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Originally published Monday, April 5, 2010 at 10:02 PM

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Duke's Kyle Singler has last say

Duke's Kyle Singler, named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, won the battle of 6-foot-8 standouts Monday night against Butler.

INDIANAPOLIS — Butler star Gordon Hayward didn't start the game guarding Duke's Kyle Singler, but Singler stayed on Hayward, and his defense helped the Blue Devils to the national championship.

Singler won the battle of 6-foot-8 standouts Monday night in Duke's 61-59 victory. He flustered Hayward most of the evening as the Bulldogs' top threat shot 2 of 11 from the floor and finished with 12 points.

But even with a blanket on Hayward, Singler felt helpless as his counterpart had the game's final two attempts.

One, a 12-foot fallaway from the right baseline, went a bit strong with 3.6 seconds remaining. The second was a midcourt bomb that wound up closer to the goal than anyone could have imagined.

"I can't really put into words what I feel," said Singler, a junior from Medford, Ore. "Those last couple of plays just weren't normal. It could have gone either way. We needed every last minute to win this game."

Singler also came up with two blocks, both in the second half, and a steal. He helped Duke hold the Bulldogs to 34.5 percent shooting, including 6 of 18 behind the arc.

"Defense wins championships," Duke forward Lance Thomas said. "We got the stops we needed to win."

Singler, chosen the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, led Duke with 19 points.

Close call

The game produced the smallest victory margin in an NCAA title game in two decades. Not since Michigan defeated Seton Hall 80-79 in 1989 had a runner-up come so close.

But that wasn't good enough for the Butler Bulldogs.

"All you can ask for as a team is a shot, and we had two shots," Butler guard Zach Hahn said. "Both were right there."

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Like father, like son

Thirty years after his late father won a national title in this city, Nolan Smith and his Duke teammates took home one of their own.

Derek Smith was a sophomore forward on the Louisville team that beat UCLA 59-54 in 1980. Nolan Smith is a junior guard who matched his father's accomplishment.

Nolan Smith has kept his father's championship ring with him. Now he has his own.

"I can't explain how happy I am," he said after the victory. "This is for my dad. Like father, like son. This is so special to me right now."

Coach K staying put

Mike Krzyzewski isn't interested in leaving Duke for the New Jersey Nets of the NBA.

"I haven't been contacted," Krzyzewski said in the statement issued by the school before the championship game. "I wouldn't have any interest in the job. You would be flattered if someone would offer you a job, but I would not be interested."

The Bergen (N.J.) Record, citing anonymous sources, reported that incoming Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov would offer Krzyzewski $12 million to $15 million per season.

In 2004, Krzyzewski turned down an offer reported to be worth $40 million over five years to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I'll be at Duke even after I stop coaching," he said.

Notes

• The NCAA said 70,930 fans attended the game, down from last year's final in Detroit, where a record 72,922 saw North Carolina beat Michigan State at Ford Field.

• The hometown Butler Bulldogs were a boon to ticket brokers. Scalpers got $150 to $200 for lower-level seats, while other seats fetched $50 to $75.

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