the first time.
This was only Gonzaga’s second regional final, and its first since 1999, when the mid-major Bulldogs were a No. 10 seed that lost to top-seeded UConn. Mark Few was an assistant coach on that squad, and took over as head coach the following season.
The Zags, a No. 1 seed only two years ago before losing to Wichita State in their second NCAA game, missed out again.