ACC Tournament Championship: Scheyer comes through with MVP effort
By Bret Strelow
ATLANTA ó Junior guard Jon Scheyer, a pair of scissors in his right hand following Duke’s victory in the ACC final, broke into laughter as his teammates urged him to bite the hanging net.
He helped a hungry set of classmates taste tournament success for the first time.
Scheyer scored 29 points in the Blue Devils’ 79-69 win against Florida State on Sunday at the Georgia Dome and was recognized as the MVP after receiving one more vote than Kyle Singler.
Scheyer, who had 14 points against Boston College on Friday and 22 in a semifinal with Maryland, hit four 3-pointers against the Seminoles. He went 13-for-15 from the line while leading Duke to its first ACC Tournament title since 2006.
The Blue Devils are 8-1 since Scheyer became their starting point guard.
“If I overlooked Scheyer then that was my mistake because I think he’s probably the reason why they are where they are,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “That was a great move moving him to point guard. He settles them down. He makes you pay every time you make a defensive mistake.”
With Scheyer running the offense, Duke committed only four turnovers Sunday. His scoring has also picked up as he goes against smaller defenders.
Scheyer shot just 25.6 percent from the field during an 11-game slump in January and February. He’s averaged 20.2 points since coach Mike Krzyzewski inserted freshman Elliot Williams into the starting lineup at shooting guard Feb. 19.
“I knew (Jon) would handle it,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s such a good player that, placed with that level of responsibility, somebody who is good, really good, will show you even better things. So I’m not into expecting, I’m into seeing. And what I’m seeing is magnificent play.”
Scheyer finished the regular season with 24 points on 7-for-7 shooting, five assists, no turnovers and four steals in a narrow loss at North Carolina.
His hot streak resumed once he arrived in Atlanta and continued through the weekend. He made two of Duke’s seven 3-pointers in a 13-minute stretch that put Florida State in a 29-14 hole.
Former West Virginia star Joe Alexander was one of several players who criticized Duke and downplayed the notion that the program possesses an intimidating mystique after the Mountaineers beat the Blue Devils in the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament.
Singler, Scheyer and junior Gerald Henderson are leading the charge to again make Duke a feared foe.
“I really have no idea what other people think about us,” Scheyer said. “For us, it’s not like we’re a really intimidating team. It’s not like I walk out there and teams are all of a sudden scared to go up against me.
“I think the one thing for us, we just play hard and we don’t really worry about how other people feel about that. I think the only thing we can keep doing is winning and do what we’ve been doing.”
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